When it comes to generating an idea for a new product or service, we usually see two different types of entrepreneurs: ones who can consistently spin off ideas and make great businesses, and ones who are very intelligent but struggle to come up with a great concept.
Whether you have too many ideas or just one, where should you start in turning your ideas into a successful small business?
In my opinion, an entrepreneur with too many ideas, like myself, can sometimes be more challenged in making a decision on which direction to go and which idea to choose. And if you have one idea that you’re passionate about, trying to take that idea to the next level can feel like walking through quicksand. What you need to do is make a shortlist of your favorite ideas, stick with them, and take your ideas through a vetting process.
2. Researching Your Idea: It’s time to put that first foot forward and research your ideas. This “discovery stage” is where you find out what actually works. The best way to do this is first through research. Search your Google machine to see if you can find anyone else with the same or similar business idea. If you do find someone, try and figure out what challenges they might have with this particular type of business and how they overcame those challenges. If you are able to find a similar product or service, pick up the phone, give the owner call and ask them if you can interview them for a research project you are doing 😉 If your idea is so revolutionary that it doesn’t exist, you will have to do a little field work.
3. Testing Your Idea: Welcome to the “testing stage.” After you have the basic concept or idea ready to go, run it buy a few people you know and ask them for their honest feedback. We are not looking for “No honey, you’re not fat” type of feedback here, but rather their authentic suggestions and concerns. Based on the feedback received, you will more than likely do one of three things: 1) Continue moving forward, 2) Go back to the drawing board, or 3) Abandon the idea entirely.
Now it’s time to build something you can sell. A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is essentially a sellable product or service in its simplest form. This can be a stripped-down product, a basic web-based platform or app, or a service offering at its most fundamental level. By utilizing this stage, you will be able to bring your new idea to a small targeted test market and see if your target clients will bite. Make sure to pay close attention to the feedback, both good and bad, from your target market so you can make the necessary changes to your product or service.
4. Bringing it to Market: Your idea has been vetted, researched and tested. Your prototype has been developed, critiqued repeatedly, and has now been modified to its perfect form. Now what? It’s time put your creation out there and put it to work. In the digital world we live in, one of the best ways to do this, whether you are selling a product or service, is by building a website and utilizing your social media channels. Make sure you do not get too hung up on the design and functionality of your website because in this stage it is being used merely as a place for people to go and get information on your new product and service. Now that you have your marketing band-aid applied, you will need to get to work on your formal marketing plan. Having a plan to generate interest in your product or service will be crucial to your survival.
As experienced business advisors, our team at Archuleta & Co. has assisted several entrepreneurs through all the stages necessary to turn an idea into a small business.. Ultimately through our guidance, our clients have built several successful small businesses across the nation. If you are having trouble with developing a business concept or with bringing your idea to market, please give our office us a call at (916) 850-2424 or contact us here for a free consultation.