Ah, that magical “aha moment.” It might come to you after weeks of long brainstorming sessions, or during a morning jog. It doesn’t matter when or how the business idea hits you, what matters is what you do next.
Follow the steps below to turn your lightbulb moment into a solid business in the making.
Research the market, research competitors
The first most crucial step is to Google your business idea along with potential business names. See who else is in the market, and whether any components have been trademarked. Your business need not be the first of its kind–but it must have a key differentiator that will make you better than the competition. Don’t just research direct competitors, but complementary businesses as well. These related establishments might serve as good partners in the future, be it for pop-up shops, conferences or social media giveaways.
If you don’t immediately detect any competitors, ask yourself why and do further research. Have others tried and failed? Did other similar companies go out of business? Why? Be thorough in your research so you could be realistic about your vision.
Research deeper. Understand the market size, the demographics and market trends that would affect your field..
Talk it over with your trusted network
Don’t keep your business idea top secret. Meet with trusted professional peers, mentors and allies to help you refine your business, especially if they have expertise in your target industry. Ask them if your idea has potential, what it needs to get off the ground, and whether they would pay for such a product or service. Don’t be afraid to let them point out any flaws or holes in your plan. Honest feedback can be difficult to swallow but it will only strengthen your business prior to launch.
Draft a business plan
Whether it is a formal or informal business plan, drafting one will allow you to synthesize your roadmap to success. The business plan will also come in handy if you need to pitch to investors or raise funds. In the document, outline the operational goals, financial projections and what success will look like in one year as well as five years. Articulate what makes your business special, be it the proprietary technology or founding story.
Test the market
A huge part of testing the market is simply talking to target customers.Validate your product or service by making sure it indeed offers a solution. Present them with a prototype or pitch deck and proactively listen to their feedback.
How do you reach potential customers? You can go the old-fashioned route by knocking on doors, or cold-calling. Paying testers via a focus group can also be effective. You can also get more creative, like setting up a pop-up shop or hosting a live Q&A session on social media.
Ask potential customers about their favorite features, as well as guidance on prices. How much would they pay for your product? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Establish yourself online
Before raising funds or applying for a business loan, claim your business name, as well the website domain and social media platforms. You want all the account names to match and be consistent across the board, so aim to do this all at once. It will be difficult to operate and grow online if your URL and social media profiles have different names.
Creating and claiming a web domain might be the most important step in making your business idea a reality. Think of it as a prototype. A simple website can represent everything your new business is all about. You can use it as a hub to collect e-mail addresses of potential customers, so when it comes time to launch, you are already a few steps ahead. The bottom line is that a .biz web address is a domain that grows with you. It is highly memorable and stands out in a digital landscape filled with more common domains. The .biz domain is designed to support businesses of all shapes and sizes, in every corner of the world.