“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”
—Roy T. Bennett
It’s morning—early. You’re sitting in your room with a cup of coffee, forcing yourself awake. You have a few minutes of peace before jumping on your ever-growing to-do list. Suddenly, a sneaky little idea creeps into your mind.
You’ve just thought of a new business concept that wakes you up and truly energizes you. It’s fascinating, unconventional, and intimidating all at the same time.
But is it possible?
Can you really turn your inspiration into a small business that successfully resonates with the right people and, dare I say it, makes good money?
It is possible—with the right tools and strategies. We have some fundamental steps you can take to turn an idea into a business (or discard it so you can move forward in a different direction).
Write down your idea before you lose your initial inspiration and insight.
Dig deeper to develop your idea, identify your target market, and validate your idea with real humans (potential customers).
If your prototype or minimum viable product is a hit, it’s time to act on it. Get your product or service out into the world.
5 steps to turn an idea into a successful business
While your specific journey may look very different from Mindy May’s across the street, there are a few concrete steps every new entrepreneur should take to successfully launch a business.
1. Write it down
First, jot down your idea on a physical (or virtual) sheet of paper. If you don’t, you could lose some of your initial insight and inspiration. There are no right or wrong answers at this point.
2. Dig deeper to develop your idea
You have an idea you’re passionate about and want to see if you can turn it into a real business. To do that, you need to further develop your idea into something a little more concrete and actionable.
For example, let’s say you want to make and sell a new dog toy that will keep pets entertained throughout the day while their owners are working. You can develop your idea by answering the following questions:
Who is the product for?
Why would someone want to buy it from you?
What problem are you trying to solve?
How will you solve the problem?
When and where will your solution be effective?
How are you making someone’s life easier?
What makes your product unique?
3. Find your target audience
Next, you need to ensure there’s a market for your product or service. Start by identifying your target consumers.
Who are they?
Where do they live?
What are their hobbies?
Where do they spend time online and off?
What are their top challenges?
How can you help them solve a problem?
Do some market research online and by interviewing prospective customers. You can fill out a buyer persona profile to find your niche audience. Then make sure your intended customer base is large enough to make your business a worthwhile endeavor.
4. Validate the idea or discard it
Once you understand your product or service in-depth (as much as you can at this stage) and you’ve conducted enough market research, decide whether your idea is worth pursuing. If it’s not? Don’t sweat it. You can always adjust your idea or develop a new one if needed.
To validate your business idea, test it with real potential customers. If you’re considering the dog toy idea, like mentioned earlier, you could create one of the following:
A minimum viable product: A product with just enough features to validate your idea early in the development cycle
A prototype: An actual product containing core features, or something that shows the value of your product (like a PowerPoint presentation)
Share your idea with real people who may be interested in using it someday. This could include your friends, colleagues, family, social media followers, or anyone else in your network.
Note how people respond. Are they excited? Bored? Disinterested? Taking out their wallets to pre-order?
You can conduct focus groups, too, where you ask follow-up questions to determine things like ease of use, necessity, desirability, and more. The answers you receive will help you determine whether to proceed or halt your process (and save yourself a lot of time and money).
5. Act on your idea
The most effective way to do it is to do it.
The last step in our five-step journey to building a successful business is taking action. It may be the most terrifying part. But it can also be the most fun.
A great idea won’t get you anywhere if you don’t act on it. Here’s where perfectionism can get in the way of turning an idea into a business—if you let it. If you’ve made it this far, however, you’re well on your way toward building a beautiful side hustle or small business you’ll love. You’ve already tested your idea and proven its value. Now, you just need to follow through and get it into the world.
Your first offering may not be your best. That’s okay. You can continuously improve your product or service over time as you learn and grow. Right now, the most important thing you can do is begin—and believe in yourself in the process.
Want to tap into a flourishing business model?
Are you ready to start your own side hustle with a flexible schedule and great pay? No, it’s not too good to be true. Whether you’re a college student, a parent with young kids, or an aspiring entrepreneur, Vector Marketing could be an excellent fit for you.