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When you have a great business idea, the excitement will propel you into a frenetic launch. You are naturally eager to get it made and sell it and become the next Jeff Bozos or Elon Musk. Hold on a moment though. The statistics are sadly going against you. Almost a third of businesses do not make it past the first year, and half have failed within five years. The statistics are against you.
Of course, that does not mean your idea for a product or a business is not going to work. If it is a viable idea and you take the right approach, you could be well on your way to making millions within a few years, but patience is key here.
Let’s take a look at how you can take your concept and turn it into a great – and successful – business.
Research your market
You may believe you have come up with a failsafe idea, but will it sell? Many businesses begin operations only to discover that someone else had the same idea and had entered the market first.
Perhaps it is a totally unique product, but the future demand is so limited that you will never be able to profit from it in the long run. To ensure that your idea will truly meet a need, you must conduct a thorough market study of both your idea and the target audience.
Begin by performing a SWOT review on your plan. This is where you spend some time identifying all of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Get everyone who is involved in the business on it, or ask your friends, family, and associates to help you if you are going it alone.
You should speak with as many people as possible at this stage. Reach out to people on platforms such as Twitter and Linkedin – many people are receptive to cold outreach methods to talk about potential business ideas.
Expect some pushback because your idea is unlikely to appeal to everyone, which is fine. Some of the most audacious ideas were met with skepticism at first. The point is that you listen to a variety of perspectives and use the information to direct your research and preparation.
This should give you a better idea of whether your idea is worth continuing with and developing, or whether it is better off shelved for now.
Create a business plan
If your market analysis indicates that you should continue, the next move is to create a business plan. This should lay out all of your goals, financial forecast, and how you intend to grow your business. This will be especially vital if you plan to seek funding for your start-up from an external source or investor. The more detailed your business analysis and financial strategy are, the higher your chances of attracting funding.
Your financial plan, which forecasts how the numbers will add up, is an important aspect of the overall business plan. It should provide accurate projections of overheads, cash flow, revenue, profit/loss, and investment stages, which are typically forecast over three to five years. These statistics would, of course, be largely speculative, but they must be based on facts, so do your diligence.
Your business plan also needs to show how you are going to go about actually selling your product. Will you be simply manufacturing it and selling to distributors and third parties for them to sell, or will you bypass that and sell it directly? Both of these have pros and cons and should be weighed up carefully. If you are selling to consumers directly, you should have an idea of how to market your product, but these tips for DTC ecommerce are also helpful.
Find your place
Once you have worked out that there is a gap in the market for you and your product, it is time to find out exactly where that is and plant yourself there. You need to have your product and business elevator pitch ready – what exactly is it that you are offering customers with your product or service, and can you explain it in thirty seconds? This messaging is crucial, so test it out on your friends, family, coworkers – maybe even set up focus groups made up of your target demographic to see what they think.
Build your brand
McDonald’s. Google. Coca Cola. Disney. You recognize these brands immediately through their logo, color choices, slogans, and tone of voice. This is created through branding, and it is a key concept that you will need to be able to get your head around if you are hoping to create a successful business. Branding experts and professional marketers can be employed to help you, but you need to have that input if you want it to be authentic and true to your vision.
The importance of consistency cannot be overstated in branding. Your brand should be a constant reflection of your values, but it should also represent the values of your target audience. Consider your product or service as a human or an animal to help you build your brand personality.
Legalize your business
You have your idea, you have your product, you have worked out who you are selling to and how you are going to sell it, you have built your brand. Now it is time to formalize everything and legalize your business. You may want to seek professional legal advice to make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork and licenses in order.
When it comes to turning a business idea into practice, patience is a virtue. By following the steps above in the correct order, you should be able to avoid the pitfalls of building your business on shaky foundations. Most importantly, keep trac0 of what you are doing. Take expert advice and listen to constructive feedback. You never know, you may well be the next Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk!
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