Working as an enterprise coach, I have got asked by many clients some questions like:
• Where should I start my business?
• How to check if my idea is viable?
• How much should I need to start my business idea?
• Should I have a business plan at this stage?
Many clients sometimes got confused; as they have many things to worry about and don’t really know where to start. Understanding this confusion and concern, that’s why I want to share my experience on this as I have been working with lots of start-ups!
Let’s check out top actions you need to consider helping you progress your idea into a successful business!
#Action 1: Develop your idea and build a draft business case
Remember the first thing you need is NOT a business plan, it’s a business case where you need to understand the basic elements of your idea.
• What products/services I want to sell? – your PRODUCTS/SERVICES
• Who are my customers? – your CUSTOMERS
• Why do people need to buy from me rather than competitors? – your USP (unique selling point)
• Who delivers products/services? – your TEAM/your people
You don’t need to worry if you can answer all these questions, as you will come back and tweak your answers after completing market research and market tests.
#Action 2: Do Market Research
This action is to answer if the market needs your products/services and if there is anyone providing the same products/services. There are many ways to do your market research, but the most popular methods are:
– Internet search: what is the market size? What is the market trend? Who are your competitors? How your competitors are doing?…
– Survey/ Interview/ Focus group: you can target a group of people who are your potential customers and do survey or conduct interviews to understand their needs and their desires in relevance with your products/services. After that, you can generalise this result to the bigger market
#Action 3: Do Pilot Test
In my view, you need to run the pilot test to test out how the market perceives your products/services. “Think big and start small”.
You need to get feedback to improve your products/services to meet the demand of your targeted customers.
#Action 4: Plan your finances carefully
You need to think and answers some main questions for your financial plan:
– How much does it cost to run this business in the first year?
– Where you get revenue from to cover all your costs?
– Are there any other alternative income streams you can explore?
– Do you get loss or profit at the end of the year?
– Does cashflow look positive or negative?
Basically, you need to work out your REVENUE-COST model carefully to ensure your revenue is always higher than your costs, which means the positive cash flow at the end of the year.
#Action 5: Review and complete your business case
After completing these above steps, you will have a clear vision of your business idea and identify if your idea is viable and probably sustainable in the long run. At this point, you can have a clear picture of your business and you can think about the next steps which can be:
– If your idea works well, you may think to test it out in the larger scope and launch it officially
– If your idea does not work well, you may want to tweak it and do the pilot tests again; or you may want to think about a different idea, and start the process again
After you have done your business case, and you will think about other business aspects including legal structure, marketing & sales, long-term financial plan, and partnership establishment.
We will cover these items in next articles! Check it out soon!