Earn from your ideas

In his book, Ogilvy on Advertising , the late David Ogilvy of Ogilvy and Mather writes: "This is not a book for readers who think they already know all there is to know about advertising.

"It is for young hopefuls and veterans who are still in search of ways to improve batting averages at the cash register."

The same thing applies to our business supplement, Into Business. This supplement is meant for all aspiring entrepreneurs.

Having read our first issue last Thursday, we think you've had time to ponder the question we posed, namely: Do you really have what it takes?

It does not matter what your status in the business world is. This question is for you.

You now have an idea of what it is you really want to do or which product or service you want to provide. You are sure it is feasible, but just don't know where to start.

Can your idea stand the test of time?

It is encouraging to know that even the mightiest lion started out as a little cub. Every business starts small. Even the largest corporations started as an entrepreneurial idea.

Still, starting a business is daunting and also a life-changing challenge that might lead to serious regrets and losses if not carefully thought through.

It is critically important to research and evaluate your ideas against the market in which you wish to operate.

You can agree that ideas are everywhere and everyone is capable of dreaming, but only select ideas are truly innovative enough to make it.

A business mentor once asked the question, is your idea practical? Can it work? It is amazing what these simple questions can reveal if you truly investigates.

Here are some of the questions you can ask to test your idea:

l It is good to dream of designing a new range of clothing or come up with a new type of cosmetic, but do you have the capacity and finance to make them?

If not, do you believe that your dream can be convincing enough for financiers to back you up with money to achieve these dreams?

Ask yourself, why would an investor take such a risk in your idea? If it's convincing enough, someone surely will, the question is how convincing is your idea?

l Would it fill a need or close an identified gap in the market? Is it something people would appreciate having?

Think of the arrival of the cellphone or the Internet.

l Can it be done beautifully; can it outshine current or existing ideas; would you love working with or on it and would you love the outcome?

Surely when Bill Gates started Microsoft, he had this in mind and the proof is in the company's success.

l Your idea might not be new. If so, can it be done differently so that it takes away the spotlight from the existing ones?

Think of how a new competing company that is introduced to the market swiftly outshines the current market players.

A good example is the Internet search company, Google. With just a search engine, they have revolutionised how the Internet is perceived. It is better than the old America On Line (AOL), Microsoft's MSN Hotmail and Yahoo combined.

Why do you think one vehicle, or computer manufacturer is selling more and performing better than the others?

l Can your idea receive the stamp of excellence and approval from the authorities? Unfortunately, we live in a regulated environment.

In the process of evaluating your idea, you might have to check with authorities such as the South African Bureau of Standards for its feasibility and acceptability.

If one looks at many products in the market, they bear a sign or stamp of the regulatory authority in question.

If you build or manufacture something, there are certain standards and rules to adhere to either for environmental, health or safety reasons to keep our world in order.

This is not cast in stone nor does it mean after this you are armed for the world of business completely.

Entrepreneurship is a learning process that involves the creation of new things, determination and constant trial and error. Take your time and learn more. The more knowledge you have, the better your chances of success.