Why You Should Always Write Down Your Bad Business Ideas
It’s the middle of the night and you suddenly wake up with a business idea in your mind – while still sleepy, you don’t write the idea down since you feel it is bad one anyways. This is just one example of a time when a business idea may strike you at an unexpected time.
An idea that may seem outwardly absurd may not necessarily count as a bad business idea. Bad business ideas are those that are ill-thought and under-developed; which makes them highly likely to fail in the business world.
There are a number of forces at play that can contribute towards failure of a particular business idea. These include lack of available resources, lack of demand for the product/service, poor marketing/positioning, etc.
In this article, we will start with 1) what to do with all the ideas that you get, and continue then with 2) how to know if your idea is bad, 3) reasons why you shouldn’t discard your bad business ideas, 4) examples of bad ideas that made it successfully into the business world, and 5) examples of bad ideas which you could fine-tune.
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE IDEAS THAT YOU GET?
The best way to increase your chances of coming up with the perfectly successful business idea is to come up with as many ideas as possible; so you have a lot to select from. Remember, you cannot force a great idea to come to you but you can create a process that can help you identify good business ideas from all the different ideas you have:
Brainstorm & Create an Idea
You must have heard of the saying ‘a watched pot never boils’? It’s kind of the same with business ideas.
Ideas are everywhere; you just need to open up your mind towards them. There are numerous stimulators and they aren’t necessarily going to work when you especially sit down and spend some dedicated time towards brainstorming. Let your mind run free; listen to music, watch the sunrise, go out shopping – whatever eases your mind and clears the traffic in your mind so that ideas find a way in.
Keep Track of Every Idea You Get
Your memory may be good but it still can’t beat a pen and a paper. Whenever any business idea strikes you, just jot down a few quick words, which can help you remember the entire idea, later on. Carrying a small notebook in your pocket or using an app on your smartphone can come quite in handy.
Just make sure that your method of noting down ideas is one of the quickest ones possible; the quicker you are able to note down the idea the more the chances that you will take a pause from what you are actually doing to note down the idea.
Categorize & Organize your Ideas
A food store, an online help rental, a health consultancy, an app, a cosmetic discovery, a pet care business – are all your ideas drastically different from one another? Do you use too many idea storage devices? You may never get to discover and act upon a good idea unless you keep your ideas organized; and one of the best ways of doing so is categorizing them.
Just think of a few broad categories (e.g. online business ideas, transportation related ideas, ideas for entertainment industry) and arrange your ideas into categories.
Get Feedback & Analyze your Ideas so You Can Sort Out the Really Bad Ideas
As you keep generating more and more ideas, revisiting each one of them may divide your attention and thus, shift your focus from the few good ones that you may have in your list. Therefore, every now and then when you are going through the ideas, be honest about identifying the ones you haven’t used in the past year and aren’t planning on using any time in the near future, and just discard them.
By getting rid of the useless ideas, you make more room in your mind to focus on the ones that may really work.
Make Research & Select the Best Idea from Your List
Actions speak louder than words. Sure, it is a cliché but the perfect cliché as far as business ideas are concerned. The best thought business idea is worth nothing unless you take action on the idea and turn the words into reality.
So pick the most workable ideas, do thorough research on them, make a proper strategy, and begin working on them. As you move ahead, keep shortlisting your list of ideas by removing the ones you feel won’t work – until you are left with the one that you feel most passionate about. Keep developing that idea until it turns into a business; that is the best way to cash your best business ideas.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS IDEA IS BAD?
There are some business ideas that as soon as they strike you, your adrenaline gets pumping and your excitement levels rise substantially. Your head feels cloudy, especially if you feel that a particular business idea is the one that will turn you into a successful entrepreneur.
Then there are ideas that leave you confused. You cannot decide whether you should stick with them or discard them since they are a bad business idea. Your subconscious mind goes into frenzy due to the amount of questions running through it. But you need to keep your emotions in check – otherwise your mind is going to occupy you in a web of questions, from which you may face difficulty getting out of.
Check the Idea from Your List to See Whether it Has the Vital Ingredients
There may not be a way to get a one hundred percent guaranteed result, but there are a few things you can do to gauge your business idea and conclude whether it is a bad one or not. If your business idea does not have the following vital ingredients, chances are that the business idea is a bad one, most likely to fail if launched:
Simplicity – Is your Business Idea Simple?
Some people feel that the more radical the business idea is the more chances of it being successful. However, there are tons of examples of successful start-ups in the history that have been built upon simple business ideas.
A simple business idea is easy to understand by target customers thus increasing its likelihood of being successful. If you launch a product or service that is too complicated for you to execute and/or your customers to understand, you limit the chances of its success. So if you feel your business idea isn’t simple, it may not be a good one either.
Market Potential – Does Your Business Idea Have a Big Market?
If the business idea in question will face difficulty in finding customers then it surely is a bad business idea. What is the point of executing a business idea if it is not going to get any customers? The chances of a business becoming successful are almost zero if it isn’t going to find customers.
Even if you feel that your business may get customers but you would have to work pretty hard for it and spend tons of money for finding customers – it may not be an idea worth pursuing.
Solving Real Pain – Does Your Idea Target to Resolve a Big Personal or Corporate Pain/Problem?
Customers make purchases based on their needs. They buy soap because they need to clean up. They use Facebook because they need to connect with people. They book tickets online because it is more convenient. They book a cab online because they don’t like wasting time standing and waiting for one.
So what pressing need does your business idea resolve? How does it make your target customers’ lives easier? What is its power to convince people to spend money on it? If you discover that it isn’t resolving any personal or corporate problem, then it may not be a good business idea at all.
Uniqueness –Does it have that Special Something?
What is so special about your business idea that customers are going to get attracted towards it and not continue going to the existing vendors? Is there something unique about your business idea; something different from the others? If your business idea is a copy of something that already exists in the market, your business idea isn’t very good.
And since customers are used to consuming the product/service, which already exists in the market, they won’t have a reason to switch to yours – ultimately leading to your failure.
Your Passion – Does it Appeal to You?
Building a business requires consistency, persistency, and perseverance. Even if you have a great idea, you will have to go through a rigorous process to translate that idea into a successful business. You can stick to your idea only if you are passionate about it – otherwise as soon as the going gets tough, you are going to run in the other direction.
Check your business idea – does it have a personal appeal to you? Are you passionate about it? If not, your business idea is not a very good one.
Feasibility – Is It Possible?
Wishes don’t have a boundary but in reality, we have to work within our limitations. If your business idea is realistic and possible to execute while remaining within your limitations then it is a good business idea, otherwise not.
REASONS WHY YOU SHOULDN’T DISCARD YOUR BAD BUSINESS IDEAS
You may have identified a few of your business ideas to be bad. Your first instinct would be to discard your bad business idea immediately. However, a bad idea has some potential in it which is why you should write it down; it can help you in numerous other ways:
The Best Way to Learn
Without having anything, how can you learn? The more ideas you have, the more opportunities for comparison you have. Therefore, generating ideas, even bad ones, help with learning.
And when you begin ruling out bad ideas, you learn about a lot of things that won’t work in the business world. You also learn how to be able to generate ideas that are good by not repeating the same things that led to a bad business idea.
They Give you a Chance to Think & Evaluate Other Ideas
If you had only one idea noted down in your notebook or just a few, you wouldn’t have much to compare them with. If all you had were good business ideas, you wouldn’t have much to think about. But when you write down bad business ideas as well, two things happen.
One, it allows you to have a big inventory of ideas to sift from. An ideas-list which is a mixture of good and bad ideas forces you to pick up each idea and really think about it.
Second, having a greater number of ideas gives you the opportunity of carrying out a comparison and conduct an evaluation, because now you have something to compare a business idea with.
They Lead to Discovery of Good Ideas
Bad business ideas help you recognize the good ones out of all the ideas you have. When you are evaluating ideas, and when you reason with an idea and conclude it to be bad, you discover the strengths of the remaining ideas.
Bad ideas become subjects of evaluation; working on them gives you the opportunity to gain the understanding of identifying factors that make any idea good or bad. They help you create a checklist and quickly decide whether an idea has the ingredients of being a good idea or not.
If an idea has similar factors to an idea you previously identified as bad, you can quickly move on to evaluating the next one without wasting too much time on it.
They Lead to Greater Insight into the Business World
When you critically analyze an idea based on its potential of being successful with the target market, the amount of competition already existing and other similar market factors, you get to learn a lot about the realities of the business world. You learn the dynamics of market forces, the intensity with which they change and the impact they have on your business idea and its potential of becoming successful once launched.
Researching Them Gives you a Chance to Expand your Network
How do you determine whether an idea is bad or not? Of course, by doing research during which you can get in touch with different people as well. For example, to determine whether it will be possible for you to produce a product or not, you may begin interviewing suppliers. Even if they are not able to supply material to you, you at-least get a chance to include them in your professional network.
Similarly, in an attempt to discover whether any venture capitalist would be willing to fund your business idea or not, you present your business proposal to a number of them. Even if none of them agrees to fund your business idea, you gain contacts that can come in handy when you come up with a good business idea.
You May Find a Way to Make Them Workable
By noting down a bad business idea, you give it a chance for consideration. As you keep working on a bad business idea, you may be able to make the perfect tweak that turns it into a good business idea. While doing research on them, you may discover something new; a factor that allows you to turn your bad idea into a workable business idea.
Therefore, always make sure you note down bad business ideas.
EXAMPLES OF BAD BUSINESS IDEAS THAT BECAME SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES
By noting down bad business ideas and working on them, you get a chance to turn them into good business ideas. Here are examples of seemingly bad business ideas that made it successfully to the business world:
The Pet Rock
A rock as a pet, someone isn’t being serious now, are they? Sounds like a sure shot bad idea but it made Gary Dahl a millionaire. The pet rock came in a beautiful box crate; just like an actual alive pet would (the box even had breathing holes in it!). The idea was so adorable that it appealed to customers who paid to keep the rock as a pet and train it to learn commands like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’.
An idea on which people laughed at made Rico Elmore a successful entrepreneur and won him a deal with Walmart! Rico Elmore came with an idea of manufacturing eyewear for people with wide or fat heads. He successfully faced the challenge of convincing retailers to store his product and went onto sell two million dollar worth of eyewear on the third year after the launch.
What seemed like a ridiculous idea offhand is actually a brilliant one because pooping does not stop even when the economy is bad. Jacob D’Aniello founded a pet poop picking company after learning that a professional poop remover earns more than he was making in his job. The company gets a weekly payment for removing pet poop from domestic as well as commercial properties.
Ron Kaplan started small – his fascination with surfing led him to come up with t-shirts that contained surfing images. After one of the worst blizzards in history hit Ohio, he came up with the idea of using the tagline Surf Ohio on his t-shirts in order to remove the negative feelings generated due to the blizzard. The idea was highly unwelcomed by the local shop that used to sell his t-shirts. After working on the idea, today Kaplan sells his licensed Surf Ohio design around the world.
EXAMPLES OF BAD BUSINESS IDEAS – CAN YOU FINE-TUNE THEM?
Are you searching for business ideas? Here are a few work-in-progress ideas. Can you tweak them and make them workable?
Rent My Site
Wouldn’t it be easy to rent a website from someone who has designed it, developed it and has already search optimized it? Problem is, business want to own their websites, not rent them. Can you amend this business idea and make it more appealing to businesses?
5 Dolla Holla
Get someone to pay 5 dollars for hiring a celebrity such as William Hung to make a prank call to your friend or family. How cool would it be to get a call from an upcoming Celebrity? The problem with this business idea is that upcoming Stars aren’t very popular so your friend who receives the call may not know them. Also chances are that an upcoming Star may never actually become a Star.
Send a stripper to your friend’s home for an event or just as a surprise to cheer them up after a break-up or any other sad incident – as long as you fix the tweaks such as ensuring your friend is home when the stripper arrives.
A website that can let you know facts about your baby’s growth from the moment you begin expecting. It can send you alerts about your baby’s development. The problem is, how to detect and amend the alerts in case of complications?
Ads or Not?
The concept is to put up five advertisements with one of them being a fake one. You pay people who spot the correct fake ad. The challenge is to find sponsors or advertisers for this concept. Can you generate a way to get advertisers on-board for this business idea?
In Menlo Park (CA), we meet CEO and Co-Founder of GuideSpark, Keith Kitani. Keith talks about his …
In Berlin we meet Ciarán O'Leary who is a partner at the venture capital firm Earlybird. …