Everyone has a great business idea at some point - a clip to hold the toilet seat up, a phone app full of pick up lines, or maybe a cricket bat with a bigger sweet spot. Whatever the wacky potential of these ideas, very few actually make their way to market, says Alex Brophy of Kochie's Business Builders.
"Now what?" the would be entrepreneurs say to themselves, "I'd love to ditch my day job, but where do I start getting my sweet idea sold?"
And it's a real pity because there's probably a market for all those ideas and a lot of the other seemingly harebrained side projects people come up with. But no more, it ends today. These crazy ideas can be kept in the cupboard no longer.
To help put an end to the waste, here are 7 easy steps to turn your next good idea into a great business. Or at the very least, see if it's got any legs.
Stop talking about it - People who talk about their ideas before acting are usually the same ones who don't do anything about them. The talking gives a sense of taking action without actually doing anything... So stop talking about them.
Think through all the angles - Look at the idea through an investor's eyes. Who's the target market? What problem is being solved? What resources will be required to get it off the ground? What's the business roughly look like? The best way to cover off these bases is by going through a business plan template. There are a gazillion of these things available for free online.
Test it - You need to figure out early in the piece whether the idea will work, otherwise move on to the next one. But this is more than just running it by your mates - ask a sample of your target market whether they would pay for the privilege of your product. You can always refine it, but whether people will pay for it is the real test.
Fossick amongst feedback - People will usually tell you straight away if you've got something good and anything they don't like about it. This is valuable stuff, so after discussing the product with the target market and some people who know the industry, respond to their feedback by making any necessary changes to the business plan, product and plan of attack.
Find some support - Very few start-ups are solo efforts, so find a partner. Business partners are a hugely beneficial source of support from acting as sounding boards to proving your product to others. But don't stop there. Forge a support network of entrepreneurs that will help you along the way. Pick their brains and learn from their successes and failures. Local meet-ups are great for this.
Figure out finances - By now you know the ideas good, the market's hungry and have a solid plan of attack. You also know it's going to cost money to get to market. Look at all the options: self-funding, family loans, bank borrowing, government grants, credit cards or even angel investors, and weigh up the best alternative. Know that each has its unique risks and rewards and set about securing the capital you require.
- Make the minimum product - There's no point spending months perfecting What you think is the ideal product. Get the minimum viable product together and get it to market. If there's appetite for the basic version of whatever it is, you can improve on it in the next batch. Until you test the market for real you're flying blind, but if there are bites you could soon be flying high.
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