Exploring Your Business Plan Series

The first step in the process of planning your business is asking yourself if your business idea is a good one. Your business idea must be one of two things: something people already want but can’t get or something you can convince them they want. Many new entrepreneurs fall in love with a concept before thoroughly exploring the idea. Our advice: Don’t fall in love with a business idea, fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve.

Danger Number 1: You Won’t Want to Accept Change

Resisting advice and criticism can cause a business to fail. If you can’t accept feedback from friends, family and mentors, how will you hear it from the market?

When you are in love with your business idea, change is a hard pill to swallow. A new business idea should balance between testing and feedback even in the market so you can collect any feedback from consumers and adjust your product to the best possible concept.

  1. Ask for Help
  2. Listen to Feedback
  3. Have an Open Mind

The importance of being able to pivot is needed greatly when creating a business and significant in the role of perfecting your business idea. Did you know Starbucks originally began as a business selling espresso makers and coffee beans rather than what it is famously known for on every street corner today- selling coffee? Howard Shultz, President and CEO, transformed his business plan and idea years later into what it is now. Because Shultz had an open mind and saw the potential of a new business idea, he transformed this business into what is now an 84-billion-dollar company.

An entrepreneur who is too confident is an entrepreneur who is not set up for success. You must not only accept change but welcome it. Welcome change and allow it to better your business and better yourself. Ask yourself “Why am I building this,” “What is the goal,” and “What data do I have to support this?”

Danger Number 2: “No” Is Not Something You Want To Hear

Often love can make you blind. When you fall in love with a business idea too soon it can hold you back and let you miss better ideas. “No” is a very powerful word, “no” can help you grow. Compare it to that friend who doesn’t see the red flags in a relationship and is therefore held back and doesn’t reach full potential. Don’t let your business become that friend. Let other people’s “no’s” reroute you toward a greater success. There are more fish in the sea, there are more business ideas, just don’t give up. Don’t allow your business idea to fall into danger with these three pieces of advice:

  1. Have an Open Mind
  2. Listen to Others
  3. Be Adaptable

All entrepreneurs are inevitably going to hear “no” often and you must be able to persevere through that every time someone turns you down. Every “no” is a buffer to not waste your time. If you listen to others and adapt, you won’t lose time down the road having to completely start from scratch.

Danger Number 3: You Won’t Put Customers First

In order for your business idea to become successful it has to be something people already want but can’t get or something you can convince them they want. If you already love your business idea, you won’t see the need to test your business idea or product. It’s important to think about your consumers before you even build out your plan. You will want to make sure that there actually is a need for your business before you invest time and money into the next steps. There are a few ways to test your business idea before you fall in love with it:

  1. Find Groups on Social Media
  2. Create a Focus Group

Through the groups on social media and the focus group, ask the consumers the 5 Ws.

Who: Who are they: Demographic, Interests, Etc?

What: What do they want to purchase-What are they looking for?

When: When would they buy your product: Often- Rarely-All the time?

Where: Where would they buy your product: Online-In store (Any specific location)?

Why: Why would they buy your product: What is their need?

Testing your business idea can’t guarantee success but it will give you a clearer vision into what to expect within your model and notify you of any changes that should be implemented.

Danger Number 4: You Give Up Too Soon

You are in love with your new business idea and can’t wait to hit the ground running. It’s normal and expected to be excited and overwhelmed about your new idea but being too excited can cause danger. Any solid business idea is well-thought through and typically not a fast-moving process. You need to allow time to reflect on several important aspects before you let yourself fall in love:

  1. Determine your Purpose
  2. Identify your Target Market
  3. Explore Financing Options

The reality is, if you don’t think through all the aspects of your business concept, you could be setting yourself up for heartache down the road. Starting and owning a business is no easy task, so make sure you’re fully prepared. Stick with it!

The key is to not give up. Walt Disney failed many times: he was fired from a newspaper job and then his first animation studio went bankrupt. However, he picked up the pieces of his failures, determined a new purpose and overcame all the obstacles to create the infamous entertainment company- Walt Disney Company.

It’s great to form a business idea around something you are passionate about. Create an idea with a problem in mind that you can provide a resolution to and that you can help consumers’ overcome their challenges. Remember, don’t fall in love with a business idea, fall in love with the problem you’re trying to solve. Don’t let love blind you but seek advice from other entrepreneurs, friends and even your intended target market. There are always resources to help you. Plug into local events like the Blue Sky Business Modeling Workshop which is a great place to plug into resources when you’re brainstorming an idea.