So you’ve got a business idea – now what? Well it’s time to figure out if your idea is viable and worth pursuing. While all of us business owners and innovators feel like our ideas are valuable, the truth is not all ideas make for good businesses. And sometimes our initial idea needs some tweaking before it can be something we move forward with. So today we are going to explore the basic process of assessing if your business idea will float so you can make sure your idea is one worth launching!
5 things your business idea must have in order to be launch worthy
From knowing your customer to doing some beta testing these 5 things will help you assess if you have a great business idea.
Know Your Customers
The only way to be a successful, viable business is to have customers. This might seem obvious, but oftentimes the process of exploring who your customer is gets skipped only to lead to a struggling business. You absolutely need to know who your customers are before you start your business so you can ensure there are people who need your product or service and so you can effectively market. Armed with an identified target audience you’ll be able to position your business where your customers are.
Solve their Problem
It’s essential your business idea solves a problem for your customer. So you need to get very clear on what problem your customers have and how you solve it for them. This is the crux of the purpose of your business.
Understand Your Competition
Almost every business will have competition, you just need to know who they are and what sets you apart from them. You have to do your homework – a simple market analysis is key. Review your competitors’ websites, sign up for their newsletters, follow them on social media, talk to people you know who have engaged with them. Know your competitors and why you are different!
Know Your Market Viability (aka demand)
Do people care about what you have to offer? You can have potential customers, solve a problem and be different from your competitors, but still struggle to be relevant. You need to meet your customers needs & expectations, grow with them and stay up-to-date with our ever evolving world. Here’s a great article on keeping your business relevant. To ensure your idea and business are relevant you need to invest time in doing serious customer research and maintain a commitment to growth & changing with the times.
Before you go all in with your business idea, it’s time for some beta testing. Putting your toe in the water to see how a scaled down version of your business will work is priceless. Not sure what that looks like, we’ve got some great examples below for inspiration.
Beta testing done right
While not all businesses start out small, many of the most successful ones do (or they at least find ways to beta test first). Beta testing gives you the opportunity to pilot your product or service to your target customers in a lower cost/investment way to discover if your concept is truly worth going all in with. Below are some great examples of successful local businesses that started off with a “beta” version of their concept.
Anna & Tyler Dunn of Soulcraft Coffee started with a coffee food truck before investing into a brick and mortar space. They spent time creating a customer base, learning the market and mastering their craft to ensure the launch of a coffee shop in Cookeville’s Westside would be a worthwhile investment.
Meg Borhland of Meg’s Bread got her start selling loaves of sourdough at the Cookeville Green Market and partnered with Back Room Bistro selling them bread for their menu before opening the bakery. In fact, she opened during COVID and started her brick and mortar bakery with pre-orders & pick-ups before eventually opening to the public with regular business hours.
Jess Lewis, our Marketing Director, started her gym back in Chicago by first renting space from a martial art studio during their closed hours before eventually opening her own space. This allowed her to create a client base, understanding what clients wanted and build programs slowly before investing in her own facility.
Does your idea float?
Now that you are equipped with the 5 essential things you need to launch a successful business, it’s time to run your idea through the question processing!
- Who is my customer?
- What problem do I solve for my customer?
- Who are my competitors and what sets me apart from the competition?
- Is there demand for my product/service?
- How can I beta test my product/service?
These are just the basic questions to get your brain exploring the viability of your business idea. It’s a good idea to get out and talk to potential customers as well to do some market research. And if you need help going through this process be sure to attend our upcoming Test It Before You Invest workshop where we will walk you through this and give you valuable feedback in a supportive group environment.