At some point everybody gets ideas. In fact, we have all had ideas that we wished to turn into businesses. However, having an idea in itself while is still a great thing, it’s not a guarantee that a business can be made out of it. If a business can be made out of it, knowing how to go about it is quite a challenge for anyone who has not started a business before. As a beginning entrepreneur, how do you turn an idea into a booming business? These tips below should help you figure that out.
1. Research the market
Knowing a lot about your soon-to-be market is very important. You need to conduct a very thorough research about your market in order to know what customers want, what has been provided and what hasn’t. You also need to know how to build a product that takes advantage of the weaknesses of competitors in the same field. Building a new product without undertaking market research is a failure waiting to happen. Furthermore, research is the only thing that will show you if your product is a new idea or not, in which case whether it’s new or not doesn’t matter. More on that later.
2. Find potential customers
Be open about your idea to people that might want to use the product. These people are probably going to be your first customers. Finding the very first customers just before you embark on building the product is a very strategic way of setting up yourself to get initial customer feedback. Talking about your idea to the to-be customers is also a nice way of finding out if it really has a market.
3. Execute fiercely
This is where we get into more about whether your business idea is totally new or not. As I said earlier, it doesn’t matter. If it is new well and good, but that’s not a guarantee for success by any means. If it isn’t a new idea and there are companies making a killing out of it, it’s a good sign that there is a market for your idea. However, what matters most is the execution. How you execute your business idea will make you the next big thing, or break you. In short, Facebook was not the first social media network, it wasn’t even Zuckerberg’s idea anyway; but how it was executed was merciless, killing other competitors like Hi5 and Myspace. Online course offering company Udemy wasn’t the first with that idea, Coursera and several other companies offering the same already existed. Dropbox didn’t invent the cloud idea, Google was doing it and so was Microsoft and more than a dozen other companies, but Dropbox executed their idea better than most of those companies and is now a powerhouse in the business.
4. Develop an Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for initial feedback
5. Be Patient
Patience pays. Especially in business. You don’t want to rush things. Don’t rush to get 1 million customers, if you are marketing well, and building something that gets customers hooked, you will get there but it will take time. If you lose your patience with the speed of growth of your new business you could end up losing everything. Be patient and wait for your big break.
6. Listen wisely to customers
Listening to customers is one thing. Listening wisely to customers is another. I’m referring to the latter and it means taking feedback and suggestions with caution. Calculate the risks and analyse if the feedback is good for your product. Whether it is a hardware or software product, it’s you who knows what direction you intend to take. When a customer isn’t okay with your product it is okay to let them go and stick to your intuition. There is no problem with losing one or two customers when you are strong on the belief of your company’s direction. The only problem is losing one too many. Whatsapp’s initial users wanted more features, but the founders just wanted a mobile messaging app. They stuck to their gut, and that gave birth to a $19 billion cash-out when Facebook bought the company.
7. Go to conventions
If you are a coding person go to hackathons and other crazy places where developers go to hack things and build apps. If you are developing a hardware product say for a hospital, go to conferences where you will get to interact with people in the medical field including medical doctors and other practitioners. When people get to learn about your product from you, it becomes easier to adopt it or give you their opinion about it. Landing more customers and creating PR for a startup works very well when it is the founder doing it by putting your face and name on your product; not by hiring a PR firm.
8. Stay Employed
While you may be having some saved-up cash in the coffers, it is advised to not quit employment just to pursue your business idea if you are already employed. At least not sooner. Your idea will take time to become the ideal business, so for the time being you might as well just run it as a part-time gig. Once it has picked up, you can quit your job and undertake it full-time. Being employed teaches you a lot about how your seniors make decisions, conduct hiring interviews, manage the sales group and the budgets as well. It’s always good when you can learn from people who are already reaping profits from their companies so that you know how to build yours when you go into it full-time.
9. Let go if it doesn’t work out
Repeating the same thing and getting the same results is a virtue of the foolish. Learn when to let go if your idea didn’t turn out to be the great business you anticipated. After all, you learnt, and learning from mistakes is how great people became great. If you have worked your fingers to the bone for years trying to get this business to stabilize and start making some serious cash yet it hasn’t, maybe it’s time to stop trying and move on to other business ideas you might have.
Would you like to add something to this topic? Let us know in the comments section below.