Now that you have your business idea, it’s time to structure it a bit. You probably already know about writing a business plan, deciding who your target market is, and running a basic financial analysis (from a simple break-even point to a more complex pro-forma). Now what?
1. Make a prototype
Whether you’re selling granola or spa services, it’s important to actually create what you plan to sell, for several reasons. One, it may be a lot more complicated to create the actual model than the one you have on paper, and you will need to revise and re-devise your product/ service before attempting to sell to a potential customer. Two, you will need to market your product or service to customers in order to see if there really is a demand for what your company offers. If few people buy it, then you know you will have to rethink part of your business model. Finally, if you plan to seek funding from other sources (such as a venture capital firm), you will need to show that your company is creating revenue before any firm will invest in you. Thus, while planning is important, producing a prototype is what will really tell you how whether or not your business model is viable.
2. Do something every day to develop your business
Once you’ve actually gotten beyond the basics of coming up with an idea, a plan, or perhaps even a product, it’s easy for motivation to wane. Guard against this natural energy wane by doing something every day to continue moving forward. Even if it’s something as simple as sending an email to a potential contact, it’s important to maintain your momentum. Continuing to press onward is what will ultimately prepare you for what it will be like a business owner- without anyone to check in on you and make sure you’re performing, you will have to provide your own motivation.
3. Give back
Now at first, you’re probably thinking, ‘give back what?! I’m already spread too thin as it is’! However, one of the most important things I think any entrepreneur can learn is that their success is largely dependent on someone else’s willingness to extend a hand to them, whether by introducing them to a contact, giving advice, or perhaps even investing capital. No one becomes successful purely through their own efforts. Thus, pay this effort forward by extending a hand to someone else who is struggling, whether that’s tutoring a student or volunteering at a homeless shelter. Remind yourself of how good you really have it, and that you have a lot to contribute to the world.
So now you’ve got your idea, your prototype, and are ready to hit the ground running. What are some additional steps you can take to ensure success? Check back on Wednesday for our third and final installment on ‘Becoming an Entrepreneur’.