Ideas are a dime a dozen, but oftentimes, people never end up implementing them. Even the best ideas don’t mean anything if the (aspiring) entrepreneur doesn’t take the necessary steps to turn them into successful business ventures.
Why does this happen? There are too many reasons, unfortunately. Some don’t have the courage or determination needed to see them through, others don’t have the resources required, while others still are content with having the ideas remain in the abstract realm — a subconscious act, in a sense, to avoid failure.
In far too many cases as well, people who take the initiative and start a business find themselves unprepared and go on to spend their money chasing a dream that is simply out of reach.
After all, it takes considerable effort and investment in terms of money and time to start a successful business. This is true for everyone from corporate executives to solo entrepreneurs.
So what do you do when inspiration strikes you and you come up with a business idea? While each successful business follows a unique path, there are a number of fundamental strategies that can be duplicated by new entrepreneurs to successfully transform their idea into a successful business.
1. Identify a problem that your business can solve
Consider any successful business; when you strip it down to its basic functions, you will find that it solves a problem. Take this same approach with your idea.
It’s quite all right to get excited about the concept of providing solutions but before you proceed, identify a specific problem that your business can solve, and find out how this model compares with existing companies.
Look at how Amazon changed e-commerce by reducing cost and simplifying the process for consumers, effectively taking over its brick-and-mortar competition. It does seem effective, doesn’t it?
2. Identify your market
Find out who your ideal user is and use this knowledge to figure out exactly where your business fits in a sea of consumers. You will find that there are different types of consumers and that each demographic has its own unique problem that you can attempt to solve.
Remember that startups often struggle to get their audience to understand the product or service being offered, and if this happens, you may find that your business fails to take off. Communicate with your audience and take time to learn what their problems are and your idea can help them solve it.
3. Ask for help
If you look around, you will notice that only a few successful startups are founded by a single individual.
There are many reasons why solo entrepreneurs fail — and of course this doesn’t necessarily spell doom for your business.
However, knowing that business partners can help you in the early stages, it makes sense to bring one or more people onboard.
This has a number of benefits. For one, you will have a support base for when you need help, and also, you will have a sounding board for brainstorming your ideas.
From a marketing standpoint, it’s good to show that others support you and that you actually have a feasible and potentially lucrative and successful business idea.
4. Determine a source of capital for your business idea
As an emerging entrepreneur, the first stages of establishing your business will involve a lot of brainstorming and market research, all in an effort to offer sustainable solutions to existing problems in the market.
With so much pressure to innovate and to generate ideas, you might fail to establish a much more basic aspect of business: funding.
You have several options to raise capital — from self-funding and loans, to sponsors, investors, and financial help from friends and family. Depending on the nature and scope of your new venture, you might find a helpful source of capital through venture capitalists and investors who will back your project for a share of the profits.
But whoever you choose to work with, remember that each one presents risks and rewards.
5. Create a minimum viable product (MVP) first
It’s not recommended to invest all your money into a business idea without having some real-world knowledge than can help you make good decisions. An MVP can be a presentation or a sample of the product you intend to produce.
The general idea is that you develop something for potential customers to hold or experience, in order to measure the impact and validity of the product.
The MVP doesn’t even have to be an actual product; it can be as simple as creating a website that talks about the (potential) product and using it to test the waters, so to speak. With the website, you can gauge the market’s reaction to your product and whether it’s worth it to pursue.
Producing a website doesn’t need to be expensive now, either, since you can use a website builder like Bookmark.com where creating a professional looking website only takes a few minutes and a minimum amount of investment.
With the website, you can also develop a clear testing plan that takes into account current market conditions and user habits, and gather as much data as you can for the main launch. This can save you a lot of money if your product or service isn’t as successful as you had anticipated.
6. Learn how to sell your idea
Turning your idea into a potentially successful business requires you to make other people understand and believe in your vision.
Selling a vision is a lot like proposing change — but in this case, you have to define your value proposition clearly and outline ways in which revenue will be generated. Having good oratory skills and describing lofty ideas will not get you the support you need.
The important thing is to show how the venture will achieve financial results and you can do this using simple language that any regular person can understand. This skill usually comes into play when entrepreneurs try to sell their vision to potential investors.
Don’t wait until the last minute to brush up on your sales techniques. Start now and learn the best way to sell your idea to anybody who can help you move to the next level.
7. Learn to accept risks
As you move into the world of business, risk becomes a main component of growth and therefore a basic part of your venture.
Once you learn to accept risk as an opportunity to move or expand or try out new ideas, you will develop a new process of analyzing your goals and ambitions.
If you’re the type of person who always thinks of new ideas to solve people’s problems, go one step further and turn your idea into a succesful business.
Hopefully, this article has helped you in planning your next step. Don’t miss Part 2 of this series on accelerating your startup: How to Demonstrate Customer Demand for the Concept.