There are plenty of business models out there that show even a solo entrepreneur can make a big difference to an entire industry. Though you might just a be a person with a great idea right now, with the right approach, you could quickly become a person with a great business and vision for the future.
Imagine it: you could be the James Bond of business in the space of a couple of years.
The only thing holding you back from turning your vision into a reality at the moment is the planning process. You need to figure out exactly what you need to do to succeed, how you will turn a profit and what makes you stand out from the crowd. You also need to figure out where you can get funding from and what it will take to become solvent as soon as possible.
But before you totally freak out, close your laptop and go for a brisk walk around the block – let’s tackle a few of the simpler questions first. This blog should test the feasibility of your idea by addressing a few practicalities first. Solve these problems and you will be well on your way to bringing in your first customer.
What Will Your Business Do to Stand Out?
The very first thing you should be thinking about is who you want to use your business and how you are going to attract your target audience. To begin with, you will probably have a good idea of the type of people you want to interest. For example, if you were to manufacture a new type of zimmer frame, you will probably be looking at elderly and disabled people – but you might expand that audience to include carers too. The more you can refine your target audience the better but don’t worry if they don’t turn out to be who you originally thought – follow the money!
Standing out from the crowd is absolutely vital for any business because you need to catch your audience’s attention. Even if you are just another marketing company providing website content, you need to find an angle that shows off what you do differently. In this case, it might be that you are really good at customer care or perhaps you are willing to team write with your client.
What Will You Need to Achieve Your Business Goals?
Once you know who you are catering for, you need to know how you are going to do it. So, if you are planning to open a construction business, you should work out what sort of construction equipment you need and where you can get the best quality for your money. If you are opening a florist, you should look at where you can buy your flowers wholesale and figure out a balance of products to please your audience.
What you need is also likely to include some sort of premises. There are plenty of jobs now that literally only need a laptop and a comfy chair but if you are planning to open something a bit more than a one-person operation, you will almost certainly need an office, shop or factory to work from. While you are on this subject, where you locate your business is just as important as this will make a difference for clients who need to find you as well as employees who need to be able to get to work.
What Will It Cost to Setup Your Business?
Setting up a business is a very expensive task but it doesn’t’ have to be prohibitively so. Doing the math before you even get started will show you exactly how much funding you will require and where you need to prioritize your money. Though you are only estimating the cost at this stage, this is an important step in turning your vision into a reality.
Start by making a list of everything you will need from equipment right through to premises. Then make a second list of ongoing expenses such as heating, lighting and – most importantly – staff salaries. Knowing how much you are likely to spend in the first year is a good way to gauge just how much you will need.
From here, you will be able to make a projection of your income and profits and, if you have researched properly, this will give you an indication of when you will be able to repay your loan and become solvent.
Where Could You Simplify Your Idea?
Now that you have an idea of what your business could look like, it is important that you start to refine your ideas to get the best possible model. You should take quite a lot of time on this stage of the planning process to mull over all your options in order to get the right balance.
Simplifying your ideas should give you a chance to work out what is core to your business idea and strategy and what could be removed for the time being. So, if you wanted to open a full-service marketing company, you might like to start small by offering content or social media and then, once you have a growing client base, add more services. Another way to simplify is to offer something similar to what is already on the market while you develop your more interesting idea. This will give you time to do extra research and build up your business model on the go.
The best way to work out whether you have simplified an idea enough is to use the elevator pitch test. Essentially, what this asks is whether you could pitch your idea to a complete stranger within just a minute or two. If you can’t express your idea in that time, you need to go back to the basic elements and cut some of the fluff.
Taking a good idea and turning it into a business is what all entrepreneurs do but taking the leap doesn’t really get easier. The more information you can gather to refine your idea, the easier it will be to pitch to a funding provider and the more likely it will be to succeed.