How to create your new business idea in 5 simple steps
If you’re at this stage right now, then lucky you. Coming up with the idea is the fun bit. It’s the stress-free part of starting your own business so relax and enjoy it!
It’s a time to be as creative as you like.
It’s a time when you can be completely open to everything.
So let’s not overcomplicate it. Sit down, grab a notepad and begin.
Staring at a blank sheet of paper: You may already have an idea for a new business, in which case the next step is to find out if it’s any good. Should you pursue or bin it?
If you don’t have an idea yet, then the next step is to work out what it could be.
So what does make a good idea?
Before we start there are a few very important things to remember:
Beware the e-myth: Starting your own business is easy. What is not easy is making it a success. Too many budding entrepreneurs fall into the same old trap and suffer the same old fate.
It’s an all too familiar cycle, which begins, with a period of excitement, boundless enthusiasm and over-confidence followed by overwhelm, exhaustion, self-doubt, despair and finally quitting, never to try again.
The idea is just the beginning: Coming up with a great idea is a moment of magic. It’s a very important moment, but it is merely a moment in the lifetime of your new business.
Ideas need protecting: Coming up with a great idea is a moment of magic, but it is an extremely fragile one. New ideas need protection. Not because someone might steal them but because well-intentioned feedback can be destructive.
Your embryonic idea needs protection from the limitations of others – especially your friends and family.
I think that, in the beginning, while it’s still naked to the touch and blinking in the sunlight, it’s best to resist the temptation to tell everyone you know about your idea.
“Everybody is too busy with their own lives to give a damn about your book, painting, screenplay, etc., especially if you haven’t finished it yet. And the ones who aren’t too busy you don’t want in your life anyway.” – Hugh MacLeod
Yes you’re going to need encouragement and emotional support as you progress, but do some ground work first.
Bed your idea down in some solid thinking and research and answer your own questions before you seek the opinions of others.
Bootstrap it: If you can do a task yourself, do it – especially in the beginning when budgets are tight. If you can’t, ask yourself ‘do I need it yet’?
Bootstrapping is the process of launching a business using only what you can afford with the skills you have at hand.
Everybody has one
Everybody has had an idea for a business at some point. In fact, if you think back, you have probably had dozens. The reason 99.9% of people never do anything with those ideas, or if they do they fail, is because they don’t know:
- What to do
- What not to do
- When to do it.
For a business idea to be successful there are a lot of different factors that need to come into play, here a 5 important ones:
Now is always a good time to start a new business but some ideas have their time in the sun!
Timing can be critical and getting that timing right requires foresight. According to Bill Gross founder of Idealab the single biggest reason why start-ups succeed is not your idea, your business model, your funding, or your team. It’s timing.
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. – Victor Hugo
I would preface this by adding that a badly executed idea is fundamentally flawed, no matter how good the timing.
Ask yourself: If your idea is time critical is it too early or too late? Are there any current outside factors beyond that could either hinder or boost the chances of your idea being a success? Trends, location, economy?
#2 Solving someone’s problem
Don’t be a solution looking for a problem.
“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”
A good way to do this is to start by looking at your own. Does it ‘scratch your own itch’? Meaning that, if you’re a potential user yourself, you know the problem firsthand, you know what is wrong with what is already available and you want to find ‘a better way’.
So what frustrates you? There may be a new business idea there.
However, don’t assume everyone has your problem and don’t assume your solution solves his or her pain.
Ask yourself: Does your idea solve a ‘real’ customer pain?
#3 Has it been done before?
You don’t have to be original.
We make it hard for ourselves by thinking that our new idea must be original, we think it must be something totally unique and something that’s never been done before, especially if it is to be successful.
In reality there are over 7 billion people on earth; over 65 million in the UK alone and more than 600,000 of those started a new business last year, so why do we feel our new idea has to be something no one else has thought of? ‘Talk about pressure!’
There is a lot to be said for looking at what is already in the market and improving and adapting something that already exists. If it has been done before that is no bad thing. Sometimes being the first can be a disadvantage. Each step you take is a step into the unknown. It is much easier to develop on an existing product or service. It means you can build on what works and avoid what doesn’t.
Ask yourself: Can I copy and adapt something that already exists in the marketplace?
#4 Know your customer
This may sound obvious I know, but many people launch their new business before they have clearly identified who their customer is and how to reach them.
Research, research, and research – I can’t say it too many times.
One way to do this is to build a profile of your ideal customer. The more you know about your potential customer the easier it is to talk their language and answer their need.
Smart entrepreneurs know exactly who their customers are and what they need. This understanding is absolutely critical.
What type of person they are:
- Motive to buy
- What do they read online
- What are their likes/ dislikes
- Where do they hang out on Social Media?
Don’t assume you know.
Ask yourself: Am I satisfied that I have fully researched my customer?
#5 Making sure it can be profitable and scalable
Without a decent profit margin your business will not survive and grow. There is no point working yourself into the ground building a new business that is never going to pay you enough to live comfortably.
Yes, you want to do something you enjoy but you need to eat and pay the bills too. You’re not in business to be poor.
Make sure your idea is scalable – it must be able to make money for you while you sleep.
Ask yourself: Is my enthusiasm clouding my judgement or can my new idea make me a living?