How to know which ideas are worth pursuing

Ideas are not important. What matters is knowing how you’re going to implement them.

I’m currently working for a company that has been in transition for 18 months.

Our goal? To diversify the revenue stream. For a long time, our primary source of revenue was from events. But over the last year and a half, there has been a gradual transition to digital.

Some context

I’ve worked in a startup, an MNC, and now a business in transition. And I would make the case that I’ve learned more from being a part of a business in transition than I did in the other two combined. Of course, this is solely my experience. So I wouldn’t go so far as to generalize that statement.

But here’s something interesting I’ve noticed. In a bid to encourage the start-up and entrepreneur culture, we tend to sing high-praise for people with great ideas.

I think these people should be praised, not for their ideas, but how they decided on which ones to run with.

The truth no one will admit

Here is something worth noting. I think you’ve got a higher chance of winning the lottery than coming up with a novel idea.

Meet enough people, and you’ll soon realize that awesome idea you had, well, someone else was thinking of it as well.

But this is something that has to be done. When you’re looking to find out if your idea is worth pursuing, you have to talk to as many people as possible.

What ideas to pursue

I think if too many people have the same idea, it’s a bad one to pursue. It means you’ll have a lot of competitors. And the odds of having one competitor with more time and resources than you are just too high.

On the contrary, if no one has thought of your idea before, it’s important to tread carefully. See their reactions. Do they like it? Or do they hate it? Though it doesn’t matter either way.

Some of the seemingly worst ideas have gone on to be the best solutions.

But the devil is in the details.

How people respond becomes a litmus test. If many people like it, you’ve got a winner. But you need to move FAST. Because someone with more resources than you might catch on to that demand. Greed may not be the biggest motivator. But it definitely is the fiercest.

On the other hand, if no one likes it, it’s worth thinking twice. It’s true you can make people love something if you persuade them long enough. The best example? Arranged marriages. But do you have the runway – i.e. time and money – to play that long game?

The one idea to really focus on

For regular people, like me, who are looking to start a business with no funding, or an express desire to get funding, this is the idea to focus on.

If your idea can generate 5 willing customers, then go all in and head first. 

That’s my greatest learning lesson in my current job. I plan to start my own business by end of next year. And I am using this as my guiding principle as I begin to lay the foundations.

Anyway, I hope this helps you!

Also, if you’re looking to know what else I’ve learned in my job, you can check out this article.

And if you like my work, do subscribe to my Facebook page for regular updates.


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