The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Identifying Good Ideas


Written By TalkLocal Co-founder, Manpreet Singh

If you run a small business, you clearly know something about identifying good ideas and implementing them. However, you can always improve this skill, as you will definitely have to use it again in your entrepreneurial career. We’ve done some research on three kinds of good ideas that business owners are constantly looking for, and written you a short guide on identifying the most innovative concepts.

Product Ideas

It’s basic economics — a good product is something that is in high demand. Luckily, estimating demand is a simple process. Do as much market research as possible, combine this information with your own experience, and then create a list of customer needs that are relevant to the idea. Are these needs important to people? Would this product satisfy them? If the answer is yes, you have a good, in-demand product idea.

Crowdsourced/Contest-Driven Ideas

Some of the most valuable business ideas come from ordinary non-business-people. Opening up your business’s creative process to the masses is risky but has potential advantages — it hinges on your ability to create a contest or forum that encourages healthy competition and/or collaboration.

Netflix set a great example of how this works to the business’s advantage when they crowd-sourced their now-famous movie recommendation algorithm. Late in the $1 million contest, rival front-runners joined forces to create the winning solution that Netflix uses to this day.

Ideas from Employees

In 2009, Professor Michael Gibbs at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business did an extensive study on the culture of innovation in business. His findings highlight the importance of two factors in identifying good employee ideas — experience and incentives. Professor Gibbs’ work suggests that you will get the best ideas from your workers if you reward innovators and prioritize suggestions from your most senior staff.

Your business exists today because you capitalized on a good idea at some point in the past. However, what distinguishes successful business people from the rookies is their ability to keep identifying good ideas moving forward. By thinking practically and encouraging a culture of innovation in and around your business, you’ll find that identifying the next big thing is easier than it looks.

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