How to develop a good start-up idea

Share these new ideas

IMG_3628 croppedEnis Bacova had a business idea which came to him after he crashed his motorbike and spent 48 hours in a coma.

This Australian business person has designed and launched Rippr which is a web-based loyalty scheme business which rewards people for being social. The concept allows people to create groups which receive rewards from businesses.

Stories like this make you wonder. For possible successes like this one still need to think of the hard part of struggling to get a start-up of the ground. Perfectly developed business plans can be shredded quickly by customer objections or competition. Often there is a lot of advice on how to go about developing your idea into a successful business but information is scant or short on how to turn around or recover from inevitable screw ups.

One small business came up with an online publishing tool but after several months found out that customers were raising problems because they found the platform was too different and difficult. The start-up team built a new version of the product over a few months and then relaunched it.

Starting a new product, service or business venture requires an idea that makes things cheaper, faster or better for potential customers. One flaw in new ideas for businesses is that if they are too unique it might take too much convincing of potential customers to get them to buy. A product or service or online tool needs to be different but for a start-up not so radically different from what is already available on the market.

Another hard lesson start-up entrapreneurs learn is that while they may fall in love with the product development process, ultimately they need to test their product type, concept or initial batch of products in the marketplace. Feedback from potential customers is worth a lot more than surveys or comments and opinions from all sorts of people who are not in the market to buy your product. One sale can make a big difference. Listening to feedback from customers who already bought your product or service is also worth its weight in gold.

Start-ups need to make sure that they have a viable business model which includes both a revenue model and a coherent plan on how to commercialise or make money from their products of service. Using a template to map out your business model such as the business model canvas may help clarify your thinking.

It also important to tackle the tough stuff:

What money do you have available to fund your business idea?
Have you done a full assessment of all the risks involved?
Do you have a backup plan should things go wrong?
Are you sure you are not putting all your eggs in one basket?
Have you put enough time and effort into your marketing plan?
What will be your big idea for your pitch?

As anyone who’s already started a business from scratch will know, there’s a lot more. You need to know the size of your market and target market, recruit a team with the skills, competencies and attitudes relevant to your business, and know exactly how you are you going to reach your target market not only in communicating with them but also the most cost-effective way of distributing a product or service.

If you have at a new idea that you want to develop from idea or concept into a prototype and test it, it might be time to start developing a plan for your product or service. Even if you only scribble a rough plan during a weekend you have a lot more chance of success than keeping it all in your head.

You may also want to try a quick weekend idea accelerator start up seminar online, a workshop or a do-it-yourself program at home. When you’ve got your ideas down on paper let them cool off, perhaps show them to a trusted business adviser and then see how you can revise and hone your plan more effectively.

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