Maybe it happens for you when you’re in the shower. Or out for a walk. Or perusing the aisles of the grocery store. BAM – it hits you. The business idea that’s going to change the world and make you a millionaire! Or famous! Or both!

Oh my God, this is it.

You’re beyond excited as you begin to fantasize about the first thing you will buy with your first million dollars (a yacht! A plane! A small island!) “Let’s do this!” you find yourself thinking…..


Ok ok, so maybe this is a slight dramatization of how exactly a business idea may develop for you. But if you’re anything like me, the best ideas will come to you when you’re not looking for them. And when an idea hits, typically one of two things will happen next.

Either A) you’ll throw up a website, flip over the (proverbial, digital, or literally) “open” sign, and take off running, or

B) be so overwhelmed by analysis paralysis that you stop dead in your tracks. You may not know what to do next, and you fear sinking time and money into a fruitless idea.

So How Do You Mobilize A Great Business Idea?

I don’t know that I’d call myself a serial entrepreneur, but I’m definitely a serial idea-getter, so I know both of these extremes well.

When I launched my event planning business, I pretty much jumped straight from an idea to designing a website to being open for business. Obviously, there were so many other steps that I should have taken before opening my doors, but I didn’t know what those steps were.

Rest easy, my dear friend, because this post is going to teach you how to move your business idea from “wouldn’t it be nice” to “this is actually happening!” When you have a million dollar business idea that won’t leave you alone, these are the first 6 steps you must follow to kick off your business idea with a bang.

what to do with a business idea

The first three steps will be easy to remember because they involve research, research, and research some more!

Step 1: Research the Industry

Even if this is an industry in which you are already familiar or you already have some experience, you will still want to do a deep industry analysis before you take the plunge and open your doors to your new business.

The goal is to have a big picture overview of the space. You want to be able to answer questions like: How big is your industry? What does the future look like (is it growing, shrinking, or staying stagnant?) What innovations are being done to keep it fresh and relevant?

I recommend turning to Trade Associations websites or IBISWorld.com to find some of these answers.

 

Step 2: Research the Competitors

I know your product or service is special, awesome, and unique. But while you may be tempted to think that you don’t have competitors, from a consumer’s perspective that’s simply not true.

So dive deep into your competition. How crowded is the marketplace? Is there anyone out there doing what you want to do the way you want to do it?

Visit their websites. Call or email as a prospective buyer. Read their online reviews. What do people like about them? Or really really dislike?

When you think about your product or service, try to incorporate those learnings into your business model to set yourself apart from slower-to-change, already established organizations.

 

Step 3: Research The Target Market

The last piece of research you’re going to want to do in the beginning is on your target market. This step is crucial because it will help you figure out what makes you different and also help you test for validity and if you’re solving a problem.

I recognize it may be difficult to know much about your target market before you actually start your business. However, even if you can’t get down to demographics (age, gender, household income, etc) information on your target, understanding your target’s psychographics and why your customer may do what s/he does can take you a very long way.

Why are they reaching out to you in the first place? Do they value their time or their money? What gives them joy as it relates to your industry? Are there any pain points within your industry that you could relieve?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then find a proxy customer (or 3 or 4!) to ask.

Remember: the ease with which you can find potential targets to survey ahead of starting your business is a telltale sign of how easily you might be able to find potential customers.

 

Step 4: Buy The Domain Name

Ok, so this is where I may start to diverge a bit from conventional wisdom. Some serial entrepreneurs may say it’s too early in the game to purchase your domain name. But if the domain you want is available (especially if the .com is still available) you should snatch it up right away.

Domain names are like wedding photographers: Only one of them exists, and once they’re gone, they’re gone. If you wait to buy your domain name and someone else buys it first that person may end up charging you thousands of dollars to buy it back from them, as opposed to the $12-$15 it may cost to purchase it in the first place.

I think you do this even before you incorporate your business, especially if you’re not bringing in revenue at this point. It’s a small but worthwhile investment in your business.

This would also be a good time to check and see if the social media handles you’re thinking of using are available as well, though this is not as critical.

 

Step 5: Create a Minimum Viable Product

Ok, don’t let the startup/techy jargon scare you off here. All this means is to use as few personnel and financial resources as possible to create the simplest client-facing version of your product or service.

The goal here is to start small and lean, creating grander and grander iterations of your product as you are able to secure more and more revenue and/or funding.

For your first version or two, you’ll need to have the basic features and functionality in place so it looks close enough to the real thing to get your feedback from paying customers.

This is not the stage where you want to spend a fortune on a designer website, no matter how sure you are that your idea is a million dollar one. Think small here.

 

Step 6: Set Up A Business Checking Account

It’s best to set up a business checking account even before you start generating revenue, particularly if you can find a bank that is offering free business checking. You absolutely DO NOT want to mix your business and personal monies together, so go ahead and open that account!

This would also be a good time make sure you have a PayPal or even a business Venmo account. The goal is to be ready to receive the money before the money actually comes!

 

If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life. Ideas are any man’s greatest asset – Harvey S. Firestone.

I’ll have an upcoming post about how to pick which ideas to move forward if you have a bunch swirling around in your head. In the meantime, however, my hope for you is that this post can help you avoid analysis paralysis and start to mobilize your million dollar business idea the right way. Because the last thing you want is to kick yourself when you see that someone else has brought an idea that you thought of first to fruition!

Because the last thing you want is to kick yourself when you see that someone else has brought an idea that you thought of first to fruition!Click To Tweet

Here are those first 6 steps again:

Step 1: Research the Industry
Step 2: Research Your Competitors
Step 3: Research Your Target Market
Step 4: Buy The Domain Name
Step 5: Create a Minimum Viable Product
Step 6: Set Up A Business Checking Account

I’d love to hear from you. Do you get paralyzed after you get a business idea, and if so where? What other questions do you have about how to move your idea forward? For those of you who may already have launched your businesses, is there anything else you would add in here?

And as always, if you know of someone for whom this is relevant or who could use a message like this, I would love it if you shared it with them! Sharing is caring!

Until next time!

Cheers To The Journey,

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