Great Business Idea v Business Savvy: Which is more important in achieving Business success?

There’s no denying that a really innovative idea, which is aimed at the right market, is the stepping stone to success. However, one stepping stone does not a river crossing make, and even the greatest idea needs a solid base of business acumen to help it stand out amongst the countless new businesses which pop up almost daily, and in some cases, sink without trace.

Business acumen is defined as “keenness and speed in understanding and deciding on a business situation”. It involves a multitude of skills, most of which have to be taught. For a smart idea to evolve into a successful business, the owner of the idea needs to have secondary resources such as marketing, sales, finance, and legal in place. They also need to understand the business landscape; how their product/service fits in, where the market is, and how to attract the interest of the market.

Throughout history, the great and the good have had fantastic ideas, which have gone on to be massive money-makers, but often for other people. A case in point is Nikola Tesla, the ultimate geek – who pioneered AC power. He died in poverty, and is considerably less well known than Thomas Edison, who is known as the man who invented the lightbulb. In fact, Edison was a savvy businessman, who knew a good idea when he saw it, and was swift to slap a patent on any idea that got the dollar signs flashing. The association between Tesla and Edison saw Tesla coming up with the ideas, and developing the product, with Edison applying solid business acumen, and taking the ideas to market. It could have been a match made in heaven, but Tesla’s naivety led to his downfall, while Edison’s savvy earned him a fortune, and saw him deified as one of the leading scientific brains of his era.

This salutary lesson should be absorbed by anyone with a good idea. In itself the idea is simply not enough. To achieve success, it’s essential that the idea is backed up with all the business skills and resources that will see it achieve its potential. Every geek/mad scientist/inventor needs to either employ the skills, or learn them – or risk losing out to someone with a less brilliant idea, and the business savvy to effectively bring their product to market.

The Catalyst Centre was developed to help turn great ideas into great businesses. Over the coming weeks, we will introduce you to the people and concepts that could help you to achieve success. All you need to do is apply!