I'm currently mulling over a new business idea.
The best measure for me of whether I have a good idea or not is to run it by my kids. They're 8 and 6. And they have a powerfully simple and yet surprisingly very perceptive way of considering ideas.
Boiling things down to their absolute basics is a great exercise and it works for just about any scenario, from the idea for a new business, or a proposed project, or even a change of home or lifestyle...
On every occasion when you're evaluating your ideas or plans, just like a child, the most important question you need to start with is 'Why?' And the answer needs to be short, simple and compelling.
Why are you going to do this? Why did you choose this product/model/customer-type/, etc.. Why do they need you? Why do you know this? Why will this work/be better than your competition?
I've spent a life time trying to make things simpler - from the maths puzzles that used to torment me as a teenager, to a variety of weird and wonderful business and legal conundrums over the years. (I'll leave the anecdote regarding what someone can legally do with a dead body in America to another day...)
The fact is, simplicity is what we're all looking for; the ability to understand at a glance, apply what we've just learned and then to move on, empowered to achieve our plans. And yet simplicity is what we often let go of as we grow up.
In business, it's become almost a badge of honour to start the answer to a question such as 'Can I/How do I do...?' with: 'Well, that's quite complicated...' or 'The problem is....' or 'It depends...'
What happened to 'Yes' and 'No'?
If we really want to empower others to understand why they should trade with us, choose our products or services and to stick with us even in the face of new competition, we have to make it simple to say yes to us. And to make it simple to say yes, we have to make our explanations of what we do as easy as possible for our customers to understand, to experience and to recommend. In short, we have to be ready to answer all the 'why?'s', just as a parent does.
when I first started training sales teams and business execs on legal topics many years past, it was the techniques used by my own mother with her 5 year old kids from which I took influence. I turned to visualisation, to what's now called 'gamification' and to simple explanations and examples (even the odd bit of theatre), to convey what really mattered and what really makes the difference between being in control of your business and its risk exposure and not having that control. And these techniques worked. They still do.