An Ultimate Guide for Entrepreneurs: Turn Your Idea Into a Functional Business
Do you have an amazing idea that you want to turn into a successful business? Every budding entrepreneur starts with one. You could have thought of it all on your own, or you could have been inspired by another business.
Regardless where you got the idea, you have to realize that ideas mean nothing; implementation is everything. Your brilliant idea is going nowhere if you do not take the necessary steps to make it functional and practical.
After all, an idea is just a starting point; it’s supposed to be the just the first -- not the last! -- step in a long journey towards business success.
In this ultimate guide for entrepreneurs, you will learn how to do the three important steps to implement your idea.
- Know how to develop the idea
- Know how to build the idea
- Know how to test the idea
Developing the Idea
Before taking a leap of faith and fully immersing yourself in developing your idea into a business, you need to answer a very important question: does your idea solve someone else’s problem?
This is worth reiterating: every business idea is supposed to solve a problem. If it doesn’t do that, it’s not worth pursuing. Remember, not all ideas are meant to be acted upon.
A wise entrepreneur knows that products should have core functions. You should, therefore, understand what your product’s (i.e., your idea) primary purpose is before delving fully into the process.
Identifying the core function and the target market is crucial in your business success. If you neglect to explore this fully before launching your business, you will definitely face major challenges along the way; some could even lead to your business failing.
The fact is, 90% of startups fail in their first year of business.
Thus, when developing a business idea, always think about the following factors.
1. What is the problem that needs solving?
One of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs make is that they focus more on the solution that they wish to provide, and forget about the problem that needs solving.
An idea can only be valuable if you are solving a problem that affects a core group of people (i.e., your target market). The problem should also be big enough, because if it isn’t, your solution won’t be needed (that makes sense, right?).
So take some time to think of what your target market’s problem is, and how you aim to solve that problem with your products or services. The problem should also be one that your audience knows that they have. If they don’t even know they have that problem, chances are, they won’t be looking for solutions, either (no need for your products or services).
2. What are the core functions of your product?
Knowing the problem that you want to solve is not enough. Your next step is to understand what your idea’s core functions are.
At this stage, all that you are focusing on is the solution that your products are likely to offer to your target market’s problems. However, considering that there are many other existing businesses offering similar solutions, you need to ask yourself whether yours is better than what is already available and how it is better than the others.
If your target market, for example, is looking for faster delivery and better quality of the products, you can market your product in such a way that it will solve this problem (i.e., how it can be delivered faster and be better than the other products in the market).
One way to achieve this is to simply ask for feedback. Ask people close to you first, from friends and family, to work colleagues and neighbors.
Then gradually expand your base. You can, for example, ask your potential customers about the core features that they seek. You can do this by creating a website that will reach your potential customers and gather leads and feedback.
One thing to remember: don’t spend too much on that website by hiring a web developer. You need that seed money for product development. Use website builders like Bookmark; with it, you can create a professional looking and attractive websites at a very minimal cost.
3. Who is your target market?
A very important aspect in building your business is knowing who your target market is. Who do you think will use your products or services? Who is your audience? Who are the people that will benefit from what you are offering?
In other words, who are your potential customers?
It would be useless to spend lots of money and time implementing an idea without finding a market (i.e., without knowing who will buy your products!). In fact, you might just find out that this is the most important part of your business.
If you read any guide for entrepreneurs, you will notice that a lot of emphasis is put on finding a reliable market. It is the selling part that makes the whole venture worth the effort.
To find the perfect audience for your products, you have to find out how your solution fits in their lives. Do they even need it in the first place?
At this point, it is important to look at your competitors. If they are targeting the same audience, it only means that you have no option but to up your game. Find out how you are going to beat off the competition and get loyal customers that will repeatedly buy what you are selling.
Building the idea
When it comes to building your business idea, there are a few factors involved. It is all about ensuring that you shape it into what you really want it to be. Here are some factors to keep in mind.
1. Choosing the Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The MVP is the kind of product that meets the threshold of features required to attract first buyers. The early buyers can then be used to test the idea in order to find out if it really is viable.
The aim is to check customer satisfaction and get feedback. It is at this point that you will know what you are supposed to add to the product and what you can do away with. Avoid the temptation of being fancy when choosing an MVP. Instead, try to be as functional as possible.
2. Building the MVP
After choosing an MVP, the next step is to build it. Getting it into the game does not mean that you should invest all the money at your disposal. Remember that you do not know how the product will be received by your target market, so you need to be cautious.
You can start with alternatives that are either free or less costly. Through these alternatives, you will learn if the idea is really needed by your potential customers, and if they are willing to pay money for it.
To create an easy MVP, a website builder like Bookmark may just be the best tool at your disposal. It is much cheaper than hiring a web designer, and the website looks professional and well thought-out.
3. Choosing a website building platform
Choosing a website builder is part and parcel of developing your business. After all, you need to reach people early and get their early feedback about your products. Website builders make sure that the cost in this step of the process is kept low.
How do you choose a website building platform? Well, there is certainly a lot of them right now, from Wix and Weebly, to Bookmark which is now using artificial intelligence to build your site quickly.
You have to keep in mind that not all of them will be suitable for you. Take some time and consider the pros and cons of using one website builder after another. The basic things you should pay attention to is: ease of use, cost, availability of resources, customer support, design, and overall look of the finished website.
Testing your idea
Welcome aboard, newly-fledged entrepreneur! After developing and building your idea, it is now live, a fully functioning product or service that anyone can use. Your next step, then, is to test it.
Testing simply refers to the steps taken to ensure that the product or service works as expected. Here’s what you can do next.
1. Experiment across different channels
Depending on your business idea, there are likely to be multiple marketing channels that you can use to test your product. You will find out that while some are promising, others might offer minimal returns.
Remember, though, that you can never tell which channel works perfectly for your business until you try them out. A series of fast and cheap ads on your responsive website can help you to get through this stage.
2. Focus on what works best
Among the many channels that are available, you should focus on the one that works best for your business. What if none seems suitable? Don’t worry. Rest assured that many new entrepreneurs experience this frustration.
In such a situation, all that you are required to do is to continue experimenting with other channels. Keep doing this until you find the one that you have been looking for.
3. Do some market validation and pivoting
After testing, you are likely to end up with lots of feedback. This is when you are hit with the truth about your business idea. This is that moment when you either get satisfied with the market validation, or feel disappointed. After all, things may not always turn out the way you had anticipated.
If you are happy with the validation, though, it is an indication that you can go ahead and take the next step, such as an expansion of your team, getting more funding, more intensive marketing, or further product development. These are the steps that will establish you as one of the leading solution providers in your niche.
Keep in mind, though, that even if you are happy with the validation, further steps should be taken with caution. You do not want a simple mistake originating from excitement to erode all the gains that you have made through hard work.
As you can see from this guide for entrepreneurs, implementing a business idea is not something that you can do quickly. There are so many things you have to do in order to make sure that you don’t waste your or your investors’ money.
The game has significantly changed for modern entrepreneurs -- the internet has leveled the playing field and vastly expanded your reach. The challenges that you are faced, therefore, are totally different from what they were before.
You will also notice that many tools are being developed and introduced into the market nowadays that are meant to ease the workload for entrepreneurs. These tools help you be more efficient and productive, among other things.
To make it as an entrepreneur, focus on making the best out of these tools. Be practical and creative; costly doesn’t automatically mean quality. Do what you can so you can be ahead of your competition.