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What Makes a Good Business Idea?

By TLS | May 12, 2008

What makes a good business idea? I know lots of people that have started businesses with what seems to be the golden touch. Everything seems to come together, revenue starts flowing, and boom - success! But I also know other people who think they have a great business idea and they give it their all, but the business just doesn’t take off. What gives?

Is it really in the business idea itself? Or is the success of a startup more closely related to the personalities and skills of the individuals who are running it? If you have insight into this, please let me know.

Overall, I think a strong management team is important, but is that always a requirement? I doubt it. I’m sure there are lots of companies that become successful in spite of their founders/managers. Even so, it has to help. Some of the best examples of leadership and business acumen I have ever seen can be found in my former bosses. In these individuals you will find a fantastic combination of entrepreneurial grit, infectious charisma, and hawk-like adherence to the numbers. It’s no wonder their companies grew into sustainable, profitable enterprises. These are guys that I try to emulate, and I have found success, but the big win has eluded me so far.

Take, for example, the online marketing and lead generation site for LASIK surgeons called 1-800-LASERDR.COM. We started this business five years ago, but it is little more than a healthy proof of concept. It has modest revenues from a handful of loyal customers. Granted, we have not had the resources to build the business as quickly as we would have liked, but I still thought we would be farther along by now. So what is the problem? I am too close to the business to give an objective critique.

Obviously, this business is under capitalized and lacks resources. Perhaps that is the entire problem. But perhaps not. I have no doubt that the same company in the hands of my mentors would be at least 10 times larger and on track to being the best referral based business in the laser eye surgery market by now.

So, we are at a crossroads. Your feedback (if you are reading) is encouraged.

We intend to raise a seed round of financing to kick start the business, but we are also intersted in establishing a strategic alliance that could help us tip the balance. The model is similar to other businesses in the space, with some important differences.

(1) First, our service is production based, so there is built in upside to our model. The better we perform for our clients, the more money we make.

(2) Second, we offer an extension into the offline world for LASIK surgery marketing. None of our competitors have the domain/phone number combination. We are positioned to be the 1-800-DENTIST of the LASIK market.

(3) And third, our customers get exclusive relationships with us. If someone is looking for a Phoenix LASIK surgeon, we will send that person to our one client in Phoenix. We do not double deal - no sending of prospective patients to more than one client.

Please give your feedback! I’m all ears.

Topics: Management, Business |

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