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Create professional business plan by yourself. Chapter 1: Choosing the right idea

Updated on July 31, 2014

Intro. Things to keep in mind

Few of my next hubs will be dedicated to guide their readers to the creation of a professional, successful and unique business plans.

I know that something like business plan might sound complex and confusing, but i will do my best to make all instructions step-by-step, easy to understand and to follow. I also want you to keep in mind that creating a business plan requires no special preparation and definitely no prior training. Any man with a healthy brain and abilities to think freely, count well, follow easy instructions and make simple decisions and conclusions will experience no difficulties in completing this interesting and enjoyable task. Yes of course - interesting and enjoyable. Creating a business plan doesn't mean you'll have to invest your money into it, not even close. First business plan I created was completely from pure curiosity and desire to create something unique. So if you are hesitating whether to do this or not - my advice would be to try this, because there is nothing you can lose and there is a lot you can and will gain.

Twenty legitimate business ideas

Your first task is to generate twenty business ideas. Now first of all lets discuss what is a business idea. The word "idea" itself tells us that it is something unique, personal. So we could define business idea as unique model which is based on a commodity or service that can be sold for money. From this definition we can point out characteristics of a legitimate business idea:

  • unique
  • innovative
  • realizable; realistic
  • profitable
  • attractive

I know that in today's world it is really hard to think of something truly unique from its roots. But uniqueness can be partially replaced with innovativeness. For example, establishing a taxi company wouldn't be unique no matter how you looked at it. But if your taxi drivers would always offer their clients, say ice-cream, your taxi company would be different - more innovative than others.

Remember - you are generating ideas, not checking their legitimacy. Don't try testing their profitability or counting how much it would cost to establish it. If idea seems to satisfy all characteristics - write it down.

And the last thing about these twenty ideas - don't try to work them out at a stretch. Dedicate few days for this assignment. Just always keep in mind that you have to generate them and ideas will find your head themselves.

Choosing the best five

When you finally have your twenty ideas it is time to exclude the best five of them. Sit down, think through your ideas again, catch the ones that you like more than others. Think of chances of succeeding with one idea then with other. Which ones are more profitable, more attractive? This stage also doesn't require any counting, testing or so - just thinking it through. When you decided which five is the best, give a last look at all of them - you might have missed the best one!

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Choose your criteria and rate your ideas

This is the most important part of this chapter. Now that you have your five ideas - all of which are very legitimate - you can't easily decide which one is the best. You need a test for your ideas. Someway to compare them all. That's why you need criteria.

Think of business ideas. Think of very successful business ideas. What made them successful? Is it their attractiveness, profitability or cheap establishment? Or maybe it's their originality or even they succeeded because they had almost no competitors? Everything counts and it is your job to decide which ten (or if you want - even more) business properties are the most important and does the greatest influence to a business company reaching for its success.

Now keep in mind those criteria you chose will decide which of your five ideas is the best one. Because of that you have to pick them very carefully and thoughtfully. But most importantly don’t do one mistake that is vital for this part of chapter - do not chose two (or even worse - more than two) criteria that basically mean the same. If you do that - think what happens when you start rating your ideas according to these criteria. One idea that is bad at certain thing will get low scores from two or more criteria and the other idea that is good at that same certain thing will get two great scores from those criteria.

For example, lets say you take these four criteria into your rating system: originality, uniqueness, innovativeness, profitability. And you have two business ideas to choose from - painting 3D art inside people’s houses and establishing "two pound" store. First one would get scores similar to these: 8,7,7,5 and the second one something like this: 3,3,4,8. Although second idea would probably bring greater profit, but its score is much smaller because first three criteria mean basically the same thing and the first idea is better at them.



Example of scoring system

Criteria\Ideas
Chemical hypnosis
3D paintings
"One pound" store
Originality
9
7
4
Attractiveness
5
8
5
Starting capital
8
7
5
Competitors
9
7
5
Items/services importance to humans
5
6
10
Total score:
36
35
29
 
 
 
 
Note that this table is not finished. You have to have a minimum of ten criterias for rating system to work well!

Selecting your final business idea

Now what is left for you is to rate all five ideas according to one criteria at a time. You will end up with similar table like we have here, though yours should be bigger with more ideas and criteria. Once you've rated all ideas, you can start counting how many points they gathered from all criteria. The one that has the most points wins the contest - congratulations, you have your final best business idea.

The best way to visualize your scoring results is to draw a line chart. You can either draw all five lines (which all represent one of your ideas) on a graph where horizontal axis represents ten criteria and vertical axis scores (1-10) or you can use Microsoft Excel. Just create and fill a table similar to the one on top, go Insert → Line(charts) → Line (2-D line) → Right click on new blank page → Select data. Now insert your table's data correctly and you will have your visualization.

Don't panic if you can't understand anything. Five lines in this chart is enough to make things really confusing, but if you analyze chart for a few minutes you will start to understand what's going on on it and you will also recognize your winning idea.

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