Idea versus Opportunity for Startups

Ideas, they say, transform the world, however, some ideas are not marketable, hence, cannot sustain some businesses at startup; though, this depends on the location of the said business. Some businesses that boom in one geographical location may not thrive in some locations because ideas need to solve the prevailing problems in a given location. These problems provide opportunities for such ideas to be sustained and guarantee the growth of businesses built on such ideas.

Therefore, as a beginner, you may not really need a unique idea to survive and grow your business, but an idea built on the prevailing opportunities provided by the problems in your geographical location. Investors do not often invest on “great ideas”, but on ideas that guarantee Return on Investment (RoI). When starting a business, you should understand that idea does not grow the business but the willingness of people to pay for such ideas. This growing desire to buy your idea creates opportunity for your business to grow. Understand this fact, your idea might solve societal problems, but the society may not be willing to pay for them, may be, due to the cost, ignorance or availability of close substitutes.

Before you invest in your startup business take time to review the following ways to identify opportunities that your idea can be built on for your business. The following were shared by Martin Zwilling (CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc.).

  1. Transform a product for better experience: You can study a product that sales in the market and the various segments of the market that purchase the product for an upgrade or downgrade of such product. For example, Peace Mass Transit entered the market when Ifesinachi, Izuchukwu Motors, etc were using luxurious buses to travel long distances. Peace Mass Transit introduced small buses which provide comfort for people who do not carry load and makes it faster for them to reach their destination within the university environment at Nsukka. Today, every transport company have introduced small buses. Similarly, ABC transport upgraded road transportation for the middle class by making it comfortable as with those in an airplane. Also, Cowbell came into the market by introducing sachet milk packs, today it is the order of the day. In order to achieve success with this view, one must study the various market segments and choose the appropriate segment(s) to serve.
  2. Combine complementary products: It might make sense if you can combine products that complement each other into one product. For example, instead of separating beverage, milk and sugar, you can produce a product that combine the three in one like Cowbell chocolate.
  3. Produce separate products: As opposed to the above, you can decide to produce single products from bundled products to ease costs on buyers. For example, laptops usually come with operating system and built-in software, however, a laptop with freedos is always cheaper when compared to the one with pre-installed software.
  4. Build a distribution network: When a product is selling in a particular area, same product can be made to sale in another area. Instead of competing at the same market, you can ship the product to different locations where it is not often found, hence building a distribution network.
  5. Create a niche market for a product: You can develop a small area and sale your new product or idea in that market until your product becomes a household name, then you can expand the product to other markets.
  6. Maximize or minimize your product offering: Finally, you can decide to offer long range of products, like a retail shop or specialize in few products.

Generally, ideas are good because they drive innovation, but when there are no opportunities for such ideas to thrive, businesses fail. Always identify opportunities that can sustain your “unique idea” before you start that business to avoid imminent failure.

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