If thinking of a business idea and then starting that business the next day were easy, everyone would be doing it! Unfortunately, there are a few steps in between the idea and the execution. The best way to take that idea from idea to reality involves strategic marketing processes.
This process involves more than advertising. It involves the initial idea, market research and analysis, looking at the competition, and then “go” time.
The Initial Idea
Many entrepreneurs are great innovative thinkers. This is why they get so excited when they have the “ah-ha” moment and are ready to begin the business immediately. They are not so confident or excited when they realize that market research is the way for them to ensure that their business takes off and continues to flourish.
A clearly articulated plan for how this idea will meet an unmet need in the marketplace is important. For those looking for backers, if that plan is not clearly stated, it is a big red flag and investors will run.
Market research improves the value of an idea. A few hours online, visits to industry professionals, or even reading up on federal and state agency requirements is an excellent way to gain a general sense of the product, service, and customer to whom the product is being directed.
Market Research Plan
Every plan should clearly spell out the reason for the research and what to do with that research. If the research tells you that your idea needs tweaking, fine-tuning, or taken back to the drawing board, follow the research. Don’t fight it; use it to make the plan better.
Prototypes are excellent for tangible products. For intangible products, a visual on a website or a draft of how the product helps people is an alternative. Gaining information is the motivating factor of building a market research plan.
Once the research gleans some data, use that data to take the next steps in your plan. Analysis of this data will show you exactly the direction the business needs to go next. Remember to look at the company, the customer, the competitor, and any collaborators.
If all of your hard work and research has shown you that the idea is likely to be a flop, don’t despair! It can be disheartening to put so many hours into finding the perfect idea only to find out that it is not viable. Instead, take a step back and think how the idea can be reworked or retooled. Persist, don’t quit. Sometimes the craziest ideas are the best ones.
When It’s “Go Time”
If you have found that your idea is viable and an excellent indicator of the next steps, consider items such as competitive pricing. Start with a higher price so that if needed, the price can always drop. Just make sure that the higher price you set is deliverable by your idea or product.
Sell to where the target market is located and will buy. Seek help from anywhere and everywhere, such as the internet, local library, industry associations, or trade publications.