Someone asked the following question: “For someone who wants to start their own business, how much time should I spend on coming up with the original idea?”
Very little time because it seems to me you are assuming that you know what customers want. One thing I have learnt over my 20+ years as an entrepreneur is that I am NOT the fountain of amazing money making ideas. Ideas, successful business ideas come from people — everyone around you. Where I come in is in the execution of those ideas that I get from people.
Great ideas that come from us, the entrepreneur, usually suffer from bias and little relevance. It is a problem in our lives, and we overvalue our own solution, and then we go and build a business around it. Not a good plan. I have done that in the past and lost a lot of money.
Instead, if you in such a situation as I described above then you need to talk too as many people as you can and see if they are also having the problem and how much they are willing to pay to have that problem solved in their lives.
If only a few people have the problem and not willing to spend much to solve it, then do not pursue the business. But if many people have the problem and willing to pay a fair price for your solution, then I would say go ahead and start this business.
So to get back to your original question of how much time you should spend coming up with the original idea is Every day!
You must never stop listening. You must never stop seeking information from other people — case in point.
What Richard Branson does – a true story
I had contact with two founders who won a startup competition, and they flew to the UK as part of a Virgin Entrepreneur initiative. Part of the prize was that Richard Branson was on the flight and they got to spend 40 minutes with him.
I asked them what they learnt, and they said nothing. The two founders could not get a word in; he kept asking questions about their lives, their business etc. See, Richard Branson never stops this process; that is why he is successful. Here is a billionaire listening to two founders of a startup with a few paying customers. It speaks volumes.
That said, listen out to what people are saying, there is where you will find original business ideas. Then never stop that process, it needs to become the way you talk and interact with people. Too many entrepreneurs always try to tell people about what they and how great they are. Instead, listen, serve your customers, and they will tell the world just how great you are.
If you need help with your business idea to make sure it is the right one that will make money and not lose you money, then reach out to me and work with me, I can help you avoid expenses mistakes in getting your new business idea going.