How to Turn an Idea Into a Successful Business?

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By: Site Engineer, Staff

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Conversion of Idea(s) Into Business

The conversion of the idea(s) into business is a process whereby an entrepreneur conceives and formulates project out of business ideas.

It is essential to transform the idea(s) into services or products that are in demand by an identified market segment. The idea(s) can be in respect of talent had skill acquired experience gained or knowledge possessed through formal and informal learning system.

In this respect, an idea may be defined as:

  • Opinion
  • Plan scheme, design purpose
  • Thought picture in the mind
  • Vague belief, fancy, feeling that something is probable and
  • Way of thinking

The relevance of Knowledge and Skill

Indeed, knowledge has become the central capital, the cost center, the “primary” the central factor of production and the crucial resource of the economy of developed countries of the world. In these countries, a knowledge industry produces and distributes ideas and information rather than goods.

In these countries, knowledge has become the primary industry in the industry that supplies the economy the essential and central resources for production. Hence, knowledge is the key factor in their economic strength.

Thus, whereas in the distant past, knowledge was ornamental rather than functional today knowledge is the foundation and measurement of economic potential and economic power. This is applicable to the economics of nations as well as enterprises, the reason being that a business has to be sufficiently “knowledge base” in order to perform grow and compete.

But what is knowledge?

Knowledge may be defined as:

  • A form of energy which exists only when doing work.
  • A person’s understanding of reality.
  • The application of information to do something.
  • The systematic organization of information and concepts.
  • Understanding or familiarity which may be defined as experience.

The need for knowledge has been dictated by the demand of our plural society. This demand has created knowledge opportunities as well as knowledge entrepreneurs. In this respect, a knowledge entrepreneur is a person who applies to productive work or business ideas, concepts, and information rather than manual skill or brawn.

However, there is a high degree of relationship between knowledge and skill. This is partly because knowledge is the foundation of skill and partly due to the fact that knowledge without skill is unproductive.

Invariably the application of knowledge requires imagination and skill. Skill is the ability to do something expertly and well. Usually, possession of relevant knowledge facilitates the acquisition of new skills and vice versa. Both skill and knowledge may be acquired from formal and informal learning systems. So Africa needs a core of dynamic private entrepreneurs and owner-managers with necessary skills and commitment that can galvanize them and join forces to put the derailed economy back on track.

Sources of Project Ideas

By and large, projects are conceived and executed to meet a market need.

Some specific sources of project ideas from which indicators can be derived include:

  • Advertising agencies.
  • Analysis of government policy statements, budgets, and plans especially in respect of areas of change and future priority.
  • Analysis of reports of companies particularly with regard to areas of linkage with small enterprises.
  • Analysis of the trend and pattern of imports and exports.
  • Chambers of Commerce and Manufacturers Association.
  • Commercial Banks and other financial houses
  • Customers (consumers and suppliers).
  • Ideas from the mass media, journals, periodicals especially industrial, and business magazines.
  • Market research and consulting firms.
  • Members of your family and organization as well as friends.
  • Ministry of Industries and Trade including Industrial Development Centre.
  • Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Natural resources and local raw materials.
  • New process or products developed from research organizations.
  • Observation (for market gaps) through continuous scanning.
  • Organized visits to other states, local government areas, and established enterprise.
  • Research findings from government agencies research institutes e.g., Universities.
  • Seminars and courses.
  • Trade Fairs and Agriculture Fairs.
  • Tradition, cultural habits, and tastes.

Project/Business Formulation

Whatever the source the project may be, the idea is only the beginning of a business enterprise.

In this respect, the idea must be well conceived, carefully articulated, meticulously analyzed and appraised. Otherwise, its implementation will be very difficult because built-in contradictions at the project ideas conception stage show ugly heads at the implementation stage.

In the process of formulation of projects, many project ideas are considered and a few are accepted while many will be rejected. At this stage, project ideas are evaluated and decisions made on the basis of heuristics, institution, past experience, and creative thinking.

The conversion of ideas to business requires thinking tools and entails the entrepreneur’s understanding of how his/her mind works when it is thinking about ideas, decision or problem.

The mind has three ways of working as follows:

  • Analyzing: the separation of the whole into its component parts.
  • Valuing: assessing/evaluating, judging and critiquing the worth or significance (real or perceived) of an idea.
  • Synthesizing: the process of thinking and forming holes by assembling components or parts together.

In the process of the formation and formulation of business ideas, qualitative analysis is useful.

Some of the variants of this technique are:

  • Ask Others: Asking an experienced person who has no connection with the project about how it should be broken down. This may be a person either in your field of specialization or in a totally unrelated field.
  • Attribute Listing: Developing categories for the subject matters, developing descriptions by these categories and expanding the descriptors.
  • Basic Question: Breaking down the relevant subject matter by asking a series of basic questions.
  • Forces Relationships: Forcing comparisons between different elements of the situation to determine the common characteristics and differences.
  • Matrix Method: Developing a chart or matrix of one set of variable versus other characteristics of the problems
  • Pattern Search: Reviewing major activities or elements involved with a view to looking for patterns among the various functions or activities.
  • Reference Projections: An extrapolation of the existing situation into the future using assumptions known to be false with a view to identifying a new direction.
  • Visualize Others: reflecting on the problem situation and asking yourself how an established personality in the area might approach the particular problem.

Creative Thinking

Thinking may be classified as analytical, judicial or creative. Analytical thinking is limited by the state of the analyst’s knowledge and may be improved through the use of imagination and skill. The judicial thinking a variant of analytical thinking – is concerned with the measurement and comparison of like subjects with a view to drawing inferences therefrom.

On the other hand, creative thinking is about relating ideas that were previously perceived as unrelated with a view to discovering or developing something.

The process of creative thinking consists of five stages as follows:

  • Efforts: Divergent thinking that may lead either to feasible solutions or frustration.
  • Evaluation: Analysis of all ideas obtained as a possible solution.
  • Incubations: Allowing the sub-conscious mind to work on it.
  • Insight: The flash of illumination that gives an answer and leads to possible solutions for the decisions problem and
  • Preparation: Problem definition and restatement data collection, and application of convergent (analytical) thinking.

 

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