You’ve realised you want to swap the jailers. And perhaps the online business idea incubator is tickling your fancy. But what else can you do before you make that all important investment in your entrepreneurial future?
Run this little checklist! The aim of the game is to move away from the kind of thinking that impedes an ideas growth and get you ready for the hard yards ahead.
While some entrepreneurs have made an absolute fortune looking at overseas trends and spotting the next wave, there’s a lot more to it than bringing someone else’s idea to a different shore.
There are subtle differences in culture, how we respond to technology, significant differences in audience characteristics, and a whole host of other influencing factors when you try to localise that aren’t always immediately apparent.
Instead of looking to copy an idea, you need to consider your market and your audience. Try and spot the trend around the idea and see if you can anticipate how people would respond.
And most importantly, think about how you can improve on what is already available.
Make it your own business idea. Put your damn stamp on it.
This is an extremely common attitude in blogging turned business and fan based ideas. We look at someone successful and think “well, I could do that!”
It’s not that simple.
You don’t know if someone has been slogging away at it for years. Or if they were lucky enough to catch the first wave of interest and ride it to a successful conclusion.
Often people who make it look easy usually work the hardest.
So before you jump on an idea, do your research. See if there is room for you to compete, outline how you propose to do it, and ask yourself hard questions like “do I have the time” and “am I patient enough to pull this off”.
Know what it takes to make your business idea fly.
Business really isn’t a place to be allergic to money. If you want the ability to put your stamp on the world, you need to make it sustainable. Sustainability in a business sense is ONLY achieved if you know where the money is going to come from.
A business that has no idea where the money is going to come from (hint: it comes from customers) is not a business.
While it may be your principles that drive your business strategy, in order to be able to keep doing what you do, you need to know how to fund it. And that means funding it outside of donations, sponsors, Angels and your Mum.
Money is essential to making your business idea work.
You have to get comfortable with cash.
Nice to have items don’t make a bundle. They rarely make a living. And they are so cute and warm and fuzzy that they blind us to these facts, usually with dire financial consequences. Nice in business leads to beige decisions and prolonged pain.
You need to solve a problem and the more annoying the problem, the better.
Work out how your idea solves a problem for another person and you’ll have a far stronger and useful idea on your hands.
We don’t want nice, we want kick arse. We want a business idea we can really get behind.
Look for the wow factor.
Then get a side project, because there’s no room for you in the business world.
I know that sounds terribly harsh but here’s the reality-
Startups, solopreneurs, small business owners and freelance mavericks all work their backsides off.
Yes, there is a certain amount of flexibility associated with being your own boss, and there are some very nice perks you don’t get working for a wage.
However, these perks and flexibilities are traded in sweat, blood, long hours, cancelled catch ups, money worries, and moments of doubts that could swallow a T-Rex whole.
The freedom is the fruit of that labour. And you will have to till a lot of soil, plant something amazing and do a lot of tending to get to that fruit.
Be prepared for hard work if you’re going to make your business idea work.
All great marketers and product developers know this phrase- “A product for everyone is a product for no one” – and we live by it.
Yet, it’s easy to fall into the trap of confusing popularity for universal appeal. In audience terms, critical mass is entirely different to everyone. The smart business people know critical mass is obtained by creating a step by step process of winning over customers.
It means you start small with a strong focus on winning over a particular customer set. And as your grow, you gain more and more momentum based on that customer set sharing you with others.
You have to know who to target in the first instance in order to drive the adoption further.
Focus on your ideal customer.
Tyler Durden in Fight Club said it best – You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.
Keep meditating on that until it sinks in.
You DO have competitors because even if you have a new solution to an old problem, someone somewhere is using something to make do.
For example- say you want to create a brand new style of business coaching, it’s not just the coaches you need to consider.
You have to think about the other ways people up their productivity. Look at ways they stay focussed. Look for the behaviours they engage in to get through the day.
Your competitor might be a coach, a mobile app, hand-written to do lists, therapy, beta blockers, and any number of positive and negative coping mechanisms such as exercise, drinking, spending and so on.
It’s up to you to present a proper alternative to these solutions. And you will only be able to do that if you know what the solutions are.
Know the market. It’s the foundation of a strong business idea.
More than 50% of businesses have failed within 4 years.
3 out of 4 startups fail.
Taking the time to examine your idea will help you minimise that chance of failure in the long run. Plus it puts you in far better stead when it comes to making it truly successful.
Tags: business, creative pursuits, work
After growing up in a dusty farming district where happy moments were few and far between, Rebekah packed a bunch of books and headed off in pursuit of education, the sea and a sense of anonymity that simply can’t be found in a town of 200.
Keenly aware she was an outsider, Rebekah attempted to discover happiness via five universities, island living, and all the wrong kind of activities before she triumphantly discovered she was potentially the happiest marketing nerd alive.
Rebekah has carved out a career through connecting people. She spent over seven years working in the dating industry, has worked agency-side in the tough Asian advertising world, and now freelances in marketing and content creation for community, social enterprise and startup ideas.
When she isn’t listening to prog and post rock as it pours out of her partner’s guitar, she’s connecting women as the Head of Disruption for Discordia Zine, marketing and writing as Unashamedly Creative, advocating for freelancer happiness via the Freelance Jungle, or being reminded that life is random, creative and silly by her Labrador, Gibson.
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