4 Steps to Brainstorming a Great New Business Idea
You've decided to start a business. Well, let's sit down together and have a business brainstorm. You might have an idea or you might have something that you want to do to change the world. It could be a service or a way to do something differently. Whatever it is, you need to make sure you sit down and note it down, right? How is your product going to be different from what's already out there? How are you going to make money out of it and how are you going to reach your target audience?
How We Brainstorm
We have businesses come to us all the time and ask us questions about how they can launch a new product. There was somebody who came to us who wanted to make a website that allowed for you to compare different wedding packages. So I'll give you an example of how that is going to work.
You have a bunch of suppliers and then you have a bunch of people that you're advertising the site to. Let's say we're focused on the jewellery part of it. They're looking at engagement rings. So you've got Michael Hill in there, you've got Prouds or whoever it is, and you've got them all in there and they put up all their stock and you put up your stock and everyone puts up all their stuff and that all goes into the website. Then as the end user, you jump on there to look for a ring. The site then says that's available at these three suppliers.
You may have already picked up what the problem is here. It looks at these three suppliers and it says we can get it from a Michael Hill cheaper. But the problem is the quality of the ring that you're going to get, even if it looks the same between the three suppliers, may differ. The quality of the diamonds might differ. It's not a black-and-white business model and a lot of things to do with weddings are not black and white. They're very emotionally subjective.
Identifying Issues Is So Important
I went through the business plan with her and said, 'This sounds good, but we need to work at how we overcome this.' She said, 'All I want it to be like is a parts comparison website. You go on and you can see this part and this is the OEM manufacturer of that part and this is where you can get it cheaper.'
I said, 'That's fine, but how are we going to do this? Where's the money going to be made here? Because the suppliers would be now having to cut themselves down to making sure that every product looks the same. The florists would have to make sure every product looks the same and that makes it a hard ask. It's very difficult to have your business then have to line up with everyone else's and you've commodified the whole business, ideally, I guess is what the end goal was. Making the whole wedding experience a commodity. But it doesn't always work like that.'
In this instance, she wanted the end users to get the whole experience for free. So, if the end users are getting the experience for free, that means the suppliers have to be paying to be on this website. If the suppliers are paying to be on the website and be up against all of their competitors, then that means that they need to make sure they're more competitive than everyone else and they have the same stock as everyone else. It became all too hard to work out where finance can come from.
Cost Analysis Is Key
I'll give you another example. It was a website well before Airtasker's time. We developed this site which allowed for tradies to jump onto the website and look through jobs and it allowed the people to jump onto the site and then pick out these jobs and say, yup, this is what I want to do. I said, okay, this sounds like a cool model. So, we've got two different groups of people that we need to be able to attract for this thing to work, but we also need to have money come in from one of the groups or both of the groups to be able to have a profitable business or earn through advertising and other marketing chains.
We went through and looked at the cost analysis, and this one came out positive. However, the amount of capital that was required to allow for the initial burst to really get the word known was outside of the budget. Brainstorming let us come to that conclusion.
Making sure you have a great idea is awesome, but the more important thing is you might have an idea but you didn't brainstorm it and didn't deliver it or actually conceptualise it in a way that allowed for it to become a born and delivered.
Having an idea is useless until you put pen to paper. Having a dream is one thing, but having it written down into achievable chunks, pop-sized pieces lets that dream become a reality. If it's to become a reality, sometimes it doesn't need to be a reality, but knowing that you've gone through the math allows you to get there.
I over engineer and over complicate any decision I ever need to make, and I am fully aware that I do it but I enjoy the journey and that's okay. I was looking the other day at getting water tanks for the house and when I went through the process and decided, okay, let's get water tanks, only 40,000 litres of stored capacity, I'll need to be able to look at the roof sizes, the rainfall.
So, I looked at the weather station on the roof and looked at the rainfall that had been delivered over the last 12 months and then looked at the Bureau of Meteorology website and saw that it was coming through and my ratings were accurate but 10% higher. Either there is an issue with my device or I just get more rainfall in the area that I'm in. Either way, I use all those numbers and worked out that I could get 150,000 litres of water falling on my roof every year. The 40,000 litre capacity would mean that it would be more than enough to fill it. But you then look at when you had the really rainy months and then the really dry mounts and for me, it meant that with the usage of 260,000 litres a year, it wouldn't really save much of my bill at all. In fact, the total buyback period was 10 years. The lesson here is water tanks are a bad investment for me and it could be different if you go to larger roof area or a different weather pattern or more rain or whatever the situation is. That is what brainstorming a business is all about.
Try Agile Development
You could already be in business, and you just want to get this new idea and see if this is going to work. Working on it, seeing how long you think it's going to take and using a process that's called agile development is really handy to do that. Looking at bite-sized chunks, what's the smallest thing that you have to do to get this idea to market?
A great example would be Uber that wanted autonomous vehicles but couldn't afford the tech behind getting that created. So instead, they made an app that used people and their phones to look at the acceleration, braking speeds, and all the other nifty data about every corner and every street around the globe where Uber is available. They can then use that information to allow for the cars that they're going to be creating autonomous vehicles to drive, slow down, speed up and mimic that of human behaviour. This is fantastic because roads that have black spots and people that are just falling off for no reason and having issues can now be seen with data and decisions be made about the exact way a vehicle can drive in those conditions and in that area. It's really cool stuff, but they couldn't have started to develop an autonomous vehicle without first developing a smaller app, a smaller structure to then build upon from that.
The same elements need to be applied when you're looking to be building a business, creating a business, changing a product, inventing a product, introducing a product, or doing anything and everything around your business.
The Final Word
Remember, having a dream is the first step and that's the most important one: having that aspiration and drive to dream and dream big. The next step is writing it down on paper, brainstorming all the positives and the negatives, doing a SWOT analysis, and making sure you're able to see how this is going to fit. Who is your ideal person that's going to be buying this? Who's the avatar that owns this product or employs you guys for this service?
When you know all that information and then you can go through deep data, analyse everything and all the things go onto census, pull out any information you can find on the census to see if you're creating a product that applies to the masses. Who are the masses that the product applies for? Who are your competitors? Does it exist? Is there any government grants out there that are going to save you a bit of coin and help you develop this product? Is it revolutionary enough that this product is going to be able to make it to the news? And if it is, how long is it going to be until someone is going to steal your idea and change it all around (which we'll be talking about on Wednesday)? And everyone is scared of that. No one wants someone to steal their idea! I hope you've enjoyed this. Stay good.
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