Spotted a gap in the market or think you can enhance a business with your skills and knowledge? We’ve got all you need for developing the business idea you have and making it a success.
A new idea is often the basis for starting a business. For some people getting the idea is the easy part. They know exactly what they want to do and are eager to get on with launching it. For others, they know they want to start a business, but don’t yet have an idea to work with.
If you have decided that you want to start a business, but don’t yet have an idea to work with, the next question to ask yourself is “What sort of business do I want to start?” There are hundreds of options, so let’s look at some of the most common starting points.
- spot a gap in the market and develop a product or service to fill that gap
- improve an existing product or service by doing things in a new, different or better way
- manufacture an existing product by buying in the materials or parts
- distribute products that you buy from a wholesaler, retailer or manufacturer
- build a business around the skills, knowledge and experience you’ve gained in previous roles or through your hobbies
- take up a franchise – a business based on a proven model that has been tried and tested by others in the market
- buy or take over an existing business.
Try to identify the key stages or checkpoints in the development of your idea. Each checkpoint gives you a chance to evaluate the progress of your product or service and decide whether you need to make any changes.
It will also allow you to consider at the end of each stage whether to progress with the idea. Any idea that has no realistic chance of success should be dropped before too much time or money is invested.
Your checkpoints may include:
- designing - turning your idea into a product or service that can actually be sold
- prototyping - creating a useable example of your product or service, which can then be tested
- protecting - applying for a patent if you have invented a product or type of technology
- financing - raising the money you will need to get your business started
- operations - setting up the structure of your business, eg finding a suitable location, hiring staff, etc
- marketing - working out how you will sell your product or service
Product testing is important throughout the design process. While you are developing your product or service it's a good idea to keep testing the market to make sure you are still on the right track. You can do this by using:
- focus groups - ask small groups of your target customers what they want from your product or service
- questionnaires - try to get as wide a sample as possible
- prototypes - show an early version of your product to customers. You may find that your prototype will go through several stages of development as you refine your idea
You may need to respond to suggestions from users by modifying the design. Don't be discouraged, as most successful entrepreneurs do not view this as a failure, but as a learning curve.
For more information you can check out Business Wales here.