Anyone who has known me for more than a couple of years will know how keen I used to be on left-brain analysis of, well, pretty much everything. Certainly of ideas and business opportunities, I’d want to analyse them to the nth degree, to cover all the bases, to understand every possible downside. And more often than not, fall deep into “paralysis by analysis”. More recently, I’ve come to realise that the left-brain stuff is only part of the equation – and the part that comes at the end.
The 3 I’s of a good business idea or opportunity are:
Before there can be anything to analyse to death, there has to be an inspired idea – what Tom Evans calls a “moment of light”, a lightbulb moment. These generally don’t come from left-brain, logical thinking. In fact, they usually fly in the face of the current received wisdom, they make no sense when viewed from the accepted paradigm. That’s what makes them such great opportunities.
So, you have your great, ground-breaking idea – but is it any good, can you really do something with it? And more importantly, do you even want to – is it right for you? Essentially, does it feel right, intuitively? No matter how fantastic an opportunity it may look, if it feels somehow ‘off’, then you’re probably not going to put in the level of commitment – the time, money, effort and resources – that it will need to make a go of it.
OK, you’ve had the great idea, it feels right, what next? NOW you need to bring in the left-brain, analytical, intellect to tear it apart, find the flaws, and put it back together with the problems designed out. And to identify the market, the message, where the money is. All the nitty-gritty business plan type stuff, the stuff I used to throw at everything straight away. The stuff that only adds value AFTER you’ve had the bright idea and tested it against your gut feel. But add value it does – without the intellectual analysis, you risk rushing off on some quixotic flight of fancy.
It’s only with this kind of whole-brain approach that you can be confident of a success – the inspired idea, the intuitive inner check, and the intellectual outer verification.