The world of entrepreneurship is exciting and inspiring- a way to follow your dreams and be your own boss. We all have moments when perusing a store or watching a TV show where we think of a business idea for a startup or a product. We wonder, “why isn’t this already available? I would totally spend my money on that!” - then move on with our day, never to revisit that idea again.
Chances are, that graveyard of business ideas doesn’t see a lot of action. Why is that? There could be many reasons. For instance, many people have a fear of failure when considering starting their own business. Others just get overwhelmed by the next steps. What if we could get you started on the next steps to take? Lend some guidance on how to implement an idea into something palpable? Sound like a plan? Good- we were hoping you’d say yes!
It all starts with an idea
Some people have an idea, and their first instinct is to keep it a secret. We get you don’t want anyone to steal your vision, but the sooner you take action, the better!
So, let’s figure out a few details involving your idea:
Pinpoint your idea- Don’t get overwhelmed by all the possibilities associated with your business idea. For example, say you want to start a pet grooming business. Then you start thinking about offering walking services, pet photography, and even kennel services. All great ideas, but focus on one aspect- your grooming service. Everything else may come later but stick with the basics.
What is the purpose of your idea? Does it solve a problem? Does it address a complaint you (or people you know) have? Is there a need for it?
Has it been done? It’s ok if your idea has already been implemented, but has it been implemented well? Has anyone done it locally? Is your idea bettering an existing product or service? Research online- Google and search on social media. Find out what is already out there and how your vision may be different or better. Look at your competitors! This part can tell you a lot about whether your idea is worthy of pursuit!
Familiarize yourself- Get online and learn everything you can about your idea and the industry it would entail. Find articles, success stories, and any other information relating to your future business. Become the expert!
Do some research
Look at your market- Who would be your target audience? Conduct a focus group and get valuable feedback. Evaluate what is trending through platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, or even TikTok.
Identify potential challenges- What can go wrong? Try to identify challenges similar businesses have faced. Identify why similar companies may have failed. Consider both long and short-term challenges: What problem could you face six months after starting your business? What problem could you face in 2 years? Try to meet implementation with a somewhat cynical mindset- preparation for what could go wrong is much better than being blindsided!
Look at competitors- We’ve mentioned taking a look at the competition before, and this probably won’t be the last mention of it. Understanding what you are competing against is critical! What exactly do they offer, and what kind of pricing do they have? What (in your opinion) do they do well? Where do you feel they need to improve upon with your idea? Look at reviews- what are their customers saying? This all will offer insight on where to place your focus.
Establish an identity
Create a great name
Easy, right? Just kidding, we know there’s no 3-step process to create the best name for your company magically. There’s a lot of pressure in choosing something that fits! And what if you switch gears later on and need to change the name? Here are a few tips to get you started:
✓ Make sure it’s easy to remember and that people won’t have to think too much when pronouncing it.
✓ Make it unique. Again, look at websites and social media to see where your potential name is already in use. Is it overused? Is it used by successful companies selling a completely different product or service? That could get confusing!
✓ Make sure it makes sense. Okay, sure, companies like Apple and Google don’t exactly reflect their services/products in the name. However, as a startup, you’re going to want to choose a name that isn’t entirely off base. Shopify, for instance, is not super literal but relates to what they have to offer: a service where you can set up your eCommerce business.
✓Make sure it isn’t officially taken. Check what domain names are available. There are many ways to check, but if you plan to enter the eCommerce arena, Shopify has an easy and quick search feature for this! Also, check with the US Patent and Trademark Office to see if you can legally stick with your name.
Create a brand
Also not a task you can quickly achieve overnight. But begin to consider: What is your message? What vibe are you trying to convey to your customers? Wix recommends “defining a visual language,” which we thought was a great way to describe establishing a brand. No matter what you choose, you have to apply it consistently so your customers and audience become familiar with your brand. Shopify has a great article on this topic as well.
Hang with us as we continue this process in part 2! Some may say that sequels are never as good as the original, but that’s just not how we roll.