Good Ideas

Good Ideas
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While good business ideas are a dime a dozen, great ones are as common as a 1965 silver dime.   

Just a fraction of new businesses last more than two years. So what makes a successful venture? From uniqueness to the ease of scaling the concept up or down, entrepreneurs say a number of things should be considered when trying to establish whether an idea is just good or really great. Here are 10 factors to contemplate:

Will people will pay for it?

Will people will pay for it?
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It's paying customers who validate an idea and determine which ones have the greatest chance for success, said Wil Schroter, co-founder and CEO of Fundable.

"An idea is just an idea until you have a paying customer attached to it," Schroter said. "Anyone can discredit a simple idea, but no one can discredit paying customers."

Does it solve a problem?

Does it solve a problem?
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Entrepreneur and co-founder of the Web design school The Starter League Mike McGee thinks the best business ideas are those that solve a problem in some way.

"If there is a problem that affects you, your friends, family, co-workers, etc., then the chances are high that it affects people you don't know as well," McGee said.

What's its price point?

What's its price point?
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Charlie Harary, founder and partner of investment firm H3 & Co., said that while there are many ways to solve problems, great business ideas do it in a way that is less expensive than what the market will endure.

"Once you have determined that you are solving a legitimate problem in a scalable way, you need to determine not only the value that it delivers to the world, but what people would pay for that value," Harary said. "Once you determine the price, then you can assess if your solution is businessworthy or not."

Is it scalable?

Is it scalable?
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As someone who works with entrepreneurs on a daily basis, consultant and author Ralph Quintero believes the great business ideas are ones that can be easily scalable.

"Can it be systemized, automated or expanded as the interest for the product grows?" said Quintero, founder of the media and consulting firm The Great Business Project. "I have seen many great ideas fail because the entrepreneurs behind them never planned for scalability accordingly."

Is it unique?

Is it unique?
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Kendall Almerico, CEO of the crowdfunding site ClickStartMe.com, says too many entrepreneurs think they are on to a great idea when their heart starts to pound, their pupils dilate and they can't concentrate on anything else.

"You know you have a great business idea when you stop sweating, get back to reality and focus enough to Google the concept and find out nobody else has ever done it," Almerico said.

Does it gain cyber-traction?

Does it gain cyber-traction?
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One way to determine an idea’s potential is to create a simple website to see if online consumers are interested, said Josh Waller, a hustler at Elastic Inc.

He said the website should have a company name, logo and brief description of the concept. It should also include a box that says, "Sign up on the waiting list — first come, first served."

"Then email your contact list asking them to check out the site, sign up if interested, and share with others who might be," Waller said. "If you get a few dozen sign-ups in a day, you're probably onto something, and you already have your first few customers to contact."

Will vendors be interested?

Will vendors be interested?
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The best indicator of a business’s potential success is the amount of interest it generates from outside vendors, according to Eugene Lee, president and CEO of ETL Associates.

"If peripheral businesses are clamoring at your door to gain an audience, then you can rest assured you are probably sitting on a lucrative proposition," Lee said.

Is it hard to duplicate?

Is it hard to duplicate?
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David Handmaker, the CEO of Next Day Flyers, believes the best business ideas are the ones that can't easily be duplicated.

"If there is a great idea and barriers to entry are low, you can be sure imitators will follow," Handmaker said. "New businesses should have strong differentiators and/or barriers, like patents, to help ward off the competition."

Does it win recognition?

Does it win recognition?
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Katie Shea, director of marketing for OrderGroove, thinks truly great business ideas are outwardly recognized by an external source, such as investors, paying customers or the media.

"Recognition from those who are not intertwined with the original idea or business are less biased and therefore more likely to recognize the difference between a subpar and truly extraordinary idea," Shea said.

Can it last?

Can it last?
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Business ideas that can cater to people over a long period of time make for the most successful ventures, according to Ian Aronovich, co-founder and CEO of GovernmentAuctions.org. Aronovich said entrepreneurs need to picture their business in two, three and 10 years to determine if their product or service will still be relevant.

"Avoid falling for trends and fads, because thosecan disappear overnight," he said. "If you're confident your idea will still be the answer to your customers' problems and it'll continue to bring in more revenue for your business in all the years ahead, you have a great idea to work with."

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