The most successful businesses started with great ideas, but great ideas alone are not enough to attain a successful business. Even the most original, exciting concept can fall flat if not properly researched. Too many innovators think creating a business plan is merely putting their ideas into writing, but it takes far more homework to put together the data to support a big business plan.
The idea is the easy part. It may not occur to everyone; it may even be just what the market needs. Sure, you have the knowledge and experience in the industry, but are you taking all the factors and obstacles into account? Knowing that for sure and getting the financial backing behind you will require putting together demographic information on your market. For starters, you can get information from the U.S. Small Business Association. Your business plan should include figures on similar businesses, your potential market, a 5 year budget, a short and long term plan, etc. None of this stuff can be found off the top of your head. You can use a sample business plan to help you organize your ideas and plan out what type of information you need to put together. Investors, whether a bank or people you approach, will need to understand what’s in it for them to put their money on the table. A great idea is not enough to drop a wad of cash down.
The most successful people were put down for their ideas by someone at one time. Their steadfast belief and perseverance led them to their success. But, you can’t just tune out all negative responses. Early responses give you a glimpse of what the larger, public response could be. Early on you have the opportunity to come up with the answers and overcome those obstacles so when you do launch your business, you are ready for whatever gets thrown at you. Cheerleaders are great and they will keep you motivated, but your business will open to people with all different perceptions to your concept and you need to be ready to face them.
Once you have a name for your business, you can secure your domain name to make sure no one grabs it before you have the chance. But, you’ll want to wait until all your bases are covered before you publicize your business. Opening the gate too early, before you’ve figured out all the details, could backfire. Figuring things out as you go is a poor plan and will leave you grasping for answers if you haven’t planned them out beforehand. You want to come across as professional, not give any inkling that you haven’t considered all the possibilities.
Homework, homework, homework. We didn’t like it in school, but it served a purpose. Ideas can’t survive in thin air. They should be grounded with comprehensive research.
Theresa Happe works with NameFind.com where you can find online business tools for finding domain names, available social handles, trademark information and business planning tips.