So you're thinking about starting a business or expanding what you already have; you have an idea and think you can make it a business. I can use this time to help you out and say how you should file your business name; preach that location is everything; or talk about maximizing profit margins, but let's be honest, you can get this info anywhere on a quick search on Google. I want to focus on what makes the difference between a failed idea or a successful generational business.
● Solving a problem; that people actually care and will pay for
A service or a product idea is great if it first, solves a problem; and second, brings value that is supervenes the cost. Let me diverge, somebody may have an idea to create a product that ties your shoes laces, but the average consumer will simply not purchase because the competition of using your own hands is a much lower cost, there fore you have not provided any value. However, the same idea in the context of carpel tunnel patients that struggle to tie their shoes and are limited to shoe styles because of their situation, creates real value.
● Verify customer market
This is where the number game comes in, how many customers multiplied by the price of your service minus your operating cost. This is a topic of exponential depth, but there is a quick way to gut check your idea. Is there competition? If there is, good; at least there is some proof a business can survive. If there is competition, use their service or buy their product. The more you know about your competition the better you know how to be different. If there is not competition, move on; everything has competition. If you are bringing value and solving problems, customers are using other products or creative ways to solve it in their lives.
● Disrupt exposure; be different
Almost always, the missing link between a good idea and a successful business is the connection between the company and the customers. Everybody is on Facebook and going to mixers and e-mail blast; but everybody is yelling and trying to grab the customer's attention and guess what; no one is listening. Watch your competition and your customers, find out how you can be different. Instead of continue to ask for your customers attention on Facebook through some automated message that says thank you, call your customer from last week to thank them and when can you expect them again. If you're a restaurant you could send out a recipe to your customers to cook at home for their friends and family, when your name may come up, when their guest ask about the dish. There are infinite ways to stand out.
● Make sure you can go the distance
Starting a business is a marathon not a sprint. Having one great idea for a single service or single product rarely supports a business for any period of respectful time. Many small and start-up businesses start with an idea but pause and think what does one, five, or ten years look like to you if you had to guess. Your answer will vary depending what your strategy is, it could be a sustainable business, it could be to patent and sell off to an existing company; the fact is the way in which you build the business must compliment your vision for the future. Not having a plan means you do not have a business; you have essentially built a boat with a gaping hole that will struggle to survive.
Now obviously, there is much more to running a business but once you can mark these items checked off your list, the better you're set up to start a business. If you do not have all the answers now, it does not mean the idea is dead, it just means you are not looking at it from the right context. Bring value to customers lives and solve a problem while being authentic in your approach and give it a go.
If you have an idea to kick around and want to start a business, contact us direct and let's see if you can get this idea off the ground - firstname.lastname@example.org