Do you have a brilliant idea but you don’t know how to start a business with it? If YES, here’s a complete guide for turning a simple idea into a multi-million dollar business.
Everyone gets an idea from time to time. We get ideas when stuck in traffic, at the dining table, at the office, while reading a novel and even in the restroom. But that does not necessarily mean that the said idea can be converted into a viable business.
An idea is like a spark that is capable of turning into a fire (i.e. a flourishing business). However, without the proper care and dedication, that spark will definitely fizzle out. According to U.S SBA (Small Business Administration), approximately 600,000 businesses open and 550,000 close each year in the United States of America alone. This just goes to show that some ideas can be a gold mine while others can be a total waste of time and resources, so how can one distinguish the two?
3 Preliminary Tasks to Do to Validate your idea
a. Brainstorm on your idea
Having an idea is not enough. To separate a good idea from a potential flop, you have to brainstorm and carry out proper research on what you are about to step into. Sometimes an idea may appear silly or nonviable, but proper research can point out otherwise.
Make out time to not only think but also write down (or type out) your ideas and the research that you have made about them. Bear in mind that whatever idea you think out has to be able to provide a solution to a problem else it is of no relevance.
After brainstorming on an idea, you should step away from the idea. Allow the idea to sit for a few days or a week. When you revisit the idea, you will be able to view it through a fresh perspective. Read through the idea again and gauge your reaction: is the idea actually good or does it just sound good?
Finding out that a potential business idea isn’t as good as you thought is not necessarily a bad thing because by virtue of this process, you would have saved yourself the time, energy and resources that would have otherwise be wasted on a mediocre idea.
b. Are you passionate about your idea
Is your idea pointing towards a business that you have passion for? If not, you may want to reconsider. The process of setting up and managing a business can be a long and precarious one. Your ideas should be in line with your goals, strength, time and the amount of risk that you are willing to undertake. Being passionate about your idea will help to get you through tough moments. Also, doing what you love can be incredibly satisfying.
c. Has the idea been taken?
Before you can proceed any further, you need to find out if your idea has already been patented by someone else, that is if the idea has already been taken by some other entrepreneur. If the idea is still free, then congratulations, but if the idea has been taken, then you need to look for a fresh idea.
Now that you have tested your idea to see if it will stand a chance, how then do you convert it into a real business? Here are a few tips that will help you to accomplish this task.
Turning a Simple idea into a Multi-Million Dollar Business – How to Do It
1. Draw Up a Business Plan
The first step to convert an idea into a business is to draw up a business plan. Your business plan should contain what your business is about or what it has to offer, goals you aim to achieve, how you intend to achieve the said goals, who your potential customers are and what strategies you have to entice them, among others.
A business plan serves as a road map on how you will start and ultimately improve on your business. Furthermore, a concrete business plan will assure potential investors or partners that you are serious, therefore giving them a reason to support you.
2. Conduct Feasibility Study / Market Research
Of what use is it to create a product that nobody wants? Undertaking a market research about a product will enlighten you on the demand (or lack of it) for your product, your potential competitors, the prevailing marketing price and what makes your product standout.
If the feedback you get is negative, then don’t take it personally. This may have just saved you from the losses you could have incurred. Additionally, you can adjust your idea in line with popular opinion to make it appeal more to the general public.
A market research can be carried out through a one-on-one interview, telephone interview, mail surveys, online surveys, online and offline questionnaires and focus groups. You can use one or a combination of the aforementioned to achieve an effective and efficient market research. It is best if your idea already has a broad market available for it because it can be easily scaled up in future owing to the demand.
3. Test Run the Product
Irrespective of the product or service you intend to sell, it is pertinent to give it a test run. Create a test product that is inexpensive, yet represents your idea. Give your basic product/prototype to friends and family members then gauge their reception and reaction to the product and adjust accordingly. Also, experiment with the various advertising channels that are available to find out which will give you the best result at the least cost.
4. Be Prepared
Entrepreneurship isn’t an easy venture and it is best to have this in mind. Unforeseen circumstances can occur and try to sideline you from your main objective. Make sure that you do your homework well and cover all the basics. Next evaluate your findings and make sure that you are physically and mentally fit to undertake the task ahead.
5. Choose a name and logo
When choosing a name for your product or service, it is best to choose a name that is memorable and aptly reflects your business. The name you choose must be unique and if the name is already taken, you will have to change to another name or buy the name from the original owner (that is if he/she is willing to sell). After the name has been chosen, then create a logo. You can create one yourself or you can outsource it to a professional. Go for a logo that is simple, professional and a representation of your business.
6. Execute the idea on a Small Scale
Having chosen a name, made all your research and modified the existing idea into something that is marketable, the next thing to do is to open shop. Don’t sit on what you have for so long trying to perfect it, rather, startup small and improve and upgrade on what you have. Learn to make adjustments where you notice that your product/service runs short and try to keep your customers happy.
7. Look Out for Feedback About your idea on Social media
Social media platforms provide one of the cheapest means of getting your product out to the world. The platform you choose will be dictated by your target audience. However, a Facebook page is a must have for all businesses or services.
Now that your idea has seen the light of day, it is easy to relax and bask in the ambiance of what you have created. However it is best to always want more like Oliver Twist. Never be satisfied with where your business is now. Always be on the lookout for ways to expand your business.
This could be by way of increased marketing, updating of your products/services, employing more qualified staff, training existing staff, going into partnership etc. Revisit your business plan from time to time and modernize it in line with the prevailing trends. Be on the lookout for investors and pitch to them in a way that will convince them that your business is worth investing in.
7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Turning an idea into a Business
i. Having so many ideas
Don’t be a jack of all trade. Instead of trying to bring all your ideas to fruition at once, focus your effort on your best idea. Go for the idea that is related to what you are good at and also what you like doing. Let your passion make the choice and then start one idea at a time.
ii. Waiting for an original idea
A lot of people feel that in other to set up a business you need to have an original idea. This is not necessarily true. An original idea is good quite but not all original ideas are profitable or viable. If you can improve or deliver a product/service better than your competitors, then that unoriginal idea will be profitable.
iii. Waiting for the perfect idea/time
An old Chinese proverb says that “the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago, the second best time is now”. The same applies to most business ideas. Your ideas don’t have to be perfect; they just have to be something that people are willing to pay money for. Irrespective of the economic condition of the country, opportunities always exist. You don’t have to wait for the right time because it will never come. Make your research and start out no matter how small.
iv. You don’t want to share your idea with anyone
Oftentimes, people keep business ideas they have to themselves because they fear that their ideas will be stolen by someone else. In reality, you should do the opposite. When you share your ideas with others, you will find out if they share the same passion you have and the same problem you are trying to solve. Gather their feedback on your idea and make the necessary adjustments.
v. Sticking to your first idea-: The first idea you come up with may not necessarily be the best so don’t fall in love with it just yet. After you have made your preliminary research about the idea, be open to change, modify or trash out the idea if need be.
vi. Focusing on all the wrong things
A lot of entrepreneurs spend their time obsessing about their competitors; trying to sabotage them to get the upper hand or just out rightly copying them. This is a very wrong approach. A business should be focused on the customers and not the competitors. Try to find out what your customers want. Meet their needs and exceed their expectations and your customers will keep coming back.
vi. Bad implementation: The best ideas can crash and burn if an entrepreneur fails to execute it properly. Half-baked research, dysfunctional products, hiring the wrong staff among other reasons can spell disaster for a business.
On a final note, birthing an idea can be a herculean task, but with the right amount of preparation, perseverance and discipline, you would be able to surmount the challenges and emerge with a viable business.
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