How to turn an idea into a business!
Got a great idea for a business, but not sure how to get it off the ground? You’ve probably heard plenty of stories about internationally leading companies who were founded in someone’s garage, so why not yours? There’s plenty of information online, and support that you can find along the way.
Do a short business course
Thanks to websites like Coursera and edX, there’s business courses galore, even from accredited institutions, and at affordable prices. (Some even offer financial aid if you’d struggle to pay the fees.) These courses are taught by leaders in the world of entrepreneurship, and are full of real-life case studies of what makes businesses succeed or fail.
Identify your customer
Take the time to think about who you’re selling to. What do they want? Where do they go, and how can you reach them? What is important to them in a product/service, and what matters to them as people? The way that you’d target a 70-year old in Kansas versus a 20-year old in NYC is likely to be completely different, not just in terms of what medium you’re using to get your message out there, but also in terms of how to appeal to their needs.
Find some funding
Depending on the kind of business you’re starting, you might be able to get things going even with a few hundred dollars: or you might need a whole lot more. Your local government may have some helpful programs to lend a hand to new businesses, and there’s plenty of angel investors online who will take you seriously if you have a well-thought-out business plan and show commitment to your project.
There’s also great websites like Kickstarter where people will crowd-fund products and services that they’d like to see in real life. Read up about some of the Kickstarter success stories, see how they’ve pitched things, and get inspired!
Build a brand
In this era of digital marketing, you’re not just selling a product or service: you’re selling a brand. People have emotional connections to brands, and brand loyalty sells big-time. Think about all of the mental associations you might have with brands like Apple, Samsung, Coca-Cola or Pepsi: branding is about a lot more than a product or a service. You want to differentiate yourself from others in the same space as you, and create something that your customers will love. Even if you’re just selling on a small-scale, good branding will make such a difference.
Pro-tip: don’t be sloppy with your website. Good design, and usability, matter so much. Find a web design company that can provide all facets of web development including graphic design, custom websites, etc. Your website is the face of your company to the world, and it’s worth investing time and money on making it perfect.
Sometimes it’s hard to own up to mistakes; sometimes, it’s hard to even realize that you’ve made them. Once you’ve got the ball rolling, keep a careful eye on how things are working out, and continuously work towards doing things better. And remember: past success doesn’t guarantee future success, so don’t get complacent.
We are lucky enough to live in an age of the “ideas economy”, giving the average person opportunities like never before. There’s no shortage of start-up success stories out there from people just like you. All you need is the idea, the drive and the commitment to create something special. So why not give it a go? Follow your dreams, and you won’t look back.