I often encounter people who come up with brilliant business ideas and they ask me how they can turn it into a business. Hopefully, you have gotten to know me well enough by now to know that I become very excited to share any knowledge that I have that could help them. But the other day when someone asked me that, I was not satisfied with my answer to him. I was very busy at the time he asked me and was careless and brief in my answer.
As I continued to finish what I was working on, my answer nagged at me. I felt unsettled. And so I hurried after this man and got his e-mail and told him I would e-mail him a better answer, I just needed to finish the project I was working on at the time. I decided to post here what my answer was to him when I finally e-mailed him. And so here are 5 ways of turning your idea into a business.
People come up with brilliant ideas all the time. The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is about who actually start acting on their idea. You can’t expect to make your idea into a successful business if all you do is think, talk, and research about it. And chances are if you don’t start working on your idea, someone else will, not because they stole your idea (although that can happen) but because if you are trying to fulfill a need (which is what all businesses should be about) someone else out there might also think of a similar way to fulfill people’s needs.
2.) Become crystal clear about who your ideal customer is.
If you don’t have a mental picture (that you have also written down) of who you want to sell to, then you are not ready for business. You need to be crystal clear about the kind of customer you are aiming to get. Write a story about your customer. What does she/he needs? What stresses her out? How will she react and feel when she encounters your product? What could you possibly help her with that someone else would not have been able to? Tell a story about her and about how your specific product makes her feel and why she chose you versus some other company. The clearer you are about who your ideal customer is, the easier it will be to talk to that customer and to know what products or services you can develop or offer that will fulfill her needs.
3.) Can you do it all yourself and will you have to hire someone else?
We all have different skills and talents. If you are able and willing to handle all areas of your business yourself, more power to you. But the best way is to hire someone to do the parts you do not have the skills to do. Things such as designing your website (although there are already made themes you can get for free if you don’t want to buy it). A website is a must and should be one of the first acts you do once you know who you are selling to. You need somewhere for people to go once you tell them about your business. Make sure the website is up and running before you put a lot of effort into telling people about your products or services. Go here and here to find out more about initial business costs.
4.) Market your product.
You could have the best product or service out there but if no one knows about it, it will get you nowhere. You will not profit. This is why one of the most important things you could do for your business, besides launching it, is to learn marketing skills. There are free online courses or blog posts that can help you with this. Some online places to get free courses are Alison.com (Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online), BBC, Canvas, Coursera, EdX, and Udemy. But there are also great courses in your community or online that will make you into a marketing pro. Do your research. Google is a great tool. Use it.
5.) Get in touch with someone from your business area.
There are many businesses out there who are willing to mentor people who ask them. You want to choose someone or a company who has the same target audience as you but whom you are not in competition with. For instance, if you create personalized picture books for families, you might want to mentor with a photographer. In fact, that might also create a partnership (if you choose) where you can make a book out of the pictures taken by this photographer. If you already know of a business that you admire or that is successful get in touch with them. See what they would advise you to do. And if you can, set up some kind of mentorship or internship with them.
If you don’t already know some businesses that are successful then ask around or Google it. When I decided to become a writer, I asked some of my friends or acquaintances if they knew any freelance writers. One of them did and got me in touch with one. I scheduled a lunch where she gave me a bunch of awesome and useful advice on how to become successful in the field. I made sure to pay for her lunch. Remember to be generous to those who are willing to help you.
Starting a business when you have that entrepreneurial spirit is extremely satisfying. Although the journey is not easy, it is definitely worth it. Make sure that the way you start your business fits with the lifestyle you want to lead. If you want to have location freedom (meaning you can run your business from anywhere) then perhaps having a restaurant might not be the best thing for you. But you could tweak your idea and come up with a creative way to make it into a business and still have the lifestyle you want. You have to have passion, drive, a flexible mind, and a desire to help others.
In the comments below, tell me two things you plan to do today to put your idea into action. I can’t wait to read them!
Like this post? Then share and Subscribe to receive short but helpful tips to your inbox.