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Need help evaluating a business idea

knowableknowable subscriber Posts: 6
edited July 2008 in Business Planning
I`m stuck. I think I have a really great idea (don`t we all? ). Friends and family think it`s a good idea. I emailed a SCORE rep who noted,
"I feel that there is a need for the service you propose and that you are apparently well qualified. A service that would help small business people spec their requirements
and evaluate bids would be worthwhile.  However, over the years I have
seen several people try to provide such a service and none of them
lasted.  Evidently it is difficult to convince small business owners
that they need help. My only suggestion is to do some market research on your own."So, here`s the idea: I want to provide strategic information technology planning services to small businesses. That`s a mouthful. So, I jokingly call it CIO to go. I have a 5-step process that I use to assess and evaluate their business. I then recommend solutions, help solicit bids (create RFQ`s, evealuate bidders, etc.), document the whole process and train the client on what I did and how they can repeat the process themselves periodically.
Please let me know what additional details I can provide so that you are able to provide me with an objective view of my idea, it`s perceived viability, and -- most important to me -- concrete ways to educate my target market on why they would benefit from my service.
Ask anything you want. I`ll tell you all I know because I have nothing to lose and everything to gain from your help.
Thank you so much.


  • knowableknowable subscriber Posts: 6
    Everyone with whom I speak, that is SCORE, SBA, fellow small biz people,
    thinks this is an idea whose time has come, but...
    And that`s where the idea falls apart - at the "but". Like us, none of these other folks can envision a path to take this target market from prospect to customer. The general consensus is that
    1) they`re not taught to be strategically-focused
    2) the concept is too vague
    3) they have too many other constraints on their time and money.
    So, lacking any clear indication that this idea can make money, sadly I think I need to shelve it for now.
    Thanks for your input.
  • robertjrobertj subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    Before you shelve the concept - let me suggest the following exercise:
    1. Describe the "problem" you intend to solve
    2. As a next step - describe who has this problem.
    Robert Johnson
  • aihanmiaihanmi subscriber Posts: 0
    I like the concept but I think you have to take it further.  Small business owners are generally taxed in terms of time and resources.  If I invited you in to to figure out what technical solutions made the most sense for my business, I would also want you to screen the RFQ responses, recommend the two strongest, and actually implement the solution for me.
    In other words, if I`m going to spend time and money on your service then I don`t want to become an expert on how to follow the 5 steps. I really want the solution installed and my team trained on what buttons to push.  And I don`t want to have to do it again any time soon.
    Absent this, my gut feeling is most small business owners will do everything themselves.
    Not a bad idea.  Just needs more market research. 
    Best of luck, Michael.
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