How Do You Know If Your Business Idea’s Any Good?

We all get amazing business ideas strike when we least expect it: out on a dog walk, in the shower, just as we’re drifting off to sleep – handily at moments when we don’t have anywhere to write the idea down. Some will fade in our memories, leave almost as soon as they arrive; but others will linger. They’ll stew in our heads and build themselves up until we feel that we have to do something with them. But how do you know that this all-consuming idea, is a good idea?

The lack of confidence that is pervasive amongst creative women will often see ideas such as these pushed away, told no and filed as ‘not good enough’. Just think of all the amazing and beautiful products, stories and brands that that lie unfulfilled in the back of all our minds. So how can we stop this and get the balancing act right? How can we get the world to see your creative ideas, but protect your self-esteem in the process? The answer is that we need to get you thinking objectively about your ideas and creativity.

Easier said than done, I know. Objectivity is so hard to find, particularly when your ideas are so tied up in your emotions, and when your self-confidence depends on your abilities (read more about this in my DIY Coaching Exercises). But here are some questions to ask yourself and actions to take when you’re doubting your idea, to help you to think objectively, ‘is this a good idea?’.

How do you know if your business idea is any good? This post has questions to help you think objectively and confidently about your business ideas.

Does it solve a real problem?

This must be the very basis for any new business idea – it must solve something for someone. And the more real and tangible the problem, the easier it will be to sell the product.

What do I mean by “real and tangible”? For example, let’s say you want to make artisan biscuits. A ‘problem’ could be that someone is hungry, but that isn’t specific enough. Your beautiful biscuits don’t solve their problem because they can go anywhere on the high street and fix their problem for a couple of pence. However, a ‘real and tangible’ problem might be that someone has just gone vegan but can’t find beautifully iced vegan biscuits where they used to shop. Do you see the difference?

Is the problem a real, genuine sticking point for your audience, or something that can be easily overcome via the big brands and the high street?

How do you know if your idea's any good - planners, notebooks and tea

Would you buy/read/like it?

All too often we justify putting an idea away because ‘no one would like it’. And of course, it is so easy to tell yourself that – it really is the oldest cop out in the book. So rather than thinking ‘will anyone want to buy this?’, instead ask yourself ‘would I buy this?’. It’s a harder job to convince yourself that you don’t want something than it is to convince yourself that faceless ‘people’ don’t want it. And generally if you need something, others will too.

I also think this is a good rule of thumb to have when you’re creating the product. It was one of the founding principles of Simple & Season – everything I wrote had to be something that I would want to read, the idea being that that principle would weed out any sub-par or filler content. If you create something for yourself, you’re less likely to cut corners.

Open book on a windowsill

Has anyone told you it’s a good idea?

Have you ever been told you’ve got a talent for something, or that you should do xyz? Have you been told you should be doing something connected with your secret idea?

It’s all too easy to shrug off compliments and suggestions like this. But why do we? These unsolicited good wishes can’t benefit the wisher in any way; they aren’t saying it for any reason than it’s honest. Others see talents in us that we cannot see in ourselves – listen to these opinions and use them.

Pile of books and a pen on a wooden floor

Is anyone else doing it?

This really sums up the other questions. If someone else is doing something similar that means it solves a real problem, that they would buy it, and they’re inadvertently telling you it’s a good idea. It also proves there’s a market for your idea without you needing to do lots of market research. Ticked boxes all round!

You may see the fact that someone else has had the same idea as a reason not to go forward with it. No, no, no! If anything, this is the biggest reason to do it. Imagine if Mark Zuckerberg hadn’t started Facebook because there was MySpace, if Apple hadn’t made the iPhone because there was the Nokia 3310?

Even if there is something similar on the market, no one else will be doing it exactly the way you will; no one else will come to it with your imagination, your creative spark, your unique view point. Take me, for example. There are lots of other creative business coaches out there, but each of us bring a different background, mindset and approach to help our clients in different ways.

Fern in a frame

Who can you ask about it?

When developing any business, it’s vital to gain insight from your audience and potential customers. You may have the idea, but they will be able to tell you in which direction to take it, how it should be priced, what they like and don’t like. Surveying your audience will be a crucial step in the development of your idea, as well as in convincing you that it is a good idea.

There are lots of ways you can get opinions, depending on how brave you are. You can send a survey out to your email list or post it on your blog, use a Twitter poll or, if you’re really really brave, list it as an item for sale or start a crowd-funding campaign to see whether there’s any interest.

If you don’t want to start off as official as a survey, I love asking for opinions in my Instagram captions – this is a fairly non-committal and casual way to survey your audience, as no one is going to hold you to a caption pondering. And if you’re really not ready to put your idea into the public, ask a business bestie or online friend whose opinion you trust and respect – although they have to be the sort of friend who doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear 😉.

What big idea are you mulling over? (Email it to me if you don’t want to air it in the comments 😊)

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How do you know if your business idea is any good? This post has questions to help you think objectively and confidently about your business ideas.


  • Oh this is brilliant!! There are so many areas I’m mulling over but I alwways use the exuse “someone’s already doing that…” Thank you so much!!
    Peta x

  • I’ve been sitting on the idea for a bookshop bar for so long, and it’s something I’d love to do but it’s rather a large commitment so it’s on the backburner for now. One day…