So you came up with a brilliant idea. A million dollar idea! But right now, that’s all it is. So how do you turn that concept into cold hard cash?
- Write it down. How many light bulb moments do you have at 2am and then forget come 9am? Or you don’t want your idea to be stolen so you keep it to yourself, promising to chase it when you have time. If you write down every money making scheme you think of, one of them is bound to be the real deal.
- Once you settle on the idea you really want to pursue, write a pros and cons list. What could make it really successful? What could make it a bust? Once you identify the cons – maybe the initial production costs are too high or its a competitive industry – you can find solutions.
- Determine your audience. Who do you think will buy your product or service? Run business surveys to see if there is a market for what you want to sell.
- Figure out what problem you’re solving. All good businesses are solving a problem. Uber eliminated the inconvenience of hailing a taxi and the inability to pre-order them, all for an affordable rate. Apple lowered the cost of technology and made it user-friendly at a time when computers were created for engineers and tech professionals. Solve a problem in the market so consumers can’t live without your product.
- Find a business partner. Although you might want to keep your idea to yourself, remember that it takes two flints to make a fire. Think about the major startup success stories you know. How many of them were founded by just one person? A partner can give you support, share the initial costs and help you decide if your ideas are any good.
- Money, Money, Money. You have to get it from somewhere. If you don’t already have some rainy-day funds to dive into, consider crowdfunding, borrowing from friends, credit cards or loans. Just know the risks you face before getting started.
- Create a financial model. If you want to attract investors, a financial model that forecasts the financial performance of your business will show them your expected profitability and their return on investment. This makes you a more reliable bet.
- Develop your prototype or beta test. Now it’s time to see if your idea will really work. If you’re creating a product, design a prototype so you can work through the kinks of manufacturing. For a service-based company, take on some beta clients who can test it and respond with their feedback.
- Adapt! Prepare to be flexible and roll with the punches. Odds are, your initial idea won’t be the same as the final product and that’s okay. Be ready to respond to what the market wants. You’ll be better off for it.
- Keep on the sunny side. There are going to be boatloads of people who try to tear you and your idea down on your road to success. But as the business owner, you have to stick to your guns. It’s your baby and your investment of time and money, so believe in it.
The next time you’re struck with a big idea, don’t let the opportunity come and go. Follow these steps and you could be next greatest startup success story.