When did you first have the idea for your business?
There are countless people out there who have brilliant ideas for businesses, but those plans remain secret. Rather than developing those ideas into successful enterprises, they just sit in a desk drawer.
There are countless reasons for this. Someone might not have confidence in their idea, even if it is a good one. They could lack the resources, financial or otherwise, to make their idea into a reality. Or maybe they are waiting for “the right time” to start their business (which will never come).
I know all of these excuses because I’ve USED all of these excuses, at one time or another. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. It’s not like punching the clock at the same time, day in and day out. It requires a tremendous amount of courage and drive, and sometimes those might be in short supply. But with the right guidance, you can take your million-dollar idea and build it into a million-dollar business! Here is how to develop your idea into a thriving business!
One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is that they have too many ideas! I know that I have a list on my computer of business ideas that I haven’t touched yet. There isn’t enough time in the day!
So, when you are taking a look at your list, you must narrow down which is the best idea for you RIGHT NOW. It should be a combination of your current passion (which idea speaks to you the most) and market realities (what will sell). Make sure that you feel passionate about the idea; otherwise, your enthusiasm and drive might run out before you get to the point of success.
Many million-dollar ideas are a single sentence written on a napkin. To build that into a business, you’re going to need to expand that single sentence into an entire business plan!
The first part of this is to figure out what problem your business is solving. Why does your business exist? If it doesn’t enhance the lives of your customers, then why would you want to build it?
Next, you need to figure out your market. Who is your ideal customer? Throwing your business out into the world isn’t enough. You must make sure you’re targeting it towards a specific audience primed to want your product or service.
Then, you want to create a fully-fleshed-out business plan. I have known many entrepreneurs who launch businesses without taking this necessary step, and they’ve all failed. Without a business plan to fall back on, your new company will be crippled with indecision and lack of direction. If you have a business plan, then you can refer to it, giving you a “north star” to head towards. Please keep in mind that your business plan needs to be constantly changing, depending on current market realities or the success of your business.
Yes, your financial plan should be part of your business plan, but we must take a closer look at it.
Your financial plan needs to be born out of your market research to determine if your business is financially viable in the current climate. Your financial plan should be as comprehensive as possible, budgeting for everything from marketing and product development to storefront and inventory storage space. And even the most fully-fleshed-out financial strategy will be in flux, depending on unexpected hiccups that your business might encounter. The point of a financial plan isn’t to have a set-in-stone document. It’s to have a framework that will give you a launch point to manage the finances of your business.
Along with your financial plan, you must figure out the source of your financial capital. Is your business going to be self-funded? Will you be finding investors? Venture capitalists? Your success here, of course, will depend on your prior experience as an entrepreneur and the contacts that you’ve made.
After starting several businesses and proving myself as someone who can create a profitable enterprise, it may be easier for me to find investors than it might be for you, just starting out. Don’t let that discourage you. Your business doesn’t need to be huge from the start. Instead, figure out what you can currently afford and start there. Once things get going, and you have actual numbers to show people, finding new sources of capital will become manageable (but never easy).
Often, the biggest obstacle that can get in the way of your business’ success is YOU.
Trust me, I know how easy it is to become discouraged when your business isn’t doing fantastic. I’ve had companies that I genuinely believe in fall apart due to market realities or simply not being able to find an audience. It’s heartbreaking and demoralizing. When that kind of thing happens, you might feel that you want to give up and go back to a job that features less stress, panic, and responsibility.
Here is the thing to remember: all of that is normal. If there is an entrepreneur who says that they never doubted their business for a second, then you’re looking at an entrepreneur who is a liar! We all feel doubts, especially when things aren’t going great. The important thing to remember is that every successful entrepreneur before you encountered similar road bumps. Steve Jobs had his entire company stolen out from under him back in 1985! And what did he do? He started a new computer company called NeXT, built Pixar Animation Studio into a powerhouse, and developed technologies that make up the foundation of our digital world today. Personally, I find that incredibly inspiring!
Developing an idea into a thriving business isn’t easy. You can read entire books about it, but until you take steps to do it, you have no idea how stressful, rewarding, exhausting, and exciting it can be! Every business that I’ve started has been a journey, and I plan to keep going! There are too many great ideas to develop! So, it’s time that you take yours and finally build your dreams into a reality!
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