Entrepreneurship : How to TurnYour Idea into a Business
By Shani Asokan
We live in an age where setting up a small business can take just a few simple clicks. Setting up an online store or business is easier than it ever has been, and more and more people are taking advantage of this to go into business for themselves. As a young person, this holds a certain appeal, what’s better than being your own boss? However, there are a number of factors to be considered if this business is to be successful. The first of these is how serious you are about this new venture. You may be inspired by an idea you scribbled on a piece of scrap paper during a particularly boring class or meeting.
That’s just the spark. If you are to turn this into a full-fledged business, that requires a certain level of commitment. Another factor is time. Though most small businesses do not require a lots of time, you would have to think about how many hours a day you are able to dedicate to running your business. This is especially important if you have other commitments like school or other jobs. Once you’ve considered your options and are ready to move forward, approaching the project in a step by step manner will help you figure everything out down to the smallest details.
You’ve come up with an idea for a business and that’s great. However, before you move forward, it’s important that you do some research and make sure your idea is an original one. Some preliminary research will show you if there are other similar businesses out there. This is will also show you the market for your particular product. Further, reaching out to someone with business experience may also help at this stage, as they can help you evaluate how much of a market your product is likely to have. Another strategy to seeing how profitable your venture will be, is to take your idea and strip it down to its core function. What problem is your product or service trying to solve? Every business at its core is solving a problem. You just have to figure out what problem yours it trying to solve. Perhaps the problem is a food item that’s not readily available in your area. Then, by producing this food item and selling it, your business is meeting the potential demand for this product in a specified area.
The next step in setting up your business is identifying your customer base. Who is your ideal user? Identifying your target market is vital to the success of your business. Who does your product or service most appeal to? Are you planning to sell to men, women or both? Is your product more suitable for young people or seniors? What level of income would a person have to have in order to purchase your product? These are all things that need to be considered in identifying your target group. Another factor is whether people are willing to pay for the product or service you intend to sell.
Is it available elsewhere for free? Can they obtain it for a much cheaper price? The answers to these questions may not necessarily stop you from going ahead with your business. Instead, they provide useful data that you can use in formulating your business strategies. Creating a general profile of your potential customers inclusive of age, gender, location, disposable income, interests, cultural background or other factors relevant to your product or service can help you identify your market and set up your brand accordingly.
A little help from a friend
Going into business alone can be daunting. Many start-ups these days are run by a small group of people, and this model has several benefits. With business partners you are able to pool your knowledge and experience together. You will have the support you need, and a sound board to bounce ideas off of. Often, some perspective outside of your own can make an idea better. Constructive criticism is a good thing!
Naming your business may seem easy at first, but it can actually be quite difficult to find a name that is freely available for you to use. Finding a name that has not been licensed by someone else is essential when it comes to registering your business. You can check if your business’s name is unique by doing a quick search on the government’s business registration website and by web searching the name to see what comes up.
Once you’re done with your research, you will have to see if your product or service is financially viable. Creating a ‘bottom up’ financial model can help you figure this out. This model focuses on how your product or service is created, marketed and sold to an individual user. Tracing these steps will help you understand how your business will function. Once you have down this, you can create a ‘top-down’ model that will focus on the size of your market and what goals you need to reach in order to make a profit. Once you are satisfied that your product or service is indeed financially viable, you can begin planning out the first phase of your business. Keep this plan simple, outline your main ideas and strategies and map out your mission, objective, target market, competitive advantage and other basic elements. This plan will be the foundation for your business and will help to make sure everyone involved is on the same page.
For a small business, it is likely that you won’t require a big budget to start off. However, for any business, you will need to allocate some money for the absolute basics, to get your business off the ground. This will like be for your initial purchase of raw materials, labels, packaging, advertising and other such expenses. If you don’t have the money on hand, there are a number of ways you can secure it, like looking for investors, obtaining a small business loan or setting up a crowd-funding page. Regardless of your source, it is always best to do a risk assessment, outlining both the rewards and risks of obtaining your capital this way.
Whether your business is an online business or not, today, a strong social media presence is what will drive your business forward. This can be intimidating, but once you have made your account on platforms of your choosing, there are a number of resources just a few searches away to help you will all things online marketing. These guidelines will help you with the simplest tasks like photographing your products and writing captions to the more daunting ones like market analysis and Search Engine Optimisation.
Getting a business off the ground can take time and effort. While you put in your level best, you will also need some patience to start seeing results. So, while you wait, keep a positive attitude and leave the selfdoubt at the door.