When you have a great idea for a business, the thrill can drive you headlong into an energetic launch. But wait. Statistics show that over 50% of businesses fail in their first five years– with 30% failing in the first year alone.
There are several reasons why businesses go down, but this early failure rate is usually the result of poor planning. Some of these methodical procedures will help increase your success rate.
- GET THE IDEA OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND ONTO PAPER
It does not matter whether it’s only a few PowerPoint slides or it’s on a notebook, iPad, mobile or computer, should you have an idea for a creative aspiration, you need to write it down. To be precise, no matter how big, small, grandiose, straightforward, or complex your idea might be, get it in writing.
Taking an idea from your head and putting it down on paper will help organize your thoughts and spur you on to get started.
Writing down your ideas will also focus your attention on them. Similarly, capturing your idea and sketching it out in greater detail, can transform that imaginative thought into something far more real and tangible.
By jotting down your idea, you are psychologically declaring yourself ‘in the game’.
So when inspiration comes calling, make sure that you put pen to paper. Then make a commitment to yourself that you are going to go for it, and turn that idea into reality.
- RESEARCH THE MARKET
You may think you’ve come up with a fool-proof idea, but is there a market for it? Many businesses launch, only to find someone else has already had the same idea and has got into the market first. Or the potential market is so small that you’re never going to be able to make a sustainable income from it. You need to carry out a full market analysis of your idea and the target audience to ensure your idea is really going to fulfill a need.
Start by doing a SWOT analysis of your proposal, defining all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with it. Involve all your business associates, or friends and family members if you’re working alone. Going through the process will help you to evaluate and refine the concept at a high level- questions to ask include:
- What demand is there for your idea?
- If it is a product, who will buy it?
- If it is a service, who will use it?
- Who else in the UAE does this already?
- Are they successful and, if so, why?
- What price can you put on your product or service?
- COMPILE A FINANCIAL PLAN
If your market research is positive, and you decide to proceed, the next step is to put together a financial forecast. This will become a valuable guide when you’re up and running and is essential if you’re applying for funding. The more thorough your market research and your financial plan, the better chance you stand of securing investment. This also applies if you’re relying on friends and family for launch capital– often the preferable option because the terms are more favorable. But take a professional approach and make sure you have an agreement in writing. There’s nothing like unpaid debts to turn a relationship sour.
- STOP THINKING AND START DOING IT
For many of us, the thought of actioning a new idea can come across as inherently risky. This is because we may never have done anything like it before – and have no clue as to what we’re doing!
That said, the difference between dreamers and achievers, is that the great artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, and culinary giants we see around us just get on and do it.
Given it requires a leap of faith, it comes as no surprise that this is a stage where many people stall. Even those that set out with good intentions can spend more time perfecting their plan than on implementation. Yet planning alone is fruitless as turning an idea into reality requires execution.
To this extent, as opposed to sitting on your idea, try putting yourself out there by proactively working on your creative goal, and pushing yourself to achieve it.
Should the magnitude of the task seem insurmountable, another tip is to break it down into smaller actionable items that are easier to achieve and less daunting. Otherwise stated, taking action can sometimes be easier if you break things down into smaller moves forward.
To this end, what’s more important is to first get started, and then to keep going. This applies even if you remain unsure of how you’re going to get to where you’re going. Fortune favors the bold so start taking action now, and you can learn any ‘how-tos’ later.
- SET TARGET DATE MILESTONES AND METRICS TO GAUGE PROGRESS
Pick a reasonable desired business rollout date, and work backward, assigning completion dates to all the interim tasks required.
Quantify expected results, and the measurements you will use. Your goal should be smaller chunks and more milestones, allowing the regular celebration of progress.
For example, every business needs a company name and logo, incorporation, an Internet domain name and website, social media accounts, prototypes, intellectual property, and key executive positions filled. Set milestones for each and measure progress to success.
- TAKE ACTIONS ON YOUR PLAN AND FINISH SOMETHING EVERY DAY
You need to build momentum, and every milestone completion builds momentum. Celebrate each step forward, and check off completions to keep the team motivated and moving forward.
Don’t get caught up in the crisis of the day, or be satisfied with just working hard.
Now is the time to build your company culture, and make it one with a can-do attitude, team collaboration, and empowered people with a constant focus on the customer. Also, your culture must be not afraid to pivot and adapt your plan as things change.