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The Predictability and Disappointment of a Failed Idea

I once heard a story of a 65-year old business owner who spent his life savings (a million dollars to be exact) on an app that unfortunately, was bound to fail from the moment it hit the market. As sad as this story sounds, this is the reality for many of us as professionals and business owners.

One of the huge mistakes that business owners and professionals make is trying to perfect an untested idea. People spend hours, weeks, months, years and decades trying to perfect an idea, business plan or a product and it ends up failing.

At some point in my career I was fortunate to work as a finance leader within an engineering group and they taught me a lot about testing ideas. Whenever someone came up with an idea the team had a process for evaluating and then testing the idea to see if it was worth looking into further. After the project was deemed feasible my job was to evaluate whether or not the project made financial sense. This project really helped us and was critical because we were responsible for managing over $2 billion in research and development.

Prior to having a good process, a lot of money and time was wasted because people “fell in love” with their own ideas and no one was being objective.

To save tons of money and a lot of time here are a couple tips that have proven to work very well:

  1. Clearly define your purpose/audience – It’s a lot easier to hit a target when you can clearly see it

  2. Find a test group – a small group preferably with various backgrounds that can give you honest feedback to help improve the idea

  3. Find inexpensive ways to test your idea – i.e. social media is one of the most cost effective ways to test a marketing idea.

  4. Find a mentor – learn from the experience of others who have gone where your trying to go

Check out the FREE “60secondmoney” podcast for a more in-depth discussion on each point and get the tips on how you can do it too.

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