Is yours a good idea or a good product?

Friday June 29 2018

Good ideas are just that. You have to find a way to turn them into good products. ILLUSTRATION| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP


I get a lot of questions from people who wonder whether their idea is good. They want validation so that they can move forward. Unfortunately, with most businesses, it is hard to tell whether something will work until you try it out.

This journey is really a commitment to the process (which comes with up and downs) more than anything else. You are like a scientist willing to do the experiment until you find the right formula.

That said, there is a difference between good ideas and good products. Millions of people have the former. Fewer make it to the latter. Here are some things that differentiate the two.

A good idea is in somebody’s head. Have you ever had an idea, done nothing and then years later you see somebody else doing it? They experimented and you did not. Multiple people can have the same idea. Very few actually execute it. Ideas don’t make you special.

Putting the work in is what differentiates you. A good product solves a problem – not your problem, but other people’s. Just because that problem exists for you doesn’t make it universal. A good product will answer what problem it is solving, and for who. Good products are able to describe their target customer.

Have you ever heard someone talk about what they do, only to come out of the discussion and you still don’t understand exactly what they are offering? Don’t let that be you. A good product is simple to understand. You want people to have an ‘aha’ moment when you explain yourself because it makes sense.


Don’t expect your customer to understand too much jargon. If you can explain it to a five-year-old, then you are on the right track.

Getting to this point involves acting, learning on the job, using feedback until you get it right. When people have good ideas they tend to think about them as complete.


But the process teaches you that all good products have evolved and continue to evolve. You find ways of improving it and sometimes your customer requirements also evolve.

Rarely has money exchanged hands on just a good idea. People are willing to pay for a good product because they see the value. I still remember the first client who paid for my services.

It was a moment of validation as well as the reality that there is no turning back from that point. I now had to commit and deliver the value I promised. I wish I could tell you that once you have a good product, money will come quickly and you will immediately have loads of customers but I can’t. It may trickle in slowly.

Loads of people with good ideas make the mistake of thinking this is their route to instant millions or billions. The theoretical business plan based on an idea never projects losses after all. I have come to learn that the challenges we go through with money really test commitment.

Your own conviction will shine through if you know you have a good product. I have met many people who sell things that they are not 100 per cent sure or inspired about. It actually shows. Do you really believe in what you are doing or is it simply a means to an end? If you are not convicted, then you cannot convince!

In summary, remember that a good product is all about the customer. A good idea can simply be about you. Step out of yourself.



Waceke runs programmes on entrepreneurship. Get in touch with her on [email protected]|Facebook/WacekeNduati| [email protected]