The prospect of setting up a new business, particularly if you have no experience in this field, can seem daunting. Turning your idea into a viable and successful business is a tremendous opportunity, it involves risk but if you implement some sound business advice your new venture can be highly rewarding.
""Turning your idea into a viable and successful business is a tremendous opportunity"
Given the financial and emotional risk involved, entrepreneurs on the brink of starting out should be asking some difficult questions of themselves and their idea; is this really worth the risk? Am I the sort of person to be able to run a business? and perhaps most importantly; is my idea any good?
Incubox has prepared the following helpful tips for aspiring entrepreneurs to consider when assessing the viability of their idea.
1.Make a list
If you are considering starting a business, begin by putting your ideas down on paper to clarify your thoughts and document your key assumptions about your business idea. You can skip the formal business plan initially and simply put together a one page summary covering the following important points.
Why are you doing this? Do you have a mission? Any new business needs some sense of purpose. Is your business idea designed to improve people’s lives in some way? What sets your business apart from another who might be trying to do the same thing? You should be able to succinctly identify your USP (Unique Selling Point).
What problem is your idea solving?A successful idea usually comes from the need to solve some sort of real problem that exists in the world. If your idea doesn’t solve an existing problem, how are people going to use or buy your product or service? You should identify who exactly your audience is, knowing your potential customer and how to find them is critical to starting a successful business.
Who is your competition? What choices do your potential customers currently have in your market sector? Research your competition and be clear how your business will address customers’ needs better.
How are you going to make money? Although you needn’t worry at this stage about detailed financial forecasts, you should be clear about how your intended business model intends to generate money and where your profit margins lie.
2.Do your research.
You may staunchly believe in your new business idea but the next step is to talk to your potential customers, a step many entrepreneurs neglect. By ignoring this step, you raise your chances of failure so get out and talk to people.
Show a prototype of your product to your prospective customers, or at least some images and if you’re offering a service, try and describe the results your service would deliver. When you run your idea past potential customers, you are essentially testing the key assumptions you set out in your draft business plan so make sure you gauge opinion on whether they think you’re solving a market need and what they think of your idea.
"It is important to acknowledge those who don’t like your idea and accept their negative feedback"
Take a wide cross section of potential customers to ensure you obtain varied points of view and don’t forget to listen…use the opinions you receive to update and tweak your idea where necessary. It is important to acknowledge those who don’t like your idea and accept their negative feedback as this is often more constructive in shaping your product or service.
When starting a new business venture it’s tempting to go in all guns blazing hoping to build a complete business as you always imagined it would be, you want it to be perfect after working so hard and selling your vision. However it is far more sensible to start small, constantly obtaining customer feedback and using it to tailor the company’s growth.
The advantage to starting small is that you can change direction faster and react to customer feedback quicker than a larger competitor might. The ability to pivot more quickly is more valuable to your long term success than trying to get everything perfect the first time.
The key to ensuring you have a good idea that will grow into a long term successful business is to stay flexible. The best business owners leave their ego at the door and remain open to customer feedback. Listening and considering alternative ideas.
This ultimately creates flexibility which will allow your company to adapt as you develop, and change direction where needed. You need to be aware of trends in your market and be prepared to alter your business to meet changing needs. It may be that your customer base changes as your business develops for example, you find yourself moving towards big businesses and this might mean you need to adjust your pricing and marketing to reflect the change. Remaining flexible will ensure your company’s success.
Most successful businesses come from personal experiences merged with passion, it’s an important component for many reasons. Whilst it is a completely subjective matter because everyone likes different things, it is important that your business idea gets your heart pumping.
"The most successful business owners are passionate about their idea"
Many company founders either have a passion for running businesses or simply love running a particular business based upon something which they are interested in personally. Whilst it is true that many entrepreneurs do start businesses in industries where their specialty doesn’t lie and still make money, the most successful business owners are passionate about their idea and their company. Subject matter expertise is a tremendous asset which in most cases is a crucial aspect of creating a successful business.
Navigating this minefield when setting up a new business is difficult, and in addition you need to think about how you will finance these early stages and how to secure future investment.
Incubox can provide financial support for fledgling entrepreneurs and business start ups and help with planning and budgeting. We can guide you through the initial development of your idea and introduce you to crucial contacts in the business world. Incubox mentors entrepreneurs and early startups, nurturing innovative ideas which grow into successful companies.
If you would like further advice on the viability of your idea, follow the link to the contact form where you can confidentially share your idea and receive feedback from experienced business owners.