It’s on your mind – that rock-solid idea you think will turn you into a successful entrepreneur. You’ve made a mental note of all the ways it’ll help your target audience, jotted down a cool brand name, and you’re picturing yourself giving a TED talk about your journey.
But as enticing as it sounds to be an entrepreneur, it’s risky business, literally. In 2021, as most businesses will have pivoted online to accommodate the effects of a global pandemic, there are some important things to consider before you embark upon your entrepreneurial journey.
Before you invest all your money, time, and resources into your business idea, it’s important to know whether it holds ground.
So, how do you know that you have a successful business idea?
It is unique
Well, this one’s a given. But many people think that the product has to be completely out of the box for it to be good, which is not true! Your product can be similar to others in the market, but what makes it stand out is how it is presented. Uber and Ola, for example, sell the same service, but what makes a person prefer one over the other could be the pricing strategy; a modified target market; different features, benefits, and discounts, or the branding.
The idea is to find a niche target group in the market and work to satisfy their needs.
For example, I’d say that I pick Ola when I want to travel long distances because their short-distance rides are expensive compared to Uber. But I’d pick Uber for my rides generally because I think of it as safer for me as a woman.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s good to have some competition in the segment you want to enter. Why? If you’re going in with something completely new, the stakes and risks are higher.
When you have competition, you’re already aware of how the market is reacting to the product. Besides, you can discover your niche by understanding your competitors better!
Ask yourself these questions when you’re thinking about your product:
- Do I have competitors?
- Are my competitors making profits?
- What does my product have that the competitors’ products don’t?
If you have detailed answers for each of these and you’re confident about what you’re offering, you have a solid business idea!
It solves a problem
The mark of a good product or service is its ability to make life easier.
Will your product solve a problem? Will it make a long process shorter? Will it add value and be convenient? If your answer is yes, your business idea is solid.
To ensure that your product solves a problem, ask yourself these three questions:
- Is it solving a real problem?
- What are the top 3 uses of my product other than its intended purpose?
- Do I have the data to support my purpose?
Get into the nitty-gritties of your product to establish its use other than the intended purpose.
That said, the Times Network has a little something for those of us starting our own ventures:
It is simple and specific
The easier your product is to understand and use, the better. Your idea can be grand, but your customers won’t be using your idea; they’ll be using your product and decide if they want to use it again. Your product’s purpose should be easy to define, and it should solve a specific problem of your target market.
One of the biggest problems that arose during the pandemic was the restricted access to alcohol. When liquor shops opened, the long queues and fear of the spreading virus caused many shops to close down again. Zomato, during this time, devised an alcohol delivery option for its patrons along with food and groceries. This is an example of an idea that is simple and solves a specific problem.
When thinking about your product, think about your grandmother – would she understand the product you’ve made if you explained it to her? If your answer is yes, your business idea is solid.
It is scalable
You don’t have to worry about how far and how long you want to go with your product at the moment. What you do need to have an idea about is the potential of your product.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Can I list three uses of my product that aren’t related to its current purpose?
- Will I be able to modify the product in the future, if need be?
- Will this product be appealing to people who aren’t a part of my demographic? If yes, how?
- Will I be able to procure raw material for this product outside of my vicinity?
The pandemic proved to be a situation where many businesses had to adjust; a lot of them managed to emerge victorious. Dating apps like Hinge and Bumble, for example, decided to pivot with the times and introduced an online date feature where two matches who were willing could go on a virtual date on the app via video.
A successful business is one that can scale beyond what you’ve imagined, and as an entrepreneur, you must be able to look into the future and find a place for your product in it.
If you’ve answered the above questions positively, your idea is solid.
It’s profitable in the future
This one’s important to think about as well. You don’t want to put in your time and effort into something that won’t give you returns.
Entrepreneurs usually have a basic idea about whether their product or service is profitable; research and SWOT analysis helps.
Some things you should think about to understand the profitability of your business are:
Map out the financial aspects – How much money you’re going to put in, for how long, and approximately when you’ll start breaking even.
Draw out your ideal customers – Who are they? What do they do for a living? How will this product help them? Are they willing to shell out the kind of money you want?
Understand your competition – What are they doing? How are they dominating the industry?
Define your USP (unique selling proposition) – How is your product better?
These things will give you an idea about when you’re likely going to start to make a profit.
You’re passionate about your idea
This may sound corny, which it is – after all, if your heart’s not in it, your business idea won’t succeed. Look beyond numbers and profit margins and really ask yourself – why am I doing this? Why do I need to roll this product out into the market?
Being passionate about your business idea will push you to do the best you can to make your product successful. You’ll be putting in days, weeks, and months to perfect the product, and that requires a little bit of mind and a whole lot of heart.
If you’re ready to fail and get back up again, your business idea is rock solid, just like your optimism.
The Times Network brings an opportunity for entrepreneurs such as yourself.
Starting a business is tough work, and it can be scary to think about the risks you’d be taking. But that’s what entrepreneurship is all about, and if your business idea is solid, it’ll also be a success!
You’re invited! Join the Kool Kanya women-only career Community where you can network, ask questions, share your opinions, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities. Join now.