Business Technology

Top tips for discovering a new product or service

6 min read

10 June 2014

It’s never easy trying to make a new product or service take off; frankly it can be a long hard slog making your dream become a reality.

But it can be equally taxing (if not more so) coming up with the idea for the product or service in the first place. If there’s no idea there’s no business. So to help you get the creative juices flowing, here are my top five tips for cultivating a new idea to make it big in business.

Seek inspiration from anywhere and everywhere

The best ideas in life can come from the strangest places, places you’d never predict being the catalyst for inspiration. The idea for Zapp360’s new real-time mobile ad platform came from a simple conversation of leisure at a music festival over a few beers, under the clear Texas night sky. So keep life interesting, experience new things and go to new places, because you never know when the best idea you’ve ever had will hit you; be it in the office, sitting on the bus, or alcohol fuelled, in a field in the Lone Star State!

What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?

It always helps if you already have experience in a particular industry, so ask yourself; what is it missing? What makes you cross when you encounter it and what would make life more convenient? Recognising the problem in the first place is half the battle but many will have a great idea without first thinking about the problem it solves, invariably limiting the odds of success.

Do your research!

So you think you have a unique idea, one that might change the industry landscape, but before you get carried away, check no one else has already thought of it. It’s important to be connected, particularly in our industry, and knowing what’s going around you can save you time down the line. Unique ideas are always more likely to achieve greatness although if it is being done, but badly, the opportunity is probably still there, so long as you are able to develop a superior product.

Am I alone?

Everyone believes their baby is the most beautiful thing on the planet, despite 99.9 per cent of all babies bearing a close resemblance to Winston Churchill. Even if you back yourself to the hilt, ask family, friends or trusted industry contacts, to get their perspective on the problem and your proposed solution. The more people you ask and the greater the consensus, the more confidence you will have to go forth and conquer.

Don’t be too disheartened if those who you speak to aren’t buying into it, because it may just mean the idea needs a bit of work, or they have identified problems that you hadn’t anticipated. Or it may just be that you need to clarify your messaging. The odds of success are greatly improved if you can explain the problem and what your solution does in layman’s terms. It’s also essential, especially in the early stages, to bring on like-minded people who truly believe in your concept and will do anything it takes to help you develop it and bring new ideas to the table. This can often mean the difference between success and failure. 

Refine, refine, refine!

I could have said innovate, innovate, innovate, but the sentiment is the same; once you’ve settled on the idea and the journey you are about to embark on, know that you are never going to be done, there is no finish line, unless you are bought out so you can hand the reins on to someone else. Companies that have stood still have withered and died and as the development process is critical to getting an idea of the ground, it is essential for the long term success of your product or service. 

Keep thinking; how can I make this even better than the initial idea I set out with? Over time, the problem you are trying to solve may change, but all the while you are innovating, you’ll be able to keep pace with that problem. While it’s important to have a business plan, prepare to be flexible and to adapt the business model as your innovation gains pace. There is no blueprint for innovation, so it’s up to you to write the rules as you go; this is the real beauty of starting your own business.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and good things don’t just happen. Ultimately, you’re going to have to work hard to make your vision a reality. Good luck and keep at it!

Jamie Estrin is co-Founder of Zapp360

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