Although the internet and our ever increasing access to technology has fundamentally changed the way we live, do business and access goods and services, it’s the dramatic increase in our ability to share and validate ideas that has brought about the most incredible changes for those seeking to start businesses.
Never before have young entrepreneurs had access to the vast “collective brainpower” that is afforded to them by technology.
However if you’re a young entrepreneur who is still grappling with the thought of turning your big idea into a business, below are a few tips that I’ve discovered along the way that have helped turn my dreams into realities.
Test your idea
Run your idea by a few trusted friends or colleagues, especially those with knowledge of the industry your idea will be targeting. Set up a survey on Twitter or SurveyMonkey to get a sense of the general interest in your idea, and use tools such as Trendsmap and Market Samurai to determine the existing demand. Googling your idea will reveal any competition you may have and hosting a focus group or two is worthwhile if you can attract a large enough group. Before you start investing time and energy into executing the idea, it’s critical you keep testing and validate demand for your idea. Spending time and energy on this step will give you the insight into whether your idea is a million dollar idea or not.
Determine its value
One of the toughest tasks in business is pricing your products or services, but it is vital that you get it right. Start by researching what it will cost you to produce those products or services and be sure to take your time into account. If there are already others doing something similar, look at what they are charging, because if you plan on charging more you will need a good reason why. Keep your target audience firmly in mind as well, because unless they can afford your prices you will struggle to make sales.
Starting out with lower prices is a smart way to generate some interest and get people hooked on your idea. Alternatively, consider running sales promotions for a small group of customers to generate a level of virality around your product or service. Ultimately, the natural price level will become clear within the first six months of operation, but it is important to have a realistic pricing point(s) — based on competition and predicted cost per unit — so accurate modeling can be conducted in the planning phase, before you take your product to market.
Having a partner or two makes it a lot easier to get a new business off the ground, especially if you have very different skills, knowledge and connections. Make it clear what roles and responsibilities each of you will take on, as well as how you will make decisions and what you will be paid. For best results, partner with people who get along well with; however, even if you have been best mates for years put all agreements in writing.
Bust out the drawing board
Now that you know you are onto a good thing it’s time to craft that master plan! Will you fund the business yourself, ask your family for help or give crowdsourcing a go? Who will your target audience be and how will you convince them to buy from you? Where will you source materials from? Will you need to hire staff? Should you patent your idea? What about insurance?
All of these questions should be addressed and answered in your business plan. This document is a great place to start and build the actual framework around your idea but make sure that everything it contains is SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based).
It’s time to put those plans into action and to see if that brilliant idea of yours will fly because at the end of the day, you’ll be more upset thinking about the things you didn’t opposed to those that you did do.
Pull together the funds you need, get a designer working on your visual branding and start creating content for your website and online profiles. Spread the word through your various networks and as soon as you are ready to get busy, hold an attention-grabbing launch.
Surround yourself with great people, test everything and have a SMART business plan that you can stick by and draw upon down the track.
Adam Arbolino is the co-founder and CTO of online graphic design marketplace DesignCrowd.com.au.
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