Turning your idea into reality
What do you think about this quote by John Maxwell? Ideas have a short shelf life. You must act on them before the expiration date
What was the last great business idea you had? Do you remember it? What did you do with it? Did you write it down? If you’re like most people, you had a great idea, never wrote it down, told a couple of co-workers or your spouse, and let the idea fade away without taking any meaningful action to pursue it. Or maybe you were worried about other people stealing your idea, so you kept it to yourself thinking you’ll pursue it later. But for most of us, that someday never comes.
According to sales expert and personal development guru Brian Tracy, “The average person has four ideas a year, which if anyone is acted on, would make them a millionaire.”
Here’s a step-by-step process for you to follow to validate your business idea and potentially turn it into a revenue-generating business. (With thanks to Joe Sweeney-Social Entrepreneur)
- Decide You are willing to go for it
It’s safe to assume you have had more than one idea about how to start a business or generate a new stream of revenue, right? And why? To help you save up for the down payment on your house, finally leave your 9-to-5 job, turn a hobby into a business, create some financial peace of mind, or take that dream vacation to Europe.
Just for a moment, grab a pen and paper and list 10 reasons you didn’t pursue your last great idea. You have just created a list of self-limiting beliefs. Self-limiting beliefs are part of all of us to some extent, but it is important to recognize them and how they are holding us back.
Take a look at your list, or pick any item off the list above that you relate to, and ask yourself:
- How does this self-limiting belief serve me?
- What is the source of this self-limiting belief?
Now write out an affirmative statement in contrast to your self-limiting belief.
There are a number of reasons that hold us back, but the main reasons we don’t follow through and attempt to turn our great ideas into something more tangible are self-limiting beliefs, the most common of which are:
- Lack of belief in ourselves and our ability to execute.
- Fear of failure.
If you’re not willing to do a simple task of identifying your self-limiting beliefs and working to change them, you will have a hard time turning your idea into money. Decide you’re willing to go for it, eliminate your self-limiting beliefs and charge on!
- Do Things to Help Develop Your Mind and Idea
Once you’ve identified and overcome your self-limiting beliefs, it’s time to start pushing forward on your business and idea. All successful entrepreneurs are disciplined and have a high level of accountability.
Author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield suggests doing five things every single day to push toward your goal. It takes tremendous discipline to start a business or launch a product, so it’s important to stay focused, track your progress, and keep moving forward every day. Day by day, nothing seems to change, but with successful habits everything will change soon enough.
Be a sponge and soak up everything you can about your product, industry, competition, and technology that you can leverage to help grow your idea and accelerate your learning curve.
- Market Validation
Think about this for a moment: How do you know you have a great idea worth pursuing?
You don’t know. There is no way to be sure your idea is a good one.
So how do you figure out if your idea is worth pursuing? One of the most important stages of the lean start-up approach is market validation. What is it and how can it help you turn your idea into a business?
Market validation is talking to potential clients about their problems and pain points and getting ideas for how your idea for a product or service will solve them. The counterintuitive nature of the lean start-up recommends this be done ahead of actually creating the finished product. You may have no product at all and want to validate an idea with your target market, or you may have a prototype to share with them.
The logic of the lean start-up methodology says your customers will tell you what they want the product to do, so rather than you thinking up and building something you hope your customers want, instead you build something that solves the actual pain points of your customers.
- Value Proposition
Once you have gathered sufficient data from your market validation, it’s time to analyse what problem you want to uniquely solve for your customers. It might be that your initial idea was spot on, or more than likely the problem that needs to be solved is a slight variation of your initial idea.
Initially, it will most likely make sense to serve only one niche target market and to go deep into that niche before expanding to other customer segments. It will also help you reduce risk and leverage your potentially small marketing budget to focus on a smaller target market initially.
Be crystal clear on what your value proposition is for the customer segment you intend to serve.
If you didn’t find a pain point that your customers are willing to pay for, you should go back and repeat market validation until you have one. Do not be afraid to be niche. I see far more businesses make the mistake of being too broad and rarely see a business be too niche with their customer market or value proposition.
At the CFE, we would be delighted to help you turn your great business idea into a reality. If you hold to John Maxwell’s quote at the start, and would like some assistance-do contact us. We may be able to add momentum to your idea!