8 Steps to Build a Winning Business Idea
According to statistics and research data, about 50% of small businessesfail within the first five years. What can be done to keep your company from failing? The answer lies in making sure you have a viable business idea that’s well positioned to succeed.
Here are eight steps to take to drive a business idea to success:
1. Begin for the right reasons.
Strange as it sounds, but there are plenty of wrong reasons for wanting to start a business — maybe you dislike responsibility, or have problems working for a higher authority, or just want an excuse to take naps in the middle of the day. But running a successful business requires long hours of sheer hard work, perseverance and determination, as well as missing out on life’s regular holiday breaks. You won’t be able to survive these hardship if you’re in it for the wrong reasons.
However, if you want to start a business because you have a true calling for what you do or you want to share a solution to your customers’ real needs, you are much more likely to start out on the right path.
Once you have established the right foundation, the next step is to brainstorm as much as you can. Take several short sessions to think about, and write down, every idea you have for a possible business. No limitations here — nothing is too outrageous at this phase.
What do you know? What do you enjoy doing? What have you done before? What have you always dreamed of doing?
Once you’ve performed your individual sessions, reach out to people you know well and trust. Ask them what they see in you. What special talents have they noticed? Jot it all down and keep an open mind on what people have to say about you.
3. Choose one idea.
This step may be the most difficult part of this process, but remember that it may not be the only business idea you are pursuing in your lifetime. It is just simply the one you’re choosing right now; the possibility of expanding to another different idea is there in future. Weigh each of your options carefully according to:
- What your passions are – will you be making something unique to sell as a product?
- What knowledge you have – will you also sell online on ecommerce platform Malaysia?
- Where your connections are – do you have other business contacts that you can leverage on?
- Where you see an opportunity – is there a lack of supply in something e.g. sports skirts?
4. Test the market repeatedly.
Many businesses stinge on market testing because they’re afraid it will cost too much money and time (or worse, that it’ll reveal there’s actually no market for your idea). However, though, there’s nothing more expensive or time-consuming than a backfired idea or rather, a failed business.
There are plenty of different ways to test a market without spending a lot of money. One way is to simply talk to real people who are in your target market to hear their actual needs in their own words. A small fraction of failed entrepreneurs attribute their failure to a lack of product-market fit. Don’t end up becoming one of them!
5. Hatch a plan.
Once you have an idea you’re confident there’s a market for, it’s time to make a plan. Many businesses fail because they don’t take the time to make a plan and stick to it. It’s not about a huge business plan document that’ll sit in a file cabinet and gather dust. It’s about a real, tactical document that sets a framework for the company, identifies growth benchmarks and defines your overall goals.
As you plan, you may find yourself asking questions you hadn’t thought of before — questions that potential investors will think of. By planning ahead, you won’t be caught off guard.
6. Secure funding or bootstrap.
The second reason that small businesses fail is that they run out of money. If you aren’t able to fund your own startup, it’s a good idea to try and secure the funding you need before launch. If you can’t secure funding from other business owners or investors, consider asking your friends or family for help or maybe even get a business loan. Alternatively, many founders choose to bootstrap their companies to keep operations under their control and maintain independence from investors’ profit motives.
7. Form a strong team.
As the founder, you should have significant knowledge of your market and the product or service you want to offer. However, as your business grows, you can’t do it all alone, and the team members you hire to bring onboard with different skillsets can make all the difference.
When forming a team, be wise in hiring. Hire to fill your business deficiencies, not to clone yourself or boost your ego. Assess your employees regularly and be aware how each person contributes to your company success. Let anyone go who doesn’t move the needle for your business, even though firing someone is never easy.
8. Don’t be afraid to try again.
One of the things that statistics cannot measure is what happens after a business cease operations. If you wind up shutting down, take the lessons you learned from past experience and try again with renewed confidence.
Building a thriving business requires many success factors, from a viable idea to a strong team to support its goals. By applying these eight steps, you’ll significantly increase your chances of realising a winning idea that drives your business into the other half of successful, growing companies.