If you're anything like me, you will have had a ton of business ideas over the years for the 'next big thing'... "If only I could source awesome modern furniture for people and sell it online" (enter made.com, dwell and swoon), "Or what about cool suitcases for kids to make travel more fun" (oh hi there trunki)... it's often not that our ideas are bad, but the issues lie in how we can execute them well, without a huge amount of investment, or in one of the aforementioned companies' case, a 'dragon' by our side...
Whatever your business idea might be, whether it's a product or a service, please, please read our below five things to consider before you make the leap and start to invest your valuable time and money into your business idea. We are only human, and therefore all capable of getting carried away and pursuing something that sadly turns out not to be the golden ticket that we were hoping it would be. Often by taking a step back, and with a little careful research and planning, you can make a more informed decision as to whether your idea in fact deserves an "I'm in", or to quote many a 'dragon from the den', "I'm out...".
If you have any questions about any of the below, or would simply like a chat about your new business idea, then get in touch, I'd love to help (firstname.lastname@example.org).
1) Does my idea solve a problem?
The most important question. Now of course we all THINK there's a demand for our ideas, but how many people actually need what we're offering? Speak to friends, family and work colleagues that might be interested in your idea; do they have a need for it? Would they be willing to part with their hard-earned money for it? Why would they choose your idea over what's already on the market? This is often the best (and cheapest) market research you will ever get your hands on.
2) Are people searching for it?
Head over to Google Trends, a fantastic free tool whereby you can simply type in your idea, along with iterations of it and competitor products or services, and the tool will show you just how many people are searching for it on Google. You can filter your searches by country and date too, giving you a real feel for the opportunity in your market. Plus you can tell whether the demand is seasonal for example, giving you great insight into when might be your key selling periods.
3) Is my idea affordable / profitable?
You could have the best idea in the world, but if it's too expensive, then chances are sadly, it's not going to sell. Take a look at your competitors that are already in the market; what are they charging? Would you be happy to pay that price? Also have a think about the cost of your product or service, you will have overheads that you need to take into account such as rent, supplies, marketing, shipping etc... Doing this research early to work out whether you can afford to be competitive, can really save you time in the long run.
4) What if my business doesn't make any money?
What!? Of course it will, right? Sadly, this is one point that every entrepreneur or small business owner needs to consider. Yes your business could be an overnight success and make a profit from the off, but at the same time, over half of new businesses fail within their first five years of opening. Really consider your worst-case scenario, could you survive 3 months, 6 months, a year without a steady income? Always have a back-up plan to cover you just in case things take a bit longer to take-off than you'd hoped.
5) I think I'm ready to go? What's next?
So you've been through the above points, and are still happy you've got a winning idea? That's great! Next up is how to start a business... there is a lot to consider from incorporating your business, to registering your website and social media pages, to business banking, and much, much more. Research at this point is key to ensure that you take not only the most cost-effective approach, but the one best tailored to your business model too.
If you're looking for some affordable support to help you set up your business, then please do get in touch. We can either talk you through the process, or take care of everything and launch your business for you, so see our set up packages here, or contact us here.