This has been a difficult year for many of us, but remember “Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise.” John Adams. Some of you may have lost your job due to the pandemic and now decide that it’s time to spread your wings and branch out on your own with that business idea you have had brewing for some time. Others, like this writer, have had their business slow to an almost stop, but with support from the government, will be able to ride out the storm so now have plenty of time on their hands to diversify and develop a new business. Finally is there is a third group who experience such a spike in demand that they are so busy working in the business they haven’t the time to work on the business. Your business idea could be something you have been thinking about for some time but you’ve never had the opportunity or time to work on it, until now. Or it could have appeared from nowhere whilst out shopping, in the bath, or driving down the road.
The seed has been planted but what next?
As any good gardener will tell you flowers do not appear overnight. Your seed needs tending and you must evaluate the conditions for your flower to grow.
Just because you are excited about your business idea it does not follow that everyone else will be. In this article, I will present a number of suggestions on how to evaluate your business idea, how to test the market, where to find your first clients and where to find free support.
1. Determine What Problem Your Solution Is Solving
There probably isn’t any product or service that hasn’t been invented yet. So don’t get discouraged and give up when you find out your product isn’t 100 percent unique.
Instead, turn the challenge into opportunity. Research the existing competition to your advantage and use their performance data to better understand the market, the clients, the product, and the price structure. Find out what works for them and where they need to improve — and integrate those elements into your own product or service.
Better yet, focus on improving the way you communicate with potential customers. Here’s how: instead of presenting a long list of product features, tell your customer what problem your product is solving in one clear sentence. Here are two examples:
“To help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly.”
“To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.”
Both are clear statements of what each company does, without having to attach any additional information to make their product/service understood.
Keep this in mind as the centre of your business idea and the specific problem you are solving.
2. Write it Down
If you’re thinking I’m about to advise you to write a 40-page business plan, don’t worry. Formal business plans are for investors, partners, and other external parties.
What you need is a simple and concise summary of your business idea, a one-page document that you can refer back to anytime you need to touch base with your original thoughts. (I wrote mine on the back of a beer mat!)
3. Talk To Others
OK be careful here you don’t want to share your business idea with everyone, especially if it’s a great one as some unscrupulous people might just take your idea and run with it. But a few trusted and respected friends or colleagues may encourage you and spur you on to take that first step. The one thing that stops human beings doing the things we want is fear, in this case fear of failure. However the more outside influencers who tell you “ that sounds fantastic”, the more it will quieten that negative voice at the back of your mind that keeps whispering in your ear.
Alternatively you can talk to us, free of charge, with no obligation, as many years ago we were in the same position as you. Digi4Front is not just a web and app development company, we pride ourselves on helping our customers achieve their dreams and go above and beyond in supporting you in helping grow your initial idea into a successful business. Yes we are a technology company and yes of course we would love to help you with your website, mobile app and seo requirements but we have recently partnered with a business entrepreneur (with absolutely no techie knowledge!) to help us help you.
4. Choose the Right Marketing Mix for Your Business Idea
Marketing informs your customers about the products or services you’re offering them. Through marketing, the customers get to know about the value of the products, their usage and additional info that might be helpful to the customers. It creates brand awareness and makes the business stand out. Consider the following:
- Use social media to gain attention for your business idea (pick one or two of the most effective social networks to start off with and use them avidly to engage with your audience).
- Give back to the community (that can be in a literal sense such as donating time or money to a good cause, or more abstract like running a free blog on your site; it should be something you are doing free of charge, from the heart).
- Understand the type of customer you have, what they care about, and how you can reach them; be creative and genuine in your marketing, provide value (price, quality, convenience), build relationships, and seek feedback on your performance.
- Whether you market your products or services business to business or business to customer investing in a good innovative website is a must.If you have a business and don’t have a website, you are losing out on great opportunities for your business. A website itself can be used to accomplish many different marketing strategies to help your business grow. As a business owner, you need to know where your customers are. But what if consumers know your business and what you can offer, but they can’t reach you? That is one of the risks you take by not having a website for your business.
- Consider direct email marketing.Email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media, according to a study done by McKinsey & Company. The same study also shows that the buying process happens 3 times faster than in social media. … According to the Fourth Source website, 92% of internet users have at least one email account
5. Set Goals, Work Toward Them, and Evaluate the Results
Once you’ve got your product defined, your fantastic website set up, and your marketing plan laid out, don’t fail to determine your business goals so you can evaluate how successful your business idea has become.
From day one of your launch:
- Set a time frame for your trial run, be it three months of a full year and evaluate the results against:
- A set of concrete goals you need to achieve (e.g., number of visitors, amount of sales, number of customer enquiries, etc.)
If you should meet your goals, that’s excellent! You’re on to something that could really work! This is when you go back to your business idea, start to think about extended product features, and expand your marketing plan.
Lastly, Never Stop Changing
Sometimes in order for your flowers to bloom you need to re-pot them or move them to a sunnier spot. You may need to change direction slightly with your business. Don’t let that bother you, because getting it right the very first time around is very rare.
Instead, use the knowledge you gained from your trial run to improve your product or service. “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” —Tony Robbins, and making that change is the first step to reaching your goal.
Thank you for reading this article and good luck in your business adventure.