Since the 21st century burst into life, there has been a 63% increase in the number of UK businesses (according to government statistics). What this means is: more and more people are turning their good ideas into profit-making ventures! But before you march into your boss’s office, notice in hand, consider this: 50% of small businesses will fail in their first five years. Clearly, a good idea on its own just isn’t enough.
The fantastic news is that it is definitely possible to turn a good idea into a great business – one that’s both successful and sustainable. While it’s far from an easy process, there are some essential steps you can take to get that amazing idea of yours off the starting block.
- What’s your purpose?
What fundamental problem does your idea solve?
That simple question is at the heart of every successful business (for example, Amazon solved the problem of shoppers having to go out and search through endless bricks-and-mortar shops to find things they wanted to buy).
- Articulate your “why”
If you love an idea enough to turn it into a business, it means you’ll have a story to tell – and stories are what connect people emotionally with their favourite brands.
Ask yourself: why are you so passionate about your idea? This is the foundation of your unique brand, so don’t be afraid to be honest and open about sharing that story with your target audience.
- Don’t be scared of mistakes
Every successful entrepreneur has made mistakes. Often, they’re proud of those mistakes – because they’re what helped them learn and grow.
(Sir James Dyson famously made 5,126 versions of his Dual Cyclone vacuum cleaner, before he came up with one that actually worked!)
So always be open to learning, and don’t plan so rigidly that the moment something goes wrong, you can’t recover. Be flexible, and allow yourself some valuable room for error.
- Establish your support network
This doesn’t mean launching an expensive recruitment programme. Just be aware that running a company can be incredibly tough – so you’re going to need some support every now and again.
Find someone you can trust as a sounding board for your ideas (this is where networking can come in handy!), seek out others’ experiences, and don’t forget to spend some much-needed downtime with friends and family.
- Don’t give up!
Starting your own business comes with a unique maze of right moves, wrong turns, exhilarating highs, and confidence-draining lows.
Those first few years will probably be terrifying and rewarding in equal measure. Bear in mind that there’s no concrete plan for a successful business – it’s mostly about keeping your head, having confidence in your idea, and doing more of what works.
As Rudyard Kipling wrote: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same”…
…then you’re off to the best possible start.
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