If there is anything to learn from watching Shark Tank, it is that an idea isn’t worth much without people who are ready to buy a product. You will notice the sharks don’t get excited until they hear about the sales revenue generated by a product. They get even more excited when they hear the profit margins are good. So how can you take your business from an idea to success?
Here are some of the secrets to starting a successful business:
The Value of Your Ideas
Before settling on a business name, designing a website or ordering business cards, it is important first to determine the value of your idea. And the way to find out the value of your idea is to go to the market.
Market research will give you a better understanding of your market. Use surveys, focus groups, public information, and even Google trends. If you can, go the lean startup way and come up with the simplest viable version of your product, then go to market with it. If you can convince a couple of people to pay for it, that is a sign that your product has real demand.
For Retail – Location Is Key
Sometimes, it is the location that matters most in the success of a business. This matters more when it comes to retail stores and franchises. People can be lazy, and they may not want to go out of their way to buy from you. If you are opening a grocery store, a beauty store or a McDonald’s franchise, the location may make the most significant impact on your success.
Do You Have a Business Plan?
Business plans are not set in stone. Many business people find themselves going in a completely different direction than they had planned at the beginning. This does not, however, mean that a business plan is useless. Having a plan is essential, even if you might end up changing it later.
As you are writing your business plan, you get an opportunity to think through a lot of practical things. For example, what is your purpose for starting the business? Who are your customers? What are you trying to achieve? Where are you going to get money to finance your operations? How much capital do you need? A business plan explores these and many other questions you might be tempted to ignore in your excitement over starting a new venture.
Too many businesses fail because they are underfunded. The idea may have been good, but they ran out of money before they got to profitability. It costs money to start a business, and you have to be realistic about how much money you need to fuel your business to profitability.
Besides having enough money to float you and your team, you are going to want to have some sort of online payroll software to help you manage payroll and make sure your team members get their paychecks on time. You also want to make sure you are only spending money on necessary tools and supplies. Don’t rent large office space at the beginning, for example. Only rent what you will use and only buy the equipment required to get you started.
Be Flexible, Be Agile
Especially at the beginning, it helps to be as agile as possible. Be quick to modify your product in response to what the market wants, you must adapt to succeed. Be ready to let go of a bad employee. Failure to quickly move away from bad decisions could be fatal – it could mean that by the time you figure out how you should have done it, you have already spent your money, and it is too late to execute better.
Finally, if you have an investor, use him or her as a sounding board. Don’t be satisfied with only the financial support of an investor. Talk often to get his or her perspective on things.