Netflix, videogames, online investments, and e-books have been on high demand since the pandemic started, as people sought ways to entertain themselves or earn some money while locked in at home.
While these are all valid hobbies and ways to keep the mind off the troublesome COVID-19 situation, there’s also the possibility that you can spend your time more creatively, perhaps thinking about a business idea that you had not devoted the time it deserves.
If you already have one in mind or if this article was the spark that got you into thinking about it, we would like to share 8 easy steps to help you narrow down the path towards launching your next successful business venture.
Step #1 – Brainstorming
Ideas grow in your mind as leaves grow on trees.
You have to take some time to get those brain juices flowing by brainstorming, thinking about all the things people – or businesses – may be needing that you could be supplying.
Brainstorming is the first step to launch a new business and it involves writing down all your interesting – or wild – ideas to then short-list the ones that you think are worth moving to the next step.
Step #2 – Due Diligence
Once you have short-listed your best candidates, you can now do some market research on how profitable these ventures may be.
At this stage, you should research the size of your potential market, the price you could be charging for the product or service you intend to offer, and the market share your small business could be taking.
The goal at this point is to see if there’s an actual market for your ideas. Maybe some of those short-listed candidates won’t move up to the next stage, but the ones that do you’ll already know that they have some chances to become an actual business.
Step #3 – Proof of concept
A proof of concept is essentially a credible test that validates that your idea is in fact marketable.
For a proof of concept, you don’t necessarily need a prototype, even though a rough one would help in some cases.
What you really need is to conduct some kind of experiment that ends up assuring you – or not – that what you have in your hands is something your target audience will embrace once it is released.
If your business idea is to sell some extraordinary dessert, you could give a few people samples and see their reaction when they test the product. Ideally, you would not tell them it is yours, so when they try them – if they like them – they will ask where did you buy them. That is what proof of concept is.
Step #4 – First prototype
Once you have established that your idea has a market and something that market would like, you can now work on your first prototype.
A prototype is not necessarily the thing you will end up selling, but it should look like it – at least as much as possible.
That prototype is going to be crucial for the next step, which is to find the money to finance your idea.
Step #5 – Financing your venture
Experts say that most startups raise money from three sources: friends, family, or/and fools (FFF).
The reason for this is that these people are usually close to you and they trust you enough to give you some money, even after considering the significant risks involved in starting a new business.
Start with this group, show them your prototype, sell them your idea, and you will probably end up getting your first few investors on board.
Step #6 – Get some help
This is crucial advice at this point, as taking on the stages that follow require some extra hands.
You can get some friends on board – as you probably have no money to pay employees – or you can ask your family or to those who invested for some free help while you get things on track.
Step #7 – Production & Sales
This part is pretty obvious, but it is worth mentioning that it is a crucial step in building a business, as you need to start bringing money in to grow and expand.
Secure a handful of reliable suppliers, negotiate good prices, and start pitching your product/service to potential clients as soon as possible.
Step #8 – Congratulations, you have a business
Now that you have made your first sales you can consider yourself an entrepreneur.
Sure, your business is just starting to grow and there are a lot of challenges and stages ahead, but having a product that has a market, a business that has investors, and some sales to show for is what transforms an idea into a business – not its size.
Keep moving forward, you made it!