business idea

Getting Your Business Idea Ready for Flight: A Short Checklist

As I’m continuing to catch up on some of my reading, one of the books that I find myself liking more and more is Pat Flynn’s Will It Fly?

I talked a little bit about this book in this post.  However, I must admit, I only skimmed over the book at the time because I was going over a couple of others.

I now find myself able to go over it in detail – including all the little activities he’s planned out for us as readers.

It has been a really enjoyable journey refining some of the thoughts I have about New Inceptions and what it’s potential is. (Which, as Donald Trump would say, is ‘UUGE! :))

If you’re just starting your online venture and you’re in the idea generation/clarity phase, I want to give you a few tips that I thought were really useful from the book… and even some that I’ve learned along the way as I’ve refined NI.

1. Write All Your Ideas Down – Yours and Others.

For the longest time, I would keep all my ideas in my head. If I had time, I would attempt to execute some of them, however over time, even the good ones would die.

When I went through The Foundation in 2012, one of the major things they taught was what I call niche product development. (I talk about this briefly in the podcast with Sharlotte Bouniol from last week.) Basically it means that you learn how to find the products you should be making from your audience. (Ryan Levesque also talks about this in his book, Ask).

If you dig so deep that you know a client’s problem more than they know it themselves. They’ll assume that you have the solution already.

In this process, if you tried to remember it all, I don’t believe you’d fully be able to. There’s simply way too much information collected during these interviews to remember all the issues

So I learned to write them down. Ever since, I’ve written ideas down that I’ve gotten from other people as well as those that I’ve thought up on my own.

If, for whatever reason, you feel like you shouldn’t write an idea down, do it anyway. For one, no one is going to see your list. Also, if you don’t know how to achieve everything right away with the idea, you can pack it away until you have a better idea of how to accomplish it. There’s a much more unlikely chance that it will disappear if written down than it would if you were to simply keep it in your head.

2. Don’t Cross Out an Idea Because It Already Exists

In the segment that I’m currently reading in Pat’s book, he talks about how most folks are looking for an idea that other people haven’t found yet. However, from this post, we should remember that this is nearly impossible. In fact, it’s good that it already exists. It will save you the time and resources to recreate the niche!

An example of this is with fast food restaurants and the nearby chain retail stores. Have you ever noticed that these chains all seem to be right on top of each other?

As far as the restaurants go, you’ll always see a Burger King near a McDonald’s, true. But have you ever seen a Burger King without a McDonald’s nearby? Personally, I can’t think of many instances. And there’s a reason for this. For the most part, early on, Burger King let McDonald’s determine all the good spots to set up shop.

Later, if there was good traffic to that particular area, you started to see other restaurants building on top of established chain locations AND even retail spots – such as Target and, later, Walmart. That’s the basis behind suburbs blowing up the way they have – and all of their “strips” looking very similar to the one in the nearby town.

You can read more about this phenomenon here.

Really, you should think of your niche in the same manner. Unless it’s a small niche, the more traffic in your niche the better.

However, that said, if there isn’t much substance to what you’re bringing, you won’t last long. So don’t expect to just succeed overnight. If there is already established traffic, you’ll have to spend some time learning how to tap into it – just like startup restaurants and stores have to in an established shopping area.

3. Do Something You Have Passion (or at least an Interest) In

If you’re going to be chasing money, you can only do that for so long before you burn out. Eventually, if you plan to stay self-employed for the foreseeable future, you’ll want to do something you feel is natural to you.

For me, I’m a catalyst of people – helping them explore what could be.

I’m a teacher.

I like tech, business strategy, leadership, and am a huge fan of self awareness and self improvement. Combine those all together and that’s what I want New Inceptions to reflect.

Ask yourself, what am I naturally interested in? What do I want to study or think about when no one is looking? Can I make that into a business that will support the things I want to do in life?

In the long run, your business has to reflect you, otherwise you’re going to grow tired of it. (Hell, you might even see it as a job that owns you!) However, your products (especially early on) should help people with very niche issues. Eventually you can add on to them and create suites. But start simple at first. Solve one pain at a time.

4. Fine Tune Your Idea

Another exercise that Pat shares in his book is all about starting out focused. In fact, he helps us do this by having us write a page about our business. Then, he has us break that down into a paragraph. Finally having us write a sentence that defines our business.

The sentence I ended up with from this exercise was this:

New Inceptions is a fiercely loyal online virtual resource hub that connects creative entrepreneurs (Renegades) with the insight, tools, motivation, and community to build a successful online business.

I’d highly recommend doing this exercise. I think it’s definitely going to help me get more focused in what I’m doing.

Action Steps

Here we are, already in March of 2016. It’s essentially been a year since I started on this new path. Personally, I’m starting to see some of my seeds from last year start to grow. For one, I’m helping Mark Nathan launch his book on a larger scale. On another, I’m starting the process of building my first product. And, I’m having some good thoughts on what I want to make my Opt-In in the future be. (Cause let’s face it… it’s so VAGUE right now!)

These are all things that I could not have imagined last year. Why? Because I really had no idea what I wanted to do last year. I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to do. But I was attacking the problem incorrectly. At least for me.

The thing is, you don’t have to do one thing. You can totally do a theme for your site and business.

However, your products or services need to solve specific pains that your customers have.

In this next week, I want you to start thinking of your theme. What kinds of things do you like to do now and in the past? What do you see your ideal future looking like in 5 years?

Next week, we’ll start asking ourselves questions on whether or not the idea that we have is going to get us to where we want to be in the future.

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