Many people dream of starting a company and becoming their boss. However, being responsible for the birth of a new company and ensuring that the idea is competitive in the market is far more complex than most would-be entrepreneurs realize. It takes more than just a great idea to start a successful business.
Thomas Kivisto, an energy industry executive from San Clemente, CA, outlines the steps you should take to turn your idea into a viable business, pointing out some of the issues you may encounter.
Step 1: Talk to Colleagues
When you think you have an excellent idea for a new, viable business, the first step you should take is talking it out with a few trusted advisors. Business mentors and colleagues are excellent places to start. It is important to choose honest friends who will not sugar-coat the truth if your idea is not viable.
Having a serious talk with close colleagues will help you determine the major action steps you need to take to get your business off the ground. If you fail to go through this step, you may miss important details that could hamstring your young business before it gets started.
Step 2: Identify the Problem You Are Solving
Every viable business solves a problem for its customer base. For example, a local shoe store provides quality products at a reasonable price and gives people a great alternative to shopping online. If you can’t figure out how your business would help people, the chances are that you do not have a very good idea after all.
Step 3: Gauge Demand and Business Viability
Thomas Kivisto notes that you need to ensure that your ideal customer base and buyer persona exist before getting started. You will need to gauge how much demand there could be for your product. Understanding how companies get off the ground is a complex business, but you can take various steps to assess your business’s viability.
Another factor that you should consider is whether your idea is disruptive among existing competitors. Does your business present a major advantage compared to others in its class? If not, it may not be easy to see why people would want to choose your business over the companies they already patronize.
Step 4: Test Your Idea With a Focus Group
Before spending money on the actual business, engaging with a focus group is a great idea. An established marketing company can help you create one. A focus group can review your company’s prospective offerings and rate how viable they are. The participants can help point out flaws and logical missteps in your business idea, often bringing ideas that you might not have considered until it was too late.
Step 5: Make a Strategic Roadmap and Business Plan
All businesses need to have a robust strategic roadmap and business plan. A business plan is a document that lays out on paper how your company will make money, how it will spend money, how it will be funded, who the principals are, and why investors should consider working with you. Having a great business plan is the first step toward attracting attention to your new company.
Step 6: Build Your Team
You will need to choose your executives and employees next. Look through your networks for people who may be interested in finding new jobs. You can use others’ business networks as well. You will want to make sure that you hire the best people willing to put real work into their new positions. Beware of hiring friends and family members who act like they are doing you a favor by working for you, and don’t expect to put their all into working for your company.
Step 7: Assemble Funding
Getting funding is one of the most difficult and crucial steps in creating a new company from scratch. Your business plan will help you go to lenders and investors and let them know what benefits they can expect if they support you. It is challenging to get funding for a new business, especially if you have no experience in that field. You may need to self-fund your company, at least while starting.
Step 8: Work on Branding and Marketing
Branding is one of the top considerations for starting a new business. Creating a strong, positive brand will help you ensure that your customers know what to expect from your company. All of your actions feed into your brand, and you will want to make sure that your marketing materials, internal company culture, and all other aspects fit in with your message.
Step 9: Continually Improve
The end of this process is just the beginning. It would help if you committed to constantly improving your business based on the new information you receive every day. You will need to fine-tune your staffing, products and services, and how you obtain and spend your funding.
Understanding How to Succeed
There are many paths toward business success, but if you keep these nine steps from Thomas Kivisto in mind, you will have an easier time navigating the difficult process of starting your own company.
Above all, make sure that your dream fits into everyday reality. Creating a new business means that you will continually be trying to prove yourself on the open market. Use these tips to increase your competitive advantage and find out how your ideas can influence the market as a whole.