According to Webster’s Ninth New collegiate dictionary, an idea means what exists in the mind as a representation (as of something comprehended) or as a formulation (as of a plan). An idea may apply to a mental image or formulation of something seen or known or imagined, to a pure abstraction, or to something, such as a thought or conception that potentially or actually exists in the mind as a product of mental activity. In other words, an idea is the content of cognition or the main thing one is thinking about or intends to do.
No wonder Joseph Schumpeter viewed an entrepreneur as someone who is willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation. This therefore implies that the level of success attained by an entrepreneur solely relies on his willingness and ability to cultivate new ideas as well as embracing the avenue for advancement, progress or profit. This is why today the economy of Japan is well renowned in automobile because of their regular advent of new inventions and their willingness and ability to embrace and utilize every viable opportunity. No wonder they are known for the slogan “idea rules the world”.
However, an idea in the entrepreneurial conception can be seen as an innovation on something that exists or a new innovation, change or an addition to a plan. It can also be said to mean a plan or purpose of action or intention on a design.
Perhaps, it is a flash of inspiration that has been set and brainstormed in a workshop. Either way, ideas spring forth from an inner source.
Nevertheless, an idea can be utilized for commercial purposes. It typically centers on a commodity or a service that can be sold with a reward of money according to a unique model. For instance, bottling companies are known for packaging their product in a bottle. It was somebody that looked at the existing invention and came up with an idea that instead of bottling the product, it can also be packaged using a recyclable and easy to dispose cans which can also contain equal volume of the product as contained in the bottle. This idea was embraced and bought from the “original thinker” thus making an idea an exchangeable commodity.
An idea as has been elaborated is conceptualized by an entrepreneur who brings it to reality through a systematic and well articulated planning.
An idea can be transformed into a viable business before pursuing an idea into a commercial opportunity; as an entrepreneur, you must analyze it critically by bringing up all possible questions. He should try to expand his idea, brainstorm and develop it considerably.
An opportunity is a good chance for advancement or progress. It is a favorable or advantageous circumstance or combination of circumstances. It is an auspicious or providential state of affairs or a suitable time.
All business opportunities are based on ideas, but most business ideas do not represent authentic business opportunities. An idea is a connection between two or more pieces of information, which only turns into an opportunity when there is a need, problem and either actual or potential demand for a product or service, while opportunities are ideas that will result in a successful business. It is true that the first step to identifying a business idea will be to generate suitable ideas.
A business idea is just a conception or thought, without an actual plan, while an opportunity is an idea with a plan. True opportunities are treasure, extremely rare and exceedingly valuable.