Have you ever been suddenly struck with a genius business idea? It can be quite the journey when turning something scribbled onto a napkin into a fully sustainable company.
I know that each journey to startup success is different. Take these eight fundamental steps for every entrepreneur to set your idea into motion.
1. Figure out what the problem is and how to solve it
Many businesses claim to have solutions, but what specific problem are they really eliminating? Taking a step back from your business idea will help you learn more about its core function. Remember, all successful companies, products, or services enhance the lives of their customers by eliminating a problem.
Also read: Business Planning Process: Launch Your Small Business
2. Identify your market
In a vast sea of consumers, it’s important to spend time figuring out who your ideal user is. With so many different habits and needs to fulfill, your solution should fit into a market and into the lives of people.
Unsuccessfully getting people to understand and want your product or service is one of the biggest startup mistakes to avoid.
3. Find your support
The support of business partners can be incredibly beneficial when you’re first starting out. These people can act as your support system, a sounding board for ideas, and provide evidence to others that you actually have a good idea. The relationships you building with other entrepreneurs will give you access to valuable knowledge. By developing relationships with seasoned entrepreneurs, you will have the opportunity to pick their brains and hear what they have learned from their own experiences of starting a business.
4. Create and plan your financial model
Financial viability is incredibly important to startup success. Develop a “bottom-up” financial model that focuses on how your product or service is created, marketed, and sold to a user. This model will give you insight into the functionality of your business. To verify your projections, develop a “top-down” financial model that allows you to examine the size of your market and what goals you need to reach to turn a profit.
To plan your first phase, gather your team and mentors and map out the foundation of your company: mission, objectives, keys to success, target market, competitive advantage, and basic strategies.
5. Find your source of capital
Money is an important factor to getting your business off the ground. Some great sources of money can be self-funding, money from people you know, credit card, loans, and depending on the amount you need, angel investors or venture capitalists may be beneficial to backing your mission for a portion of the profits.
6. Build the MVP
The minimal viable product (MVP) provides you with the feedback needed before putting your idea on the market. The idea is to create a product that is great (viable), yet has room to improve (minimal). This will allow early adopters to jump on board and provide the feedback needed for improvement.
7. Find the pivot
Early adopter feedback is necessary to learning what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes the feedback ends up being different than anything you’ve expected or planned for. This can lead you to “pivot” your business model, or change a fundamental part of it. This function allows you an attempt to prevent failure by taking what you’ve learned and using it for your new direction. Pivoting is just the recalculation of a new route.
8. Stay positive
The necessary risks of entrepreneurship are often interrupted by self-doubt. While people will question your ideas and your business, it’s important to stay above the negativity, rather than becoming it. Focusing on positivity will make it easier when you eventually do make a mistake or face an obstacle.
The journey to building a sustainable business won’t be like most processes. While there is no guarantee of success, you can adapt your idea and see what works.