Many small business models start with a great idea. Entrepreneurs typically get great ideas from one of two places. First, they have a light bulb go off in their heads one day, the classic “Ah Ha!” moment of inspiration. “Why didn’t I think of this before?” You know the moment; you’ve probably had them yourself. These kinds of moments gnaw at an entrepreneurs gut until they have to do something about it. It’s part of the crazy DNA of an entrepreneur. Second and most common, they work with a less than desirable situation for a long time wishing it could be better until one day they decide they will make it better themselves. You work away over the years in someone else’s company thinking “If this was my business, we’d do this differently.” Eventually, the pressure builds up inside until you have to start your own business or explode. For entrepreneurs, those seem like the only real options.
So you have a great idea, now what?
Start by making a plan. Put down on paper a description of your product or service and start defining your business model. In other words, identify your customers, your competitors, the size of your market, suppliers and partners, and your distribution methods. You’ll need to research the market in which you’ll operate to understand how business is typically done and what trends are driving the future. And it’s not that you can’t do things differently in your business. You can and should consider how to make doing business with your company easier than doing business with your competitors. However, if you’re going to reinvent the wheel, you need to understand how the market (i.e. your customers) will react to a different model. Just because your new way is better, doesn’t mean it will be accepted. People can get in a comfort zone and resist change. All these questions point to one activity that is critical for new businesses: research.
There’s just no way around doing your research. I write about doing research frequently. In the next post I’ll give a list of helpful research tools available for hopeful entrepreneurs.
For those who want to do it right, get my book Business Start-up 101: From Great Idea to Profit…Quick! It’s a how-to guide for entrepreneurs to take you from great idea, to getting yourself ready, proving your plan, and finally writing a business plan and getting funded. You can get it at my website www.BluePointStrategies.com or Amazon.