Having a great idea can be very exciting, you have this feeling that you might have just found a gem.
The follow through is always more difficult. A lot of would-be entrepreneurs with good ideas fail even before they have started. Most times it is gradually finding out the true hardship of starting a business in the real world that forces them to quit before a product even comes to fruition.
There are a few steps you can take to ease yourself into it, so turning your idea into a business doesn’t seem so daunting.
Validate Your Passion for The Idea
Now that you have your idea, the first thing is to truly find out if you have a passion for this idea. The road may not be easy but if your passion for the idea is real, it can become something. So painfully ask yourself if you have what it would take to follow through.
Turn The Business Idea Into a Solution
The most vital thing of about any successful business is the problem it solves. Businesses will claim they offer a service when in truth the core of their business is generic. You have to find a specific problem your idea can solve. Jumia found out that a lot of people like the idea of being able to buy things without leaving their homes, they had seen in work with companies like Amazon and then an e-commerce giant was born in Africa.
Find Out “Who Needs This?” (Your Market)
Defining your exact target audience (TA) is a key step when you’re trying to start a business. You need to do research on what market you are going to be playing in. Map out what kind of people would find this useful and actually appreciate it. Specificity is key.
Gather Data on Your Market (find your entry)
Now that you have figured out your TA, now you need a good amount of information on them. Find out things like their spending/buying behaviour. Get information on how they would interact with your business. Researching on the way they interact with similar businesses is also vital because this would help you carve out a space for yourself. If your idea is totally unique also find out how other businesses started and broke into the market.
Find Your Support Team
This is your idea and you might feel the need to take full responsibility for it, but having partners helps a lot. Your support team can be a partner who finds the business idea interesting and decides to venture into it with you or it might be someone who would help with the logistics. Either way, you should not go into this all by yourself.
Create a Business Model & Growth Plan
Your market research is ready and your team is in place. Now you need to create a model for how your business will operate and penetrate into the market. Talking to and taking advice from people who know a bit about marketing and financial planning can help out a lot here. You want to take the time to fashion out your mission, vision, objectives and road to market. Once your model is done you should measure your market and make financial projections of what your reach would need to be for you to make a profit. You should be realistic with your profit projections which means your plan should make room for a few years.
Test The Waters (Invest N5000)
For curiosity and measurements sake, you should try to make a prototype and see how it would do in the market. So find the cost of production for your product or how much it would take to render your service. Keep in mind, N5000 naira is only a suggestion, but invest whatever is comfortable for you to do a test run. Do a bit of marketing, make a social media post, send out a broadcast or pay for a small sponsored ad on a platform you are comfortable with or even a google ad. See how people respond to it, it will help you as you go along.
Source for Capital
Sourcing for capital is another place where new entrepreneurs tend to miss it. Most people think they have to get a huge chunk of investment before they can start. A big investment is what you should aim for or work towards only based on the projections and business model you have laid down. There are many ways you can get investment. If you have an enticing offer with the promise of feasible profits, people will be willing to grant you funding. A popular way is getting loans, read How To Get A Business Loan From Banks And Other Institutions in Nigeria for more on this. Furthermore, you should take advantage of the opportunities around you. Discuss your idea with friends, family, associates and others, they might find it interesting enough to invest in it.
Talk to Proven Entrepreneurs
The value of listening to stories cannot be overstated. Try as much as you can to get into discussions with successful and even unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Set up meetings, ask someone who knows someone. Simply make sure get as many stories as you can. This will help you take advantage of the things they got right and avoid places where they went wrong. Remember that the key thing here is LISTENING and not talking, soak up as much information as you can.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
There is no avoiding the fact that things might get tough along the way, but you need to keep a positive mindset. Try to motivate yourself as much as you can. Surround yourself with people who believe in your business idea. A lot of people will project negativity towards you and tell you it’s not worth going after. Try to focus on why you started in the first place and let your vision inspire you.