So, you’ve come up with a great idea for a brand new money-making scheme. It’s a game changer. Revolutionary even. And you can’t stop thinking about it. Everywhere you go you see opportunities for your business to flourish. You tell all your trusted friends. Your family are tired of hearing about it. You can hardly sleep because your mind just keeps rolling the idea around and when you do finally fall asleep, you dream about how amazing life will be when you do eventually unveil your Master Plan.
But what do you do with a great idea? How do you turn your night-time dreaming into a day-time reality?
Write it down
As simple as this sounds, the best place to start is to take some time out to write it down. Don’t judge the idea at this point, just write everything that comes to mind. By doing this you will find that you will get all of the main ideas out of the way and it opens up space in your creative brain for new ideas and angles to formulate. Draw diagrams. Sketch images and concepts. Have some fun with it. There will be plenty of time for refining later.
The power of a documented idea is that it takes the endless dreaming and starts to solidify the idea and give it some boundaries. As much as this may seem to remove the romanticism from the whole concept, until you give this idea some solid foundations you are never going to be able to get the build into construction phase.The power of a documented idea is that it takes the endless dreaming and starts to solidify the idea & give it boundaries. Click To Tweet
Something to think about that I found here – The Essence of a Business Model: http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/why-startups-fail/
- Can you find a scalable way to acquire customers?
- Can you then monetize those customers at a significantly higher level than your cost of acquisition?
A common pattern for anyone with a great idea is simply to just jump right in with no thought or consideration for any plan, detail, finance or future. Vast numbers of enthusiastic entrepreneurs leave their jobs and launch into their dreams. And honestly, I know how it feels to be held back. As soon as I sit down with a friend or a mentor and start ‘nutting out’ the various angles of my brain child, I immediately feel intimidated, very sensitive and extremely defensive.
The hardest part I have found when developing a concept is being able to separate yourself emotionally from the vision and take a good look at each aspect objectively. But this is essential. You need to be able to chop up your idea, trash the bits that don’t support your overall goal, remove the concepts that are going to just bleed your finances and then evolve your idea into its purest, strongest form. If you can get the foundations right and ease into the waters of entrepreneurship with clear strategy, open eyes and a well rounded plan, you will be basking in the glory of success in no time.Separate yourself emotionally from the vision & look at each aspect objectively. Click To Tweet
Separating emotion from strategy is an essential ingredient in successfully launching and scaling your business and in every part of the decision making process along the way.
Do the maths
The common question that immediately gets my back up and triggers my natural instinct to become defensive is this question – “Well, how is your idea actually going to make you any money?”
A knife to my heart. How dare they reduce my beautiful creation down to a dull boring concept such as how will it make money.
But the reality is that unless you are going to engage in a new and exciting hobby then this is the first and most important issue to address before you go any further. You probably won’t have all the answers at this stage, but you can do some market research. Find out how similar businesses make money. What model do they use? Is it monthly subscriptions? Do they offer a service for a per hour fee? Is it based around selling a product? Do a cost-benefit analysis to gather some solid facts together. I am no expert on these matters and generally seek advice, but you can read a little more about that here:
Cost Benefit Analysis – https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTED_08.htm
It is possible that once you have costed out your core business strategy that you may need to return to the drawing board to develop your idea a little further. This is not a step back and does not mean you should abandon the idea altogether. Being mature enough to look so closely at your idea in these early stages is actually a very positive step in the right direction.
Don’t shy away from the the conversation about your startup finances. Strangely enough most entrepreneurs have a strong desire to make a good amount of money and yet it seems to be the topic that is most readily swept under the carpet.
There is another really good article here: (no I am not sponsored by any of these sites!!) http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/will-business-make-money-29850.html
Getting the word out
Once you have developed your core concept and figured that you can make some good money, its time to think about how you are going to get your product or service to the people who matter – your target market.
The enthusiasm of an entrepreneur is such that they often forget that they need to then translate their vision into a language that their target market can understand. Break down your concept into bite-size pieces that are easily digestible. This means presenting your concept in such a way that your target audience are going to be able to understand it quickly, see the value in it immediately and engage with it effectively. Your audience should not need to read a 30 page thesis on how or why they should use or buy your product.
The best way to do this is to write down the following:
- Who is your target audience
- Why do they need your product – what does it do for them?
- Summarise your product/service in just one sentence that will grab my attention
- What is the main reason your product/service is different from the rest (this is your business’s unique selling proposition)
- What type of advertising medium is the main one that most of your audience engage with and are exposed to regularly? This will help you work out your marketing methods
- What is your budget for marketing?
- How will your branding reflect who you are as a business?
These are some good starting points to help you focus your marketing efforts in the right direction. When it comes to marketing, more is not necessarily better. Marketing is all about hitting your audience with the right message, at the right time and with the right medium. Saturation methods tend to cost a lot of money are are rarely effective.Hit your audience with the right message, at the right time and with the right medium. Click To Tweet
Focus your efforts and find a great team
For you to be able to develop your idea into a ground-breaking, world-shaking revolution, you are going to need to focus your efforts. Get your life in order as much as you can. Building a dream takes a lot of energy, effort and a collective effort. If you have a lot of other ‘life’ distractions vying for your attention you may find it difficult to get the momentum you need in the early stages of development.
And find some people to work alongside you who compliment your personality, your skill set and who are completely committed to helping you build the vision. People with passion are usually more valuable than those with a big university degree. People who are aligned with your vision won’t necessarily always agree with you all the time and aren’t there to be constantly ‘stroking your ego’. Having a supportive team of people who can bring new ideas, help you look at your idea and the various strategies objectively and stand with you when you need to make the hard decisions are priceless. Pay them well.
Photo credit: Alex Wong