The Very First Step of Starting a Business: The Idea Stage


You know that it’s high-time to start a business, but what exactly do you do next? Here are some tips that may help you find the best idea for both you and your business.

Some entrepreneurs are under the impression that starting a business is a process surrounded by mystery. They know they want to launch a startup, but they do not know what steps to take so that the process is successful.

Before we actually get started, let’s clear up one thing: All entrepreneurs wonder if the time is right to start their business idea. In my opinion, there is no such thing as bad timing when it comes to launching a business. It’s a smart thing to launch a startup when the economy is strong. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. People have money and they are willing to spend it. On the other hand, launching it in tough financial times and in an uncertain economic environment can be just as wise. If you do your homework, in almost every case there is a need for the business you are launching. Given the fact that so many people consider launching a business in tough time extremely risky, therefore, they prefer to avoid it, your newly founded business has a better chance of getting noticed. Moreover, in a precarious economical you can purchase equipment or even an entire business at bargain prices.

While estimates tend to vary, during a year more than 600.000 businesses are started in the United States alone. However, for every American who launches a business, there are hundreds of thousands more who start each year saying “Well, this is the perfect year so I will go ahead and start my business” and then don’t.

Every person will encounter several roadblocks when they want to launch a business, and most of them prefer to postpone taking the first step. The vast majority of people that want to launch a company are just too afraid to actually start it in the first place. While the reasons vary in almost every case, the most common are the fear of failure and the unknown or even the fear of success. The most common misconception when it comes to starting a business is that you have to start everything from scratch and come up with an idea, service or product that has never seen the light of day. It’s pretty much like reinventing the wheel.

However, if you’re not the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, this may be a terrible waste of time. Instead of worrying whether their product is the best thing since sliced bread, people should think of aspects such as: ways of improving an already existing product or service, your ability to do things better and faster than your competition, or even if there is enough room for another business in the industry.

First and foremost, start thinking in a creative and lively way.

Have you ever considered how to start the idea process? First of all, get a sheet of paper and at the top of the page write “Things That Define Me”. Write down ten things about yourself such as things you excel at and personal things. Maybe you love being surrounded by other people, or you love computers and numbers, determining and incorporating marketing concepts that will help you in your business or you love spending time with your kids. Write down whatever may come to your mind. At a first glance, it doesn’t really have to make sense. Once the list is done, number the items down one side of the paper.

On the other side of the sheet of paper, write down the things you don’t like doing or things you’re not really good at. Maybe you dislike marketing concepts or maybe you’re terrified by public speaking. In any case, don’t overthink it. Once that is done, go ahead and ask yourself the following question: “What three products or services are able to make my life better?”. Find out the products and/or services that may facilitate your living habits or that bring you a sense of happiness, make you more efficient and productive or simply give you additional time.

Next up, go ahead and ask the same question but apply this to your business life. See what you love and hate about your work life. Last but not least, go ahead and ask yourself the most important question there is to ask: “Why am I starting a business?”. After you’re done, pay close attention and find the pattern. In this way you can determine if there is a need for a business doing one of the things you’re good at or you like.

Deliver the best product out there
Make sure you deliver. Frustration can become a strong ally. When I launched my Translation Office in California, I decided to do this over the fact that I was too frustrated with how things were being done in the place I used to work. So I decided to create a list of pros and cons of starting my own Translation business. In the end, the pros outweighed the cons and despite the fact that the economy was in a slump I decided it’s now or never.

I couldn’t be happier I chose to actually do it. Over the past 20 years we’ve become one of the major players in the translation industry and we’re doing very well. While the competition is stiffer than ever, we still manage to do exceptionally well. And come to think of it, it all began because I listed to my own frustrations and decided to take a stand.

I consider that this is one of the best ways to get ideas – listening your frustrations of that of your co-workers, family or even neighbors. Opportunities arise more often than you’d imagine, you just need to search for them in the right place. Your brain should be always set in the idea mode. This will ensure that more and more ideas will be knocking on your door.

Inspiration Is Essential
In the case of imagination, the sky’s the limit. The same goes for inspiration. You can find it everywhere, you just have to pay attention. Here’s one story I applied to my business. Translation orders were piling up and the personnel was having a hard time being able to finish them in due time. So I decided we should charge extra for translations that needed to be done in 48 hours or less. This was an awesome way of bringing in additional revenue and prioritizing the translations. The staff was extremely happy with the idea given the fact that they know exactly what should be done a.s.a.p. and what can be postponed.

Finding an idea can be extremely easy if you just peel your eyes for the latest trends in your industry. Moreover, don’t disconsider the tried and true because hot businesses often go through cycles. Let’s put it another way, you can take an idea and customize and adapt it to current times and to the needs of your community. Also, make sure you add your touch of creativity to any concept. This shouldn’t be seen as a choice, but rather as a necessity if you want the business to be successful. There are very few examples of one-size-fits-all approaches that actually work.

A good way of determining whether the idea you have planned will succed in your community is to talk to people in your community. But if it’s a business idea, go ahead and talk to co-workers or colleagues. Moreover, ask your family and neighbors about the personal ideas that are swarming through your mind. Don’t worry about other people stealing your idea. It’s not likely. Discuss only the general concept and omit the details.

Just Go Ahead and Do It!
By now, the process of finding out what business is suitable for you should be, to some extent, demystified. Starting a business is not quantum physics or rocket science. Ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s easy to start a business, but it’s not really all that complicated and scary as you picture it in your head either. It’s just a step-by-step procedure, nothing more, nothing less. Therefore, take it one step at a time.

First, determine what you want to do. Once that’s out of the way, talk to people and ask for their honest opinion. Ask them whether they would buy and/or use the product or service and what are they willing to pay for it.

Be prepared for people to discourage you to pursue your idea. While some may encourage you, others may be skeptical and prefer to discourage you. Just tell yourself that they are only looking out for your best interests.

Actually, once you have a business idea, what is the most important trait for an entrepreneur? Perseverance, of course. Brace yourself for negativity when you are prepared to launch your business. So many people will tell you “no”, but don’t take it personal. Move on to the next person in line and sooner than later you’ll hear that satisfying “yes”.

The most common warning a person that is set to launch a business is the risk. Almost everyone will say that it involves a great deal of risk. Yes, launching a business is risky, but if you have that mindset, what in life doesn’t present itself with a risk attached to it? Moreover, there’s a big difference between a calculated risk and a foolish one.

If there’s still doubt in your mind, just ask yourself what you are actually risking. Assess that risk and put the worries and concerns behind you. Finding out what you want to do is just the first step. You still need to do a lot a of homework and research.

Hope this will be helpful for you and, last but not least, good luck! If you have any tips you’d wish to share, we’d be more than happy to find them out.

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