Everyone is searching for the perfect business idea. But what makes a business idea outstanding?
It’s amazing to get that light bulb moment that conceives a beautiful business idea which you can’t wait to launch.
But, is having a business idea all that matters?
There are thousands and millions of people with equally interesting ideas, but they never materialize into a successful business.
So, how can you transform your raw business idea into its final product, which is a successful business? Guess what? We’ll be answering that question in this post.
Now, let’s dive right into what you’re here for.
Here are the steps to refine your business idea:
BONUS (Discover your skills and capabilities.):
It’s important to find out more about yourself. Sure, that sounds absurd, “Find out more about myself?” But, yes. It’s a self-analysis stage.
In this stage, you take out time to discover your strengths and weaknesses as this will help you know what areas you may need help as a new business owner.
Since you’re starting a new business, chances are that you will be starting as a sole proprietor, with not much assistance from employees or business associates. So, finding what you’re capable of, and what you’re not, will go a long way in helping you know where you need to improve, what skills you need to develop, and more importantly, what special strengths you have as the rare weapon.
Take this instance, some proprietors have amazing abilities for business analysis, statistics, and paperwork. They’re fine with doing that for as long as necessary, but when it comes to interaction with others, that could make them uncomfortable.
On the other hand, there are upbeat, social proprietors who just love getting feedback from people but are less interested in paperwork and legal material.
Write Out ALL That Comes into Your Mind.
When people are starting a new business, their minds are bursting with ideas. So, what do you do with all those ideas? Whatever you do, don’t immediately dismiss them as silly. Instead, write them all down and don’t leave any out.
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc. once said: “those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that actually do.” That says a lot.
Instead of trying to dismiss stubborn ideas because they seem impossible to achieve, write them all out, and then, organize them. Arrange them into a layout that makes sense. Analyze them and work on them till you conclude on which ideas you’ll be sticking with, and which you’ll be saving for later.
WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO ACHIEVE WITH THE IDEAS YOU NOW HAVE?
Now, you have some ideas you can work with, but what is your target with these ideas?
ADD VALUE: First, you want to make sure that you’re creating value. Remember that you can’t force people to buy your goods and services, so every business that aims for the top also aims to create value in their products and services.
Let your target be for the goods or whatever service you’re offering to solve the need of the customers most spectacularly and satisfyingly.
FILL OUT THE BLANK: Nothing in life is complete yet. If you closely examine everything, you’ll realize that there’s still something to be modified or newly added. Same with your business. For whatever business you’re planning to establish, some things are just not there yet.
There are still new things to be added and modifications to be made and that’s great news because you still have a chance to be different no matter the intensity of the competition. This calls for innovation and creativity.
Channel your ideas into solving a problem or filling a void in your business field. Make that part of your goals.
GET FEEDBACK FROM PEOPLE AROUND YOU.
Were you wondering how to know what void to fill with your business? It’s simple- all you have to do is ask the people around you. Start with your family or friends.
Tell them some of your ideas and find out what they think about them. When they suggest something, think of it and decide if it should be part of your plans. If more than one person gives the same suggestion, then, think of it as a void you can fill with your business. Talking to people gives room for fresh ideas.
RESEARCH THE MARKET.
Do a thorough examination of the business you’re going into and how it works. People often jump into business and eventually cry their way out. This happens if proper research is not done. Ask suppliers, find out about details like, how different seasons affect the market, when people buy more, when sales drop, and so on. Also, draw up strategies to help you win during the tough times. Don’t presume that the business is simply going to work out fine. Do some research.
ANALYZE YOUR COMPETITION.
It’s unlikely that the business you have in mind is the first of its kind and that’s a huge advantage on your side. You can examine your competitors and pay close attention to their mistakes or failures.
As much as you can, find out everything about your competitors; how they offer their services, their strategies, their product or service loopholes and every other thing possible.
How can you do this?
Interact with customers: Directly interacting with customers will give you an insight into what voids can be filled with your business. Ask questions that will help you gain more knowledge of your competitors. Answers to these questions will also give you more ideas for your business.
Interact with your competitors: A good way of finding out more about your competitors is joining their mailing list. Go to their website and social media and check out what they do there. This strategy will help you see what they are doing right and what they are not. Also, you can temporarily be their customer. Buy from them, and analyze them yourself. Make improvements to your product based on what you’ve learned.
DO A BREAK-EVEN ANALYSIS
At the start-up stage, it is important to do a break-even analysis. A break-even analysis gives an idea of how much of your product or service you need to sell for you to cover your costs. With the information from break-even analysis, you know what your production and sales target should be and at what point you’ll be making a loss or a profit.
Doing a break-even analysis is tremendously important if you plan to run cost-efficiently.
SURVEY THE APPROPRIATE AUDIENCE.
Proprietors AB and AC sell mother and baby care products. They decide to survey some high school students to get information on how to improve their service. How appropriate does that sound? They’ll definitely get inaccurate results from the survey. That’s why you should survey the right audience.
There are many ways to get in touch with the right audience. Some helpful online tools are:
And so much more… Use these tools to find the right audience and give out effective surveys.
TEST YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE ON A SMALL GROUP.
The truth is, you never know how your product or service seems to customers if you’re the one judging it. This is why it is important that before launching, you give out samples of your product, to a small group. This will help you get the feedback that you need for you to improve on the final product.
TALK TO AN EXPERIENCED PERSON IN YOUR FIELD.
Get a mentor. The mistakes that most start-ups make can be avoided by speaking with experienced people who can share the ideas and strategies they have learned from their years of experience with you, and of course, the mistakes they’ve made and how you can avoid them.
Learning never truly ends. Nobody knows it all just yet but to grow your business idea into a successful business, you’ll need to take action.
As you follow the guidelines I’ve written out for you in this post, keep researching and innovating, you’ll make steady progress from the start-up stage.
Remember, you don’t have to know it all to begin, apply the steps in the guideline, keep researching as you’ve just done, and you’re set.
Do you have some extra tips to share? Comment below.
Esther Alu, the Founder of TheAceBusiness.com is an entrepreneur who writes step-by-step guides for starting several business ideas. She is constantly learning and discovering effective ways to help her readers launch and grow successful businesses.