Everyone has a good idea for a business now and then, but how many of us act on them? Sometimes it is the simplest ideas that can ultimately be the most profitable, so if you’ve had a concept rattling around in your head for some time why not try to turn it into a reality? Many people are intimidated by the idea of starting their own business – thinking they are not ‘business people’ – but actually anyone can do it if they have the dedication and patience required to get it off the ground. Here are some of the steps to take:
Understand the Market: Every business idea will appeal to certain kind of market, so the first thing to do is to work out what kind of audience there is for your product or service? Is it something for young people? Professionals? Are you targeting certain kinds of occasions such as the wedding market? Whichever it is, once you have identified your sector you need to understand it. What do customers in this field want and expect? Is there a gap in the market for your idea to flourish, or does it need to be adapted a little to give it that competitive edge? There’s no point wading in there with a new business until you have assessed your chances for success based on market research.
Costing: Now is the time to get down to the nitty gritty, and for this you may need to take some kind of business course if figures aren’t your thing. How much will it cost to manufacture your product or provide your service? It’s no good working out general amounts – you need to be very specific and realistic about the kind of capital you will need. In addition to manufacturing, this should cover marketing and any other start-up costs. You will then need to work out a margin that will cover your costs and ensure you make a reasonable profit. This is about striking a balance between offering a competitive price and making enough money for your business to be viable.
Test It: Before you go into full production it’s important to have a few test runs to see what people think. This way you can iron out any problems or make improvements before you’ve had to invest too much money. Post videos or photos on social media to get feedback or offer free samples to a test audience. If you get enough positive responses, only then can you begin to think about manufacturing on a larger scale. Find a marketing expert to help you at this stage: they will show you how to build up interest in your business so you can really hit the ground running.
Small Beginnings: Even when you do begin to manufacture larger runs of products to sell in your shop or online, it’s always a good idea to start small. Begin by selling a few items or getting a few bookings and this will help you to build up an idea of how much turnover you can expect. If your idea really is good enough then hopefully your sales will grow as word of mouth gets out. But the last thing you want is a warehouse full of goods you can’t sell. Also, keep it simple to begin with. Don’t try to increase your product range until you’ve got the business off the ground. If you find sales are good, then it might be a good idea to start thinking about expanding your range to keep it fresh and innovative.