Successful businesses can be triggered by a ground-breaking and innovative idea during a shower. It can also stem from a simple and even traditional idea, done with great execution. The business may thrive by tapping on an opportune moment to enter the market, or through engaging communication with customers. Regardless, the best business ideas will simply remain as ideas if concrete actions are not taken. Here are some ways to convert ideas into actual businesses.
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Asking yourself how likely the idea will work out is the first step to transforming ideas into reality. Here are 5 key questions to consider when you are evaluating your business idea.
1. Who is your target audience?
Identifying a target segment that will be interested to purchase your product and services is important. Visualise how they look like, and think of their purchasing power and lifestyle. Brainstorm ways that you can reach out to them, and what will make them choose you over others consistently. Ponder about how willing your potential clients are to spend on your offerings, how often they will use it, and what makes them tick. Essentially, you will need to sell your idea to this group of people.
2. What are the pain points that you are solving?
At its core, businesses solve issues. Figure out what problems your brand aims to solve, and see if the target audience thinks the same way. Consider how your customers will benefit from consuming your brand on a day to day basis. At the end of the day, you do not want to enter a market solving problems that do not exist.
3. What are your products and services?
At this stage, your product or service may not be perfect or flawless, and they do not need to be. When evaluating your idea, bear in mind that you have the option of adopting a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) once the business starts. Simply put, MVP refers to a technique to develop new products with enough functions and features to satisfy early adopters. The final product with full functions will only be developed after considering feedback from the early users. With that in mind, you can have a small-scale test launch to a selected group of users first to determine if your business will take off.
4. How much working capital do you need?
Starting up a business is no easy feat, and its initial start up cost can be suffocating. It is fundamental to have a mental map of exactly where and how you can secure enough capital to ensure sustainability. It can stem from your personal savings, friends and families, loans, angel investors and more. Evaluate the different means of securing funds before proceeding.
Planning provides a strong framework to prevent failure. When future-proofing your idea, ask yourself when you expect to break even. Consider possible retaliation from competitors in the short, medium, and long term. Explore the scalability of the business and think of exit strategies.
Get opinions from others
Regardless of how well your self-evaluation went, it is important to seek third party feedback. Often times, entrepreneurs with well thought out ideas may be overconfident and reject negative comments from others. To reduce the risk of overvaluing your idea, consult a business advisor or conduct some simple market research.
1. Consult a business advisor
Seeking advice from business advisors need not be an expensive endeavour. Grabbing coffee with a mentor, a friend, or loved ones can also be helpful. By speaking with people from various walks of life, you get exposure to different perspectives which you can then filter and think critically about. It will be even better if your social network consists of entrepreneurs, marketing experts, human resource managers, auditors, accountants, crisis communications executives and more. Picking at their brains at how things work and the secret keys to succeeding will give you invaluable knowledge.
2. Conduct market research
To ensure that your thoughts and personal evaluation are unbiased, market research should be done. A full-blown large scale research need not always be something that you can afford at the moment, but it pays to test the waters on a small scale using free online survey tools.
Tweak your idea
Following all the research and evaluation, you can now make changes to your idea to enhance it. Your idea should now be more feasible, sustainable and actionable.
Keep your chin up
Just because your idea seems like it will not work does not mean that you should beat yourself up and give up. It only goes to show that you have thought deeply about a potential business and that you can come up with ways to improve your propositions. You may need to rethink your target audience, have smaller scale phases when launching the product due to budget restrictions, or add points of differentiation to your product. Self-doubt will do you no good, so keep your chin up, push on, and keep trying.
Success is often fraught with failures. Put in the effort to thoroughly evaluate and validate your idea to bring it a step closer to reality. After all, if not now, when?
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