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The NABC approach to idea evaluation

Entrepreneurial ideas are exciting, but evaluating the business opportunity behind the idea is key for people looking to grow a successful business from it.

How do you evaluate ideas to develop and which ones to drop? There are so many examples of existing businesses picking the wrong idea to develop or worse dropping an idea which has then gone on to be successful.

The NABC method (Need, Approach, Benefits, Competition) used by some venture capitalists have proven to be very valuable for new businesses or businesses looking to innovate.  It will often be useful to group the ideas that come up by general concept and then make a selection from each group.

So, what should you consider when taking the NABC approach?

NEED: Describe the needs of the target group.
You must discover the most critical, precise user needs from within your target group. You can do this from observation, surveys, interviews and user tests. The more insight you can get into the users, the higher the likelihood your solution will be successful.

APPROACH: Describe the project focus, the solution, and the process concerning the needs of the target group.
You must address the idea generation and development to answer this question: What is unique about the idea and the approach to solving the audience’s need?
This phase is for brainstorming (quantity is the priority).

BENEFITS: Describe the project’s users’ interactions and the positive effects for the group and clients.
This phase is about the user benefits, where you address the specific benefits of the idea for the user. This is part of the idea generation phase, where if the idea satisfies an important need, it is beneficial for the user. The idea’s core aspect should be unique so that you have a competitive advantage. You can do this through user tests or through the strategy and scaling of the product.

COMPETITION: Describe what your clients can gain from you, in respect to the competition
This phase deals with the advantages and disadvantages of the existing competition. How does the idea and its benefits distinguish itself from anything that your competitors have to offer?

All key decision-makers should be involved in the process of idea generation and when discussing ideas, you should consider the following tips from Incrementa’s blog post:

  • Get it all out – before spending time on generating new ideas be sure to get any existing ones out first.
  • No limits to creativity – Anything goes.  There is room for each idea.
  • No copyright – At this stage, there is no “ownership” of ideas.  All ideas belong to everyone.  Ideas emerge and are developed through teamwork.
  • The quantity has precedence over quality – At this stage, it is important to generate as many ideas as possible.  Those that are “off the wall” may turn out to be exciting and bring the group into interesting new territories.
  • Avoid negativity – Responses such as, “But we have already tried that” are counterproductive and have no place in the new idea process.
  • Ten seconds – To make sure ideas do not get lost and write them down within ten seconds
  • Cast the net wide – Regardless of whether an idea is likely to be implemented or look strategically important, the focus should be on generating radical rather than incremental ideas.

 Incrementa has a significant track record in delivering small business growth services to pre-start and growing businesses. The team of consultants at Incrementa have helped to start over 1000 new businesses and have assisted over 250 existing businesses to grow and develop.


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