If you’ve ever run a small business, you’ve probably had the “Ah-Ha moment” at every convenient and inconvenient time possible. Do you ever take the time to validate these ah-ha business ideas moments?

I once had an “Holy shit, this is the best idea I’ve ever had!!” moment while sitting in the dark during an incredibly terrible dinner theater production of “The King and I”. My immediate reaction was lean slowly towards my purse to get my notebook and pen.  I groped around until I found the notebook (easy part)…but just as my mind was working out the likeliest corner for a loose writing utensil…I made eye contact with the King of Siam. He knew. I knew. If I moved again, I might be forced to participate. 0_0  As soon as he broke contact to sing a rousing verse of…something or other, I slowly moved my hands back to my lap.  Book? Check Pen. Screwed.

I didn’t move a muscle for the next two hours…and my idea was long gone by the time I got back to the car.  *sigh*

Generally speaking, ideas are a dime a dozen.  Whether they are good, or bad, they come on like lightning creating a passion great than this monkey’s love for this pigeon.


When the idea hits, it’s ALWAYS the best idea you’ve had…even though it might be the dumbest.

If you are a small business, you may not have a team of employees to tell you when you are being less than intelligent. You might NOT have someone who can talk to you off of the cliff. So how you do you go about vetting your ideas? How do you know which ideas are worth your time and which ideas should jotted down for a later date?

Ideas are not cheap.  They cost a company both time and money…so having the willpower to to accept that your idea MIGHT not be “All that and a bag of Funions” can be one of the greatest attributes a small business owner has.

Sure, being impulsive can lead to success…but being smart THEN impulsive will get you there cheaper.  Below is my checklist for “Checklist: Vetting Ideas of Spectacular Potential”.

(And yes…that is what it is officially called. I think all business forms should have fun names and that describe exactly what they do. No more of this acronym crap.)

If you scroll all the way to the bottom, there is a downloadable/printable version for you as well! It even has TICK boxes!!  I love tick boxes.


First off, this process is only for ideas that will take more than a few days to build and market.  We are not talking blog post topics here people!  These are the ideas that will cost you both money out of your business bank account as well as time away from your already lengthy to-do list.

Secondly, don’t freakin’ do all three steps in one day!! The whole point of waiting 3 days is NOT that you can’t get this all done in one.  The point is that you need to really think about it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought an idea was the bee’s knees, spend an entire day away from what I REALLY need to be working on in my business, only to wake up the next day and think “Seriously Terra?  Jesus…”

Related Posts:   Organize This: Industry and Customer Contacts

It’s ok if your idea sucks. Jot it down and move on with the work you’ve already established as being profitable.

Thirdly, don’t be afraid you will lose your passion!!! You won’t!!  I promise!!  If you DO you lose your passion for the idea, that is a clear sign that it wouldn’t have been profitable anyways!

Ready to start?


A very small notebook that makes you happy every time you pull it out of your pocket or purse.

A pen that writes like magic (some pens are boring and evoke only hatred from me).


The Checklist:

DAY 1: 

  • Write the idea down immediately.  Even if you are watching a horrendous dinner theatre production that is threatening to make you participate should you show your distraction for one more second.
  • How will this idea make your business money? (Answer in 5 minutes or less)
  • Does this idea tie into your company’s branding? (Answer in 5 minutes or less)
  • What kind of customer will be attracted to this idea? (Answer in 5 minutes or less)
  • Sleep on it.  After you have spent an hour (or less) jotting the idea down and getting excited over it…don’t touch it again until tomorrow.  Think it through.

DAY 2: 

  • If you wake up tomorrow and STILL think the idea is spectacular, spend another 2-3 hours really working out the details.
  • How much money will this cost you to make? Be sure to add material costs, calculated time, hosting costs if it is a digital product, etc.
  • What is your competition like? Has this product been built before by someone else? (It’s ok if it has!) How will you create this product differently?
  • How is your competition selling their product?
  • How much time will it take to (realistically) create your product?
  • Where will you market your product?

DAY 3: 

IF, after both days have passed and you are STILL obsessed with this idea…have at it!!

  • Start a Trello board, Google Drive folder, Evernote document, etc.  Really start building your idea from the ground up!  Take the information and time you’ve already invested…and begin.  🙂

I’ve LOVED LOVED LOVED hanging out with you guys…as usual.  If you’ve love this post, be sure to pin it, tweet it and facebook it…and leave a comment below!!! Peace out trouts, until next time!!!

Terra Dawn

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