This is a post to quickly help you think creatively about your business idea. Coming up with an idea that you love does not mean that it is viable. Others might not be as passionate about your idea or, the market might be full of companies fighting for the same customers. If you believe you have a passion that you want to build a career from – don’t hesitate – instead, find ways around it. One way of doing this is to use frameworks and by inviting more ‘playful’ thinking around your idea. The Subject-Angle-Execution framework establishes three steps which can help you experiment with your business idea further. This is a tool/framework that’s is easy to use and can bring some structure to a brainstorming session. It was first presented to me when I attended a talk with Simone Baird who is in charge of Guardian Masterclasses. Simone is true female entrepreneurial inspiration and I found her framework be an effective as it in the simplest way incorporates entrepreneurial concepts.
It consists of three steps:
1. Subject – What is it that you want to do?
2. Angle – What’s your niche target segment?
3. Execution – How can you do it differently?
So demonstrating this with two simple examples. Let’s say you’re extremely passionate about organising parties and you want to start a business from this. Finding your angle is key as this can ensure your first customers or early adopters of your service/product (the angle can later be expanded if your business is successful). The angle of this business could be to deliver historical themed parties to gay couples; and the execution would differentiate itself from others by having specially scripted role plays where every guest has a part to play or executing the parties in particular places related to the story. There are endless alternatives if you start thinking about it creatively.
Or try the same framework on a technology where the idea is to sell travel guides online. Niche market could be ‘hipsters’ who wants to find out the best ‘hipster’ places when travelling to a new city. With the assumption (that should be tested) that every hipster owns a smart phone, so they can use Instagram during their trip, execution could be to deliver it straight to a mobile app which includes daily updates on events at the venues recommended. The key is to keep on producing different angels and executions until you find a match to the specific needs of potential customers.
With the help of this framework you can come up with new product angels, niche segmentations and differentiation that you then can create new hypothesis around to test on your customers. Use the Subject-Angel-Execution framework as a tool in your customer development process where you design experiments that you can test and get new insight from.
Testing the travel guide idea may reveal problems of retaining customers as the target segment may only use it once whilst travelling. This means that maybe you have to play around more with execution to find a new way to build in repetitive use of the app. Test this framework on some of your ideas and let me know what you think.
Play around, have fun and most importantly be creative!