So you have a business idea? Well done you! Seriously – well done you. I say this because that is the first step in this exciting journey that you are about to embark on.

Is it a new product or service innovation? By this I mean, is it something that will satisfy the pain points and frustrations of your ideal client or audience? Don’t get me wrong – ideas these days do  not have to be a completely new at all. It could be a timeless model that has been round for centuries but you have just added your own unique ingredient to it to make it taste that little bit better.

In fact some of the best businesses around today are not completely new innovative ideas at all but their business owners knew how to gain competitive advantage by slightly differentiating themselves from all the others in the same industry, not at a cost them but rather at a clear advantage.

There is a tough process to go through as soon as you reach that A-HA moment. Charlotte and I have been there and will late it our bare to you. Once you’ve gone through the brainstorming stage, it’s then time to face reality and work out whether your idea is a viable option. You have to be completely thorough in your assessment: if the figures don’t add up, chances are it’s not going to work out. Don’t be disheartened, though – if you’ve already had one idea, there will be plenty more where that came from. There’s always the art of PIVOTING once you actually get your business idea up and running but I will save that topic for another day and actually invite a guest blogger along to share his experiences of how to best PIVOT when you are running a business which just does not work for you!

So what really makes a good business idea

1. Testing the Market

Once you’ve come up with your winning idea, and have peeled yourself off the ceiling from all that celebration –  you need to quickly starting thinking about whether there is a market for it? Is there really a demand for your product or service innovation or are you just making up the demand in your head? It happens so I thought I would mention it.

To test demand – you need to conduct extensive market research – find out how many people would buy into your idea, what the competition is like and what your customers will be like. Will they be able to afford your product or service? Focus groups either face to face or online via facebook groups and conducting surveys via survey monkey are all great way to reach out to many to feedback on your “winning” idea.

Do you really know how to identify or find your ideal client or audience. Most entrepreneur start out thinking that they do but in actual reality they don’t. Methods such as the client avatar are a good way to narrow in your ideal client’s pain points and frustrations and helps you to get into their head and start thinking about how they behave or how they think when a new product or service is thrust their way.

2. Create a business plan

Just like the house you live in is built upon strong foundations – so too must your business. In order for every good idea to come to fruition – it needs to have a clear set of  blueprints, so don’t start a business without a plan. Your road map. This is going to be a LIVE document which you will keep referring to as your business grows or takes another shape. Write it in such a way that you provide clear direction and contingencies in the case of unexpected events. Your live business plan document can also be vital in securing investment.

This is where all the other bits can come into play – like legal structures, logo and branding design, yearly forecasts etc, Writing a business plan warrants a whole new blog in itself. Charlotte and I have done some video training on this and

3. Do the figures add up?

Look at figures from competitors to work out what sort of demand you will have. What will your production costs be like, and how much will you need to charge for your offering to make it viable? Will your target customers be able to afford it? What will your margins be like? How much repeat customers will you get?

4. A good idea gives the business room to grow.

Don’t just latch on to a trend – your business needs to be more than a one-trick pony if you want it to expand and flourish. Try to forecast how the market will look in one, two and five years – will there be as much demand for your product or service then?

5. Not reinventing the wheel?

Your business idea doesn’t need to be new, but it does need to distinguish itself from the but it does need to distinguish itself from the competition. Have you checked whether it is a unique idea? Ask yourself whether you have defined all your strong unique selling points (USPs) for your business to prevent this from happening. Look at your competitors’ weaknesses and build on that. Could you add value by offering a wider range or better customer service?

I will leave you all with this takeaway – starting a new business is like climbing a mountain. From the very bottom, the journey ahead of you may look daunting or even impossible but with thorough planning and setting clear goals and milestones, you will find that you will soon reach the top with ease.

Do not just start a new business purely to make money, as through experience of watching others in my network there’s a good chance it will fail. To start a successful business, you need to be absolutely passionate about your proposition so you are committed to steering it through the good times as well as the bad.

“To be successful in business, you need to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart”.


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