The one idea mistake you can’t afford to make in your planning

A couple started a hand and body lotion manufacturing business, which is still going well after a number of years. They started selling at Saturday morning markets, found there was a demand for the product and started developing their business. Now, they still sell to Saturday morning markets but also have stockists at retail stores and sell online.

This is a success story. But it doesn’t always happen this way. We know that the majority of new business ideas fail. Why is this so and what can you do about it? What can you do to ensure that your promising business idea will produce results?

The short answer is to do your homework. But what does this really entail? Unless you know what to do, you could follow the route of so many other one-be start-up ventures and land up with egg on your face. It’s no laughing matter. You would have wasted your time, energy, resources and perhaps feel embarrassed and disillusioned.

Before you even produce a sample or prototype, you need to check if there is a market for your idea. This may involve formal or informal research. You need to check in the existing marketplace to see what products are available and also do searches online to find out if such products or services are available. Depending on the nature of your product or service, you would probably also want to look for advertisements for similar products in general or specialised magazines.

Next up, would be to evaluate your idea to determine if it is attractive. What is your unique selling proposition? What benefits are potential customers looking for? How will your product or service offering reduce perceived risk, especially if you are a small business. Unknown, untried and untested? There are just too many products on the market to leave this step to chance.

An important stage is to test your idea to see if there is demand. This may involve producing a sample or prototype that you may want to take out into your defined niche market and test for buying intention. It’s no use receiving opinions and comments about how good your product is – the only thing that really counts is if people are willing to buy. The best form of testing involves actual purchases.

A stage that is often overlooked is feasibility planning to determine if you could establish a business based on your idea. Here you would look at a source of local suppliers, whether you have to manufacture the product yourself or not, how and where you are going to distribute it and whether you can do it on your own or need others to help you. I think this is an important step before producing a business plan because it gives you a rough guide of critical areas.

You would then prepare a business case for introducing your product or service, which would include a marketing and sales plan. Whether you are introducing a new craft beer, body or hand lotion or a specialised pet care service, it makes sense to come up with a brief business plan to help minimise your personal risk. Some may scoff at written down business plans, but how can you keep all the details in your head without forgetting important elements?

Next time you come up with an exciting new business opportunity. Don’t make the number one idea mistake which is not to do your homework beforehand. Get ready for your biggest step towards generating and implementing your own ideas for success. Why not use proven sources to build and target a product or side income asset of your own? Click on the books page to order your copy of “Breakthrough Ideas” now.

5 questions to ask yourself before underestimating the demands of starting a small business

IMG-20141229-00144A restaurant business started a few months ago in the premises where a national food chain had vacated. The new small business came in with a line of flame-called chickens and the owner was excited to fill the gap left by the larger chain operation. The service at the new small restaurant and takeaway business was excellent, the food reasonably priced and tasty although perhaps not as good as the national chain store that had left. Continue reading “5 questions to ask yourself before underestimating the demands of starting a small business”

No shortage of opportunities, only a shortage of imagination

Your Imagination
Your Imagination (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Think of all the new products and services that have come about over the past five years. Products for the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, the home office and small business tools. All these products and services were initially conceived in the minds of people who used their imagination to think up new ideas. In the next five years there will be many more new products and services for the home, working environment, entertainment and sports field. Many of these products and services will come from the imaginations of entrepreneurs who’ve taken the time to explore their world and people around them and have come up with new solutions to problems and challenges.

You see, there isn’t a shortage of opportunities but a shortage of imagination. Whether you use your imagination to come up with a new product or service, many others will do so because of the opportunities that abound. If you took yourself back five years or even further into the past, and looked ahead over the years to where you are right now, you would be amazed at the number of products and services that have been introduced into the market over this time. As a famous entrepreneur said, they is no shortage of opportunity, only shortage of imagination. Continue reading “No shortage of opportunities, only a shortage of imagination”

It starts with a small step

Manuel F. Guerrero, U.S. Marine Corps – This Image was released by the United States Marine Corps.

Scary events when you are a child stand out forever in your mind. When I was a young boy, probably around five or six years old, my parents went on a trip to Witsands near the Breede River in the Western Cape Province. On route there a car passed us at a terrifying speed. My father said to my mother that the driver in the car was being reckless driving at that speed. Not so long afterwards, we came across the same car. It was lying across the road upside down in the ditch with its wheels still spinning. The driver and passenger were dead. Continue reading “It starts with a small step”

Is your idea ready for liftoff?

Oscar Pistorius trialThe Oscar Pistorius trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria seems to be the topic of conversation just about everywhere. DJs on the radio are talking about the hidden beauties in the legal teams, social media is buzzing constantly with comments and jokes and in the bars in the evenings some fantastic theories are being concocted on what really happened on that fateful Valentine’s night a year ago.

One of the things about the trial that interested me was a story in one of the weekly magazines that showed how much time that legal teams take to thoroughly prepare witnesses for a case. In a big stressful case like this the credibility of witnesses is vital. Witnesses, some of the criminal law specialists said, must go through their testimony clearly so that everyone can understand and mustn’t say more than necessary either. Continue reading “Is your idea ready for liftoff?”

How prepared are you to face rocks in the road?

On the road through the Karoo. Photo: Chesney Bradshaw
On the road through the Karoo. Photo: Chesney Bradshaw

On our return journey from holidaying at the coast in Cape Town we came across more than 10 stop-and-go sections on the national highway where we had to wait for a minimum of at least 10 minutes at a time. Our journey was supposed to last 10 hours of driving through the Karoo but ended up being over 12 hours.

The roads from Johannesburg to Cape Town were free of any stop-and-go sections because this was just after the Christmas period. There was little traffic on the road and driving flowed smoothly and easily without any obstacles. Continue reading “How prepared are you to face rocks in the road?”