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Brain circuits

3 things necessary to turn an idea into a business opportunity

Published 25 August 2021 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

There is a seemingly obvious idea that has tripped up many an entrepreneur: ideas are not the same thing as opportunities.

A venture idea can only turn into a venture opportunity if there is a favorable combination of circumstances that make it both desirable and feasible for the entrepreneur to exploit the venture concept and introduce a potentially value-adding offering into the marketplace. While the exploitation of one business may be an opportunity for one entrepreneur, another might not find it all that interesting, simply because they do not see it as an opportunity. 

So, when you have come up with an idea and are thinking about starting a business based on it, you should remember the following: 

Be open and share: learn, unlearn and relearn

Venture ideas are not venture opportunities. An idea is rarely worth anything, whereas an opportunity is based on a more elaborate concept of a potential future venture. So, make sure you thoroughly test your idea to fill in any missing gaps and get an accurate sense of market receptiveness. If necessary, make changes or be prepared to dump the idea altogether. 

Be patient and persistent

It takes time, effort, and resources to transform an idea into what might, hopefully, become an opportunity. Be prepared for the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial rollercoaster. Things do not happen overnight; you will have to invest hours and energy. I’ve been there myself several times, as you can read in a reflective post I once wrote on LinkedIn. 

Take advantage of your human and social capital

Be sure to take advantage of whatever skills and experiences you have gained so far. Research has shown that prior experience significantly increases the odds of startup survival and performance. And don’t forget that you can enlist others to help, so leverage the network contacts you have. There’s no better way to enter the market than through contacts.   



Peter Voegel - IMD Professor

Peter Vogel

Professor of Family Business and Entrepreneurship at IMD

Peter Vogel is Professor of Family Business and Entrepreneurship, Director of the Global Family Business Center, and Debiopharm Chair for Family Philanthropy at IMD. He is Program Director of Leading the Family Business, Leading the Family Office, and Lean Entrepreneurship. Named in the Poets&Quants 2022 list of the best 40 MBA professors under the age of 40, Peter has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and, has written a number of books, book chapters and scientific and practitioner-oriented reports.


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