Merchant Capital

Getting your business idea out of your head

You may have a brilliant business idea that’s been occupying space in your head that you’re hesitant to turn into a reality. Perhaps it’s in an industry you’re unfamiliar with, or perhaps it’s a passion of yours that you want to start making money from. Whatever your reasons, you shouldn’t let uncertainty stop you from achieving another goal of yours. So, let’s look at some steps you can take to get that idea out of your head and into the world.

What problem does your idea solve?

The most important step of all is to determine the problem your business idea will solve. Think about how you will help make people’s lives easier with your business idea. Clearly defining this will help determine who your target market is and how to communicate with them. This will help you build a solid foundation for your business because knowing your target market will identify other key components like feasibility, pricing and marketing.

You should also talk to trusted allies about your business idea. Ideally, these people should be your intended target market but even people who aren’t involved in your business can provide important feedback. Having these conversations with people you trust, will help you refine your business idea because you’ll get honest feedback. Ask questions like “Do you think this idea has potential?”, “Would you buy this product or pay for this service?”, “How much would you pay?” and “What would deter you from using a product/service like this?”. As brutal as they may be, the answers to questions like these will help you refine your idea into one that’s thoroughly thought out.

Market research

Once you’ve fleshed out your business idea, you need to do market research. Find out who are the key players in the space you want to occupy. What are the differences or similarities in your offering? How are the consumers of your offering changing the industry? What trends are your competitors following and what are experts forecasting? In your research, don’t forget to look at similar businesses that weren’t successful. Find out what happened so that you can avoid making similar mistakes with your business.

Lastly, try to identify any potential partners during this process. Partnerships are highly valuable, and you might find that there are companies that could use your offering as an add-on to theirs. This could alter your business idea so that you leverage their customer base instead of having to start your own.

Draft a business plan

If you make it to this step, then it’s safe to say that you’re serious about your business idea. This means that you see value in your offering and now it’s time for others to see it as well.  A business plan is vital because it crystalises the core components of your business and pushes you to think through and choose strategies that will help your business grow. A thorough business plan also documents the feasibility of your business and determines your financial needs. You’ll have to lay out how much capital you need and how you plan on using that money. You must also set milestones you’ll need to reach and ensure that they are achievable. It’s also during this process that you must be completely honest with yourself because a business plan will ultimately assess how attractive your business is to a potential investor. Perhaps you’ll have to partner up with more qualified or experienced people, perhaps your idea still needs more fine-tuning. It’s during this stage that these issues will have to be dealt with.

The bottom line

Every entrepreneur knows that running a business isn’t easy, it takes a lot of commitment and frequent sacrifice. You know how daunting executing an idea can be but you shouldn’t let perfectionism or fear stand in your way. Be methodical in your planning and that great idea that’s been living in your head may just be the next lucrative opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

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