Founder of Hence, Repeat, RCCL, Mesmerise and Marsfields.
Testing your business idea is a basic skin a bones method to gaining an insight into the potential success of your venture. Recognising the challenges your business may throw at you and not being blinded by your emotions is an important step that some small business owners have a tendency to miss out on.
When you decide to start your own business and become a self-employed entrepreneur, you will have autonomy over your working life. This includes your schedules, your work-life balance, creating your own working culture, but the goal is to turn around a profit. If you are someone who has the tendency to start something and be really enthusiastic about it and then reach a plateau and give up, you may need to do some evaluation on your business idea because longevity and consistency is the name of the game.
The challenges that come paired with running your own business are synonymous with you having the self-motivation to get stuff done. You will have no boss or ultimatums, the work you put in will directly affect the results and you only have yourself to answer to. Any unpaid invoices, it’s on you to chase them, want to reach a new target audience, it’s up to you to action a strategy. There’s no shame in not wanting to take on that responsibility, but you have to be transparent with yourself about if your business idea is something you will truly be committed to.
There are a range of gaps in a range of different markets and the accessibility of the world means that many business ideas are already being executed. However this does not mean that there isn’t room for your business idea on the market, but you do need to establish what makes your business desirable and stand out from your competition. For example, if you are a video editor and want to become self-employed, what types of video editing do you specialise in, is there software that is a niche to your industry that you are an expert in? Really take the opportunity before you launch to pick at your business and really hone in on what you have to offer and do plenty of research on your industry and competition.
Do you know your business idea enough to communicate it in the most basic terms to someone who has no idea what it is you are actioning? If the answer is no, then you need to go back to the drawing board. Communicating your business idea is key when it comes to outlining your business to potential customers or clients. This could also mean getting your pitch ironed out. If you are going to be taking your business idea to a panel of potential investors, will your vision be clear to them? You have to be acutely aware that not everyone will know what is going on inside your head, you have to be reliant on the way you are able to communicate your business idea and make sure that it is clear. You can practise outlining your business brief to someone outside of your sector, try it with people who would have a neutral opinion or someone who you know will be honest with you and give you constructive feedback.
If you feel that when it comes to describing your business you get a bit hazy or that your explanation is long-winded, then try to write down the main attributes of your business and what the goal of the business is. Start with the basics, is it a product or service? Who will it help and what is your expertise? Once you have the basic bones of your business pitch you can then flesh it out for your personal business.
Do you know who your target audience is? Can you outline the demographic and interests of the people you want interested in your business? If the answer is no, then this is vital to the success of your business idea. If you want to launch a mobile app, for example, can you outline what your users will turn to the app for and does it meet your target audience’s needs? Asking yourself the hard-hitting questions when it comes to your target audience is vital as it will dictate how you present and market your idea.
Putting your business idea through a thorough stress test will only ensure that you identify any potential issues you may face, but will give you the opportunity to outline any elements of your business that you may not have thought of previously. Consider a business stress test as a preliminary step for your launch, and it’s important to action it.
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