Something magical happens when you find the perfect mix of passion and flow. It’s the rush you feel when you are not only doing something you love, but you do it very well. That sweet spot is what we call your Zone of Genius.

Something magical happens when you find the perfect mix of passion and flow. It’s the rush you feel when you are not only doing something you love, but you do it very well. That sweet spot is what we call your Zone of Genius.

If you are one of those who are lucky enough to find a job where you can work in your Zone of Genius day after day, you can pretty much stop reading right now. This article isn’t for you. However, if you are thinking about starting your own business (or already have) doing what you love, keep on reading. I’m going to show you how to tell if your biz idea is badass or just plain bad.

I remember the first time I discovered my Zone of Genius. I was sitting in the car with my friend Ashley after the first day of Alt Summit back in 2015. She’d just left her full-time job to start her own business and we were talking strategy. I felt myself get so excited, not just for her to start doing something she was passionate about, but to help her take her idea and develop it into something viable.

The energy was palpable. We were building off of each other… her visionary outlook and big picture point of view paired with my organization and systemized approach to putting it all together. “This is exactly what I need!” she said. “I need someone like you to help me with the execution part of my idea. I’m all over the place and didn’t even know where to start, until now.”

That’s when it hit me. I wanted to do this for a living. I wanted to build a business out of helping people visionaries develop and implement their ideas.

But, could I really do it? Was it a good idea for a business?

Not all ideas are good ideas

I hate to break it to you, but, your parents were right. Just because you think it is a good idea doesn’t mean it is actually a good idea. I remember a time back in the 80’s as a kid thinking wearing roller skates in my living room was a good idea. Moments later, when I was flat out in full splits on the carpet, I could see why it may not have been. Should have listened to your mom. Can I just say OUCH!

The same goes for business ideas. Not all ideas will result in barrels of cash rolling in from all directions. It’s important to do some research and test the viability of your idea.

Author Josh Kaufman outlines 10 questions to ask to determine the viability of your business idea in his book, The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business. By answering each question on a scale from zero to 10, you can calculate the viability index of market viability.

Now’s the time to bust out some paper and grab a pencil cuz shit’s about to get real.

Ten Questions to Gage Market Viability

On a scale of zero to ten, zero being “non-existent” and 10 being “couldn’t get any higher”  (unless otherwise noted), rate each of the following questions:

PRO TIP: When in doubt, score it LOW.

How bad does my target audience need this right now?

This question measured urgency. When answering, think about things like:

  • Is there a big gap that needs filling?
  • Is it time sensitive?

How many people are actively purchasing a similar offering right now?

This question measures the size of the market. When answering, think about things like:

  • How many potential customers are there?
  • Is the audience established or need to be developed?

What is the pricing potential of this offering?

This question looks at the revenue potential. When answering, think about things like:

  • What is the highest price point the market will bear on this offer?
  • How many can I sell?
  • Will it scale?

How much money and effort will go into converting prospects into customers?

Score this question as Lots = Low Score, Low = High Score.

This question talks about the price of customer acquisition. When answering, think about:

  • Do you already have access to your target audience or will you have to develop it/pay for it?
  • How much effort will it take to engage the audience?

How much money and effort will go into delivering the value (your product or service)?

Score this question as Lots = Low Score, Low = High Score.

This question looks at the cost of production for your offering. When answering, think about things like:

  • What materials are needed?
  • What additional services or apps will you need to use?
  • Will you need to hire employees or contractors?
  • Are these resources you already have or would need to acquire?

How many other outlets can your audience get a similar offering?

Score this question as Lots = Low Score, Low = High Score.

This question looks at the uniqueness of your offer. When answering, think about:

  • Who is your competition?
  • What makes your offering stand out?
  • What gives your offering a competitive edge?

How long will it take before you can start selling your offering?

Score this question as Long Time = Low Score, Short Time = High Score. This question talks about speed to market. When answering, think about:

  • What must your minimum viable product include and what can you leave out?
  • Will development and testing take a long time?
  • How easy will it be to upgrade/update after you launch?

How much upfront investment, both financial and time, will it take?

Score this question as Lots = Low Score, Low = High Score.

This question looks at initial investment. When answering, think about:

  • What will your start-up costs involve?
  • Is it money and time you have or will you need a loan or investor?
  • How hard will it be to acquire the funds?

What is the upsell potential?

This question talks about having returning customers. When answering, think about:

  • What offerings can you make to returning customers?
  • How can you keep long-term customers?

What is the evergreen potential of your product?

This question looks at the offers longevity. When answering, think about:

  • Is it based on a trend? How long will the trend last?
  • Is it seasonal?
  • Will it still resonate over time?

Your Viability Score

Once you’ve rated all the questions, it’s time to add up each question’s point value to find the sum. If that total is 50 or below, your idea, as it stands, probably isn’t viable. If your total is 75 or above, you’ve got yourself a great idea and should run with it.

The in-between scores, in the 50-75 range, your idea will require a substantial investment to make it work. This could be time, effort, money, or likely all three.

If your idea scores mid to low, that doesn’t mean you should lose it all together. Evaluate each question. Where did you score low? What can you change about your idea to raise the score?

Your Business Model

The model you choose for your business makes a huge impact on its viability. If you scored low in some areas, like the cost of customer acquisition or cost of value delivery, changing your business model can greatly influence that score.

Five Ways to Monetize Your Zone of Genius

We’re teaching an online, free class on choosing the right business model for your Zone of Genius.

Join Samantha Parker and me on February 1, 2018, and learn about five different ways to monetize your Zone of Genius.

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Kathy Rasmussen is the Cofounder and Artistic Director of Badassery Magazine and Co-host of Badassery Podcast. She’s passionate about giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to follow their dreams and live a life of happiness and purpose.

Connect with her and thousands of other badass bosses in the We Are Badassery Facebook group. Click here to join.