Turning a great idea into a business is not something that can be achieved over night. Preparing to benefit financially from an idea takes months and sometimes years and can often be the thing that separates the winners from the never-even-tried.
Having an idea in the first place is essential. Sometimes waiting for inspiration or the perfect solution can be the quickest road to failure. You might have the market research done, a basic bank account set up for business and a trading name registered, but without the seed of inspiration, your efforts will be wasted. Whether your idea is a concept, a service, a product or a philosophy there will be some way to turn it into a profitable enterprise. Often it’s finding that connection that proves the hardest part for some people.
To begin finding a market place for your idea, first of all you must determine who the market is and what problem you’re solving.
Who is it for?
You might first think that your idea isn’t solving anything, but all you need to do is jump outside the box and think laterally about who might need it, where they are and why there’s nothing else like it available.
There’s no point reinventing the wheel as they say, unless of course your wheel can do something new or different. Identify the thing that makes your wheel special and then set about researching who needs a wheel with those special properties.
Research can save you from wasting lots of money trying to develop something that won’t work or sell. There are many free available to help you find all you need to know.
Talk to people who are in a similar industry and see what they think of your idea. Talk to the competition and find out what problems they face. Talk to would-be customers and see what they think. Collect the data and use the feedback to improve upon your idea or take it in another direction.
While this can be a painstaking and sometimes defeating process, it’s better to know your market before spend the money on trying to break into it. Further more, having a well thought out market plan will help when you go to prepare your business plan.
Protect your idea
Once you’ve established that your idea is truly unique, has a genuine market and is worthy of development you can make steps to protect your idea.
Ideas for goods or services, whether it be in the form of a website, a product, a book or a new experience, are known as intellectual property and should be protected. The sort of key words you’ll need to for your research are ‘trademark’, ‘copyright’, ‘intellectual property’ and ‘patent’. Before you get in touch with private companies, find unbiased and free information about this on various governmental websites.
Get the look
Marketing is an essential tool in selling any product or service. To make your idea stand out and ready for the market, engage the services of a designer. You might know how you want your widget to work, but do you know how to make it look good? Designers are there to turn your idea into something that looks professional and worthy of sale. If your gadget or website or service looks amateur, then it simply will not stand up to market scrutiny.
You might not be able to afford the full range of design services, but do consult with someone who knows about design for at least a one off meeting to determine ways you can bring your idea up to scratch. Perhaps you’ve got a friend who can help, or you could approach a design student. Maybe you could negotiate a share in the profits or a delayed payment, or trade for services in kind. There are ways avoid exorbitant fees, but what ever you do don’t avoid this crucial step.
The business plan
This last step is probably the most crucial in getting your idea from paper to reality. Without funds to move forward, your idea is dead in the water. But don’t fret, if you’ve taken the time to prepare and research, you will be half way there. There are many websites to help you create a business plan and while it might mean a small investment, it will no doubt be worthwhile when you approach your bank or angel investor with your plan.
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Reporting from London, William Masters is a finance journalist specialising in a wide range of financial topics from international economics to personal finance. Masters frequently points readers interested in a basic bank account in the direction of www.eccount.com, a provider of financial services in the UK.
Great Free Resource to Assess your Business Plan: BUSINESS PLAN ASSESSMENT: COMPLETE EVALUATION OF EACH COMPONENT
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