5-minutes Test to Quick Sniff your One “Ah ha” Idea

Is there a way you can tell which business idea of yours is better than all the rest?

Well, there is.

That’s what we going to learn in this post.

In this post, we’re going to learn a 5 point criteria framework to rank out the ideas we have and then decide which one has the most likelihood of surviving an MVP test.

So, at the end of this post, you’ll know how to use the criteria by professional entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to screen ideas before they invest money or invest time.

It’s the exactly what we want right now.

We are going to start from the very beginning — the idea stage.

I’m going to show you how to screen through ideas you have. Probably you’re just like me, have a lot of ideas and you don’t know where to start.

We always want to start with the best idea possible because we want to have the highest likelihood to success and the highest likelihood that we don’t waste our time.

We’re going to do the sniff test.

It’s a quick screen through that we going to do on your ideas, as quickly as possible without any research required. It’s very much your own perspective of how comfortable are you with the idea before we going forward with it.

Given a scale of 1 to 10, 1 meaning why did I even start and 10 means yes, this is the ONE.

We’re going to draw a table like below and label the ideas you have on the top axis and the 5 criteria on the left axis. And at the end, we’ll total it up and decide which on to start off with.

Sniff test used by professionals

 Idea 1  Idea 2  Idea 3
 1 Pain:Payment
 2 Matching Fit
 3 Sustainability
 4 Path to Validation
5 Unfair Advantages

1 Pain:Payment ratio

Anytime when you’re selling something, creating a product, a service or a feature, at the end of the day you’re solving a problem.

Any business solution at any basic fundamental is to solve a problem, but the question is how big is the problem is it for your customers.

So the first one is pain — a problem is associate with pain. Small problem itchy and big problem big pain.

Give a mental rating in your head with regards to how big is the problem for your customer.

There are problems out there that are nice to solve which it’s nice if it’s solve. There also problem that’s big where solution is actively constantly being searched for.

Now the second part is the payment, this is how likely and how much are your customers going to likely pay to solve this problem.

Bigger problem generally can demand higher payment, but it’s not always the case. Think about if your idea have any comparable out there, is there something your customers used to paying a lot money for, or is this something your customer getting for free.

2 Matching Fit

This one is basically all about you.

what skills do we have, what experience do we have, what do we passionate about, what we generally find ourself good at…

Do those thing match the idea you’re proposing, something you can work on for an extended period of time, is it something you’ll excel and perform for a long time. Consider these when you’re going through this exercise —

  • Skills
  • Experiences
  • Passions
  • Connections

At the end of the day, a bad idea that matches you what you’re passionate about, your work etiquette, your connections, your skills is a lot better than a big grand idea that’s fantastic but just doesn’t match you and you’re going to go out of sync when you pull it off.

3 Sustainability

Sustainability means how sustainable your business is for a long term because an opportunity that’s not sustainable is only going to make you money for a short period of time.

Is that really a worthwhile opportunity at all?

You’re going to out ton of work upfront, it only make sense that the idea has a long way for it, I’m sure you don’t want to work just 6 months of it.

Try imagine this, your idea is super successful in the future, what will your competitors do, what would the market look like. If this is something you can’t imagine, it’s not sustainable then you’ll score low in sustainability.

4 Path to validation

When you think of this idea, can you immediately think of step 1, step 2, step 3 …

How easy is it for you to figure out whether or not is going to work or not? Some idea take a lot and is very complicated process and some very easy.

For example, validating an online course could be just a breeze, as there are plenty online course launched in the market and some of them are super successful.

Just how different the attractiveness of your content and what’s your USP and the way of teaching from other similar online courses.

This could be pretty easy to validate.

The another hard example would be you’re creating a totally new SAAS platform that would automatically find you the medical professionals based on your current health issue,

In which you will have to link up all medical officers onto your platform with consent from the professionals and consent from hospital to get the patient’s issue that then touches personal privacy issue or finding way to get the patient health status on the platform.

It’s going to be a hell of work to validate the idea. It will be a no-no for me.

5 Unfair Advantages

The last one is unfair advantage. This is something you can score a zero and this is perfectly fine.

If you started this business, what kind of advantages do you have over your competitors.

Unfair advantage for example could means you’ve deep domain expertise, which is hard for anyone to imitate, that’s your unfair advantage. Or you have people connections that will help you along the way in your business.

Or even if you have ton of free time, because it very hard to match someone who has 80 hours a week. No everyone can go full force into building their business.

I can give you an example, for Mastering Growth Hacker Marketing for Small Business course, I have been started blogging on digital marketing subject that leaves me a group of followers to start with,  that gives me the advantage.

So, take some time and ponder around these 5 criteria for your idea. Here is my scoring for Mastering Growth Hacker Marketing for Small Business course and why I give them that score.

 Idea 1
 1 Pain:Payment 7
 2 Matching Fit 8
 3 Sustainability 7
 4 Path to Validation 8
5 Unfair Advantages 3
Total 33

Criteria 1 – I’m giving it a 7 because I know everyone started an online business dying to see results and it’s a hot topic nowadays with test and performance in DM.

I believe a good course that converts for them worth quite some value in return.

They will know how to calcualte the ROI.

Criteria 2 – It’s an 8, because I have been in this fields and have deep domain here. I’m passionate in this and have established some reliable connections.

Criteria 3 – I give a 7 because I don’t think DM or growth hacking will go out of date very soon. There can be term used change, but the content will still be relevant, just need to constantly updated will do.

Criteria 4 – I give an 8 as well, because I believe everyone online need some of these to promote their websites.

Shouldn’t be hard to find potential customers, and online course technology is mature enough to conduct my business, I’m not changing any process in between just content/information is different.

Criteria 5 – It’s a low at 3, the real concern I have is competitions in the same topic, it could be lots of competitors already in. That brings down the score I put here. I’ll keep this in mind and let’s find out later.

Again, spend some time think through your idea, but also don’t spend too much time on this exercise, as this suppose to be a in-your-brain exercise. Next, let’s work on your idea to come out with the hypothesis.

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