How to turn your idea into business/startup?
I am trying to understand ways to take my idea and turn into business. Everyone has ideas now a days and I understand the execution is the key here but how do I move from idea till execution. How do I ensure that customers will like and pay for the services? Is something already exists? How do I monetize it ?
I am sure I am not the first one to have this issue but unable to find anything.
Welcome to the notion of being in business, have an idea, want to make money from it... FABULOUS! Here are the first things that come to mind in this kind of situation.
- Research - What else is out there like your idea, how do they do what they do and what can you learn from and or improve on that?
- It's about money... - How much money do you want to make once everything is taken care of? So if you take all the risks, develop the idea, create the business etc... In efect you will be the CEO, how much should you get paid? and how many units of what you will offer, will give you that amount of money with ease. Calculate that, and think about how that might work out for you... I don't want to put you off, but you might just need to re think that figure at the start and go for small beginnings, so how long will it take you to get to the point, it might be a few years and at some point you need to make some extra than that figure to make up for the early lean time/s.
- Will people LOVE your idea? -Enough to buy it, you might love it, your firnds and family might LOVE it too, but who is buying and what do they want in what you have to offer?
Then there was a guy who wanted to make mini indoor fountains, the cheapest he could make one for at the time was $80... He soon figured out thaty were selling in two $$ shops for MUCH less than that. He also figured out he didn't figure in any profit!
Explore, test, research, ask LOTS of questions. in short GET SMART about business.
Generally I find that eople wnat to hide their idea and not share it for fear that someone wants to steal it and do something with it and leave them out of the equation. I have a friend who is an inventor, he has signed HEAPS of confidentiality agreements with other inventors withthe aim of helping them make a start... the challenge was though, he soon figured out they didn't have anything overly new to set them apart, on a few occasions he tore up the confidentiality agreement in front of them. "Sorry buddy you have nothing new..."
Business is a fascianting 'organisim' and I wish you well in giving it a go. If you want a book to get you started, get the e book called Simple Business, by Steve Gray ;) it's got all you need to explore your idea and go the next step.
Thanks everyone for the detailed reply and I really appreciate that. Some of the points you have mentioned have already been taken care while I still have to work on others.
My product is digital which is def going to help customers though it will be free for them. It's a marketplace similar to hi-pages or service-seeking but with unique offering and I will be focusing on specific market only. Though companies like Airtasker, hi-pages, service-seeking all have offering in the market I am looking to target. My concern is that those companies are quite big and have lot of cash flow while I am just starting out so not sure if it's good idea to stand against those. Additionally, if customer likes my product and see value it won't take much time for big brands to incorporate my unique offering (Though I am not too worry about that at this stage)
I've discussed my idea with my friends and family and I know their market knowledge is limited but nevertheless they like the idea and ready to invest in this. I will def be discussing with business coach/mentor (which I am currently looking) to get their inputs as well. Though I am quite excited about the idea but at the same time I am also nervous too as it requires lot of efforts and money to spread the words and get people to start using it.
Hey @Amit Batra , @Steve Gray made some great points to keep in mind. I’ll build on some of his comments and give you a bit more direction on items from a designer and product development perspective.
- If you have an idea are you aware of any businesses (competitors) that make something similar? I hope the answer is yes. If you answer “No”, there are several concerns. The first concern is that you haven’t really thought about all potential competitors (direct, indirect, supplemental, replacement, etc.). If you have thought about different types of competitors and you’ve come up empty, there is a high likelihood that there is no market (no customers to support the idea). All of these items can help validate whether the idea is worth turning into an actual product or service.
- What is your point of difference (compared to what other businesses are offering)? Although there is generally a market for “look-a-like” products, generally any company without a strong unique offering, you’ll struggle to build loyal customers (why wouldn’t they abandon your product for a competitor’s that is less expensive or built with better materials, etc.). A unique offering gives potential customers more compelling reasons to buy.
- Who is your audience? Please don’t say “everyone”. That is a terribly hard position to have and be profitable. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it is easier to sell something specific (to a smaller group of people) than trying to market something generic. Example, many people need a vehicle to get a round, but some customers purchase a truck instead of car. Customers have different needs.
- Prototyping is key. Prototyping simply means creating an early version of your product to test the market. If you have never heard of the Lean Startup approach, please take some time to look it up. The essential idea is building a quick, low-cost version of your product or service that will still provide value to customers and see how they react. This method can be used to gauge interest, validate if you are providing enough value, and a way to build a list of potential customers. If you are building a digital product, consider creating a landing page where users can read some of the benefits and sign up to get updates. If you need to test a digital product or service that is interactive, there are several low-cost or free ways to create a clickable walkthrough of you idea. If creating something physical use materials you already have to create what you can by hand. I could expand on this topic for quite awhile.
- Be open to feedback. This is key in two important ways. The first, when you are showing the early version of your product or service to potential customers, really listen to what they are saying and make adjustments to improve the value of your next version (improved with feedback). The second is I highly recommend finding a mentor (whether through your professional network, a governmental service, or paying to work with one - all are valid approaches). A mentor, like potential customers, can help you see ideas from different perspectives.
- Are you excited, passionate or greedy? This is a hard question to answer honestly, because we all want to make money from our ideas. However, the reason answering this question is important is because starting a business has ups and downs like a rollercoaster. If you are only excited, you’ll likely experience a hard time and want to quit (or actually quit) before making any profit (or at the minimum learning from mistakes before striking out into the next venture). If you are greedy (just starting the business to get rich), you’ll likely cut a bunch of corners trying to get to market quickly and encounter problems that make your business unsustainable for the future. Typically people starting a business just for the money don’t care about the quality of their product or service nor do they really value their customers. If you answered that you are passionate, you’ll be the most likely to succeed. Passion is similar to excitement, but passionate people power through the hard times. Passionate people want to create the best solution for their customers because they are really trying to add value.
- How do your product, your price, and your customers align? You need to set your price based on the niche you are exploring. You can buy a watch for a few dollars or several thousand. The difference is in the accuracy, the materials, durability, reputation, target customers, and definitely the branding. If you aren’t converting sales, perhaps your value is misaligned to your customers or the price point is off. But getting feedback and tweaking your offering is the only way to know if potential customers will respond differently.
I actually do know where you're coming from on this one. Big business does have a major advantage in having large advertising budgets, but on the downside they are less agile and this is where smaller business can gain a foothold.
You only have to jump onto any one of your local Facebook groups to see how many individuals out there are actively looking for local service provider recommendations to know that there's something that they're missing in their offerings.
My suggestion in this scenario, would be to try and source a solution that is somewhat 'out-of-thebox', and keep your initial overheads low whilst you are establishing if there is a market for your service. Rather than spend a lot on customised software solution for example, is there something out there in the marketplace that is already setup to help match customers with services that you can launch with sooner and at low cost?
You could start locally, which would also keep your marketing costs down, and use this to gain valuable feedback and find out what the people really want and, as others have mentioned - test, re-test and then test some more.