Posted By Sheryl Thai On 28 October 2016
After sifting through a mountain of ideas for your new business or new product, you’ve finally settled on an idea that has stuck for more than 3 weeks.
“I’m ready”, you tell yourself. Now what.
Starting a new business venture is one of the most exciting parts of entrepreneurship. It’s also incredibly confusing and hard. I mean if it were easy, everyone would do it, right?
After participating in a Find Your Five session this morning, with the topic of Innovation & Manufacturing – I walked away completely inspired. The group of League Members at this session are in the initial stages of forming their businesses and a key challenge came up – I know what I want to do but where do I begin?
Having started quite a few businesses myself – some were profitable, some fell by the wayside, some I’ve still got today. I realised that the experiences of all these different businesses all have a very similar process. In fact, even creating Find Your Five from an idea to execution follows a similar process.
So if you’re struggling to get your idea off the ground or if you’re thinking of delving into a new venture in your existing business here’s 5 things you can do to get started.
1. Let’s go MVP style.
Definition of Minimum Viable Product: the version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
I’ll use the League Member’s example where she wants to release a season collection of clothing onto the market but the issue is that she doesn’t have the capital and resources to do so. So I asked her a question, if you could pick only one key item from your collection that people would love, which would it be? She instinctively said “People love the pair of shorts I’ve designed”. The ultimate shorts. Damn, sign me up! I’m actually going to be her first customer. When you break it down, manufacturing a pair of shorts is easier than creating a whole collection. She can manufacture them herself, with small amount of capital investment and also get direct feedback from customers instantly.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs ask whether they should quit their job and start a business or do it part time whilst keeping their current job. Whilst some might say that you need to burn your boats to win the war, as there’s no going back, I believe moonlighting is a great way to get something started.
Start moonlighting on your new business venture – meaning work on it at night, during weekends and holidays. As an example, prior to losing my IT job I was baking cupcakes every other weekend for the office morning tea and for friends. Get your practise in, test the market, use this time to improve your product and get it right.
3. Tell the world
You don’t need to do a whole big offical launch of your business. Just start telling all your friends and family what you’re working on. If you love creating pom pom earrings (yes they are thing and so awesome!), tell your friends, start a blog or spread it on social media. Give away your products or services as gifts to friends and family. Get business cards made and hand them out.
There are two reasons why this is effective. Firstly, by telling the world you’ve made a pledge and people will start asking you about how your project is coming along. It’s accountability. Secondly, if your friends and family can see how passionate you are about what you’re doing they will support you. They will give you feedback, they will buy from you, they will tell their friends about it. It all starts from somewhere and it starts within the networks you’re in.
4. To make it real schedule it.
Until you set a deadline or schedule a date in, you may never really do it because you chicken out. I suggest booking in a farmers market stall to sell your product, create a launch party even if it’s for your friends and family. Find a way to schedule in a significant date where you will need to launch something even if it is a website.
5. Lastly, scribble out a plan.
Actually, you could probably do this step first. I say scribble because it doesn’t need to be a overly crazy 30 page business or product plan because seriously just thinking about that makes anyone cringe and not want to start. If you want to know what my business plan looked like you can see it here.
Comment and share with us some of the tactics you’ve used to launch a new idea, product or business!
Hope this was helpful.
CEO | League of Extraordinary Women