When you have a new idea, you obviously look around to see if anyone else is doing it too. In college we called that a “SWOT” Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Basic stuff.
But there is an emotional side to this exercise. You range from “ha ha – I can do better than you” smugness to “oh crap, am I in over my head” insecurity. It can be an immobilizing roller coaster if left unchecked.
The whole point of the SWOT exercise is to determine 1) if your idea has merit, and 2) how to uniquely position yourself in the market to make money.
If no one else is doing your idea, be careful. There may not be a paying market for it. A “good concept” does not necessarily make it a money-maker. Do some keyword searches in Google. How many ads pop up on the side of your search results? Do a search in eHow – how many search results do you get? Read a trade publication. How deep are the ads?
Assuming your idea has merit (a.k.a., there’s a paying market for it), how can you be unique? Should you go deep in a niche? Offer a wider product range? Take a different angle? Offer more hands-on service?
Be creative and smart. Bold, yet realistic. Analyze thoroughly, but not to the point of paralysis. And check your emotions at the door. It’s just business.