All About Start-up IDEAS: Essential Steps to Evaluating Yourself & Business Idea

Starting a business takes time and energy, and one must undergo periods of extended self-reflection to find a business idea that’s both realistic and viable. 

Better yet, once you have a good idea, how can you be sure it will blossom into a successful venture? These early planning stages are essential. Don’t skimp on brainstorming, and put your ideas to the following test. 

Start by analysing yourself and your strengths. What interests you? What are you naturally good at? 

  • What are you good at? If you’re the go-to person for certain chores or tasks, this might be a golden opportunity to turn that skill or talent into a business. However, it’s important to choose something you are passionate about and can see yourself doing day in & day out.

  • What do others tell you that you’re good at? Maybe you have a hidden talent that others see in you that you never thought of as a big deal. If this is the case and that skill is something you could see yourself doing more of, it could be a great business idea. 

  • What service do you wish existed that currently doesn’t? This happens all the time. You search the app store looking for something specific, thinking that it certainly exists, only to find it doesn’t. This is your chance. You could pair up with an app designer or create an app yourself that could benefit people like you all over the world. Another way to think about it is what problem exists that needs a solution? Some of the most successful businesses are ones with products or services that solve problems for others.

Explore sources to spark new ideas

Sometimes you need a source of inspiration to spur that light bulb moment. Try and find inspiration in the world around you. Here are four places to look for inspiration: 

  • Study successful entrepreneurs. It’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where the great entrepreneurs before you have been. Read origin stories and study successful business titans. How did they come up with their business idea? What advice do they have to up-and-coming entrepreneurs? Learn all you can before you embark on your journey. 
  • Use your smartphone. If you know you want to create an app, but you’re not sure exactly what you want to create, search through the app store. Search categories of interest. Do you notice whether anything is missing or how apps in that category could be improved? 
  • Can you find similar products or services using search engines? The internet is incredibly helpful when it comes to finding products and services that you are in the market for. But have you ever searched and searched for something, and not been able to find it? 

  • Turn to social media. People on social media are often quick to identify issues and problems they have with current products, places, processes, etc., but few take the time to come up with a solution. Reading through people’s grievances can give you great insight into problems other people have that you can solve. Online review sites can offer the same.

Identify the Need

What is the mission of your business? What is the need in the marketplace that you’re filling and is it something that will appeal to a large portion of the population? Have you ever received a survey from a company asking you what you think of a product and if you would be likely to purchase the product and for how much?. This is the first step in market analysis

Differentiation

How is your business different from others in the marketplace? If you have competitors, what will make somebody come to your business instead of your competitor? Successful businesses have a USP or unique selling point that is used as the cornerstone of the business. The more you blend in the more you directly compete with others.

Market Analysis

Is there a sizable niche market for it?

Without a large enough market, your idea may never get off the ground. You need to determine if a niche market exists for your idea. You’re better poised for success if your business improves upon what’s already out there – a novel response to a recognized need.

Specifically, how big is your market? Does it include both males and females and people of all races and religions? How fast is the market growing or contracting?

If you design a product or service that only appeals to a small niche market, it will be difficult to gain enough market share to sustain a profitable business. It will also take a significant amount of advertising funds to find the people that comprise the niche market.

Cost Analysis

How much will it take to open your business? If you have family obligations, you’ll probably have to pay yourself, adding additional costs to your budget. How will you get the money? 

Market Share

Based on your market analysis, how much of a market share do your competitors currently hold? What is left over for you or what is your strategy for taking share from them? Your business may have broad market appeal, but if the market is already saturated, the battle to gain customers may be too expensive.

Start-ups trying to manufacture new automobiles have found it exceedingly difficult to take market share from existing car companies. Evaluate whether that’s a battle worth fighting and if you have the funds to fight it.

Are you passionate enough about it?

Your business will likely consume all of your time, so make sure you’re passionate about it to make it successful. Your idea must be something you truly care about, not just something you’ve targeted because it seems like it could be lucrative.

Strategic Analysis Tools

These tools work by using a matrix to encourage you to think of potential internal and external factors that could affect your business.

SWOT

A SWOT analysis involves analysing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for your business or idea. The articles and tools in this section will help you ask the right questions to create a useful SWOT.

PEST

A PEST analysis takes a more global strategic perspective, examining factors such as the Political, Economic, Social, and Technological climate your business will need to navigate. The more expanded version, the PESTLE, includes all of the above factors but adds on Legal and Environmental. Those are a great addition for any business considering a green business model.

Evaluating your business idea with 10 Queries

Researching your business idea

Make sure the business fits your unique skills and experience

The Bottom Line

Stop talking and start writing. Talking about an idea before doing some initial processing on paper tricks our brains into thinking that we are doing something about the concept

As an entrepreneur, your dream is likely centred on being one of those $1 billion or more businesses, but remember that many businesses fail and that’s largely due to poor planning. Before investing a large amount of money in your business idea, create a plan and make sure that your idea is something that customers would be excited about purchasing. There are plenty of great opportunities waiting for a small business owner who follows a business start-up system

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