Every entrepreneurial venture starts with a good idea, evolves to a bunch of amazing ideas, and with any luck, ends up as a successful business.
But how do you move from that first idea to your final success? Here are some steps to move your dreams into reality:
Define the difference. You need to be clear about how your product is unlike other competitors.
Do your homework. Are you the first with this idea, or will you have competition? Research online, visit conferences in your industry, talk to experts and search for mentors. You don't want to discover that someone else got there first after you invest valuable time and money.
Define your customer base. Who are your product or service's early adopters? Will people choose your idea over something they already spend time and money on, or will they decide this is a brand new way to spend time and money?
Determine your resource requirements. What exactly do you need to get started? Can you build it in your basement using standard tools and materials? Can you handle the startup alone or do you need a team? How much money do you need to get your idea off the ground? Expect to spend a fair amount of time on research, checking with suppliers, and talking with industry experts and specialists.
Build a prototype. Yes, this is critical with a product, but just as important if you're offering a service. If you're creating a service, your prototype can be a process map that details customer contact points and what has to happen internally to meet customer needs. A physical prototype should be working and include a clear understanding of function, reliability and production requirements.
Do the math. No plan is complete without a thorough financial analysis. This includes a realistic and convincing revenue projection and accompanying costs. You should be able to detail the estimated break-even point and future profits. If you need help on this part, get it.
Write your plan. I'm not talking about the pitch you give potential money people, I mean your internal plan for taking your dreams all the way to the finish line. You need to have this in place for yourself, so that when you wake up tomorrow you know what to do. It will keep changing, and that's okay. In fact, it's important to maintain flexibility in your plan.
When you take the leap with your big vision, you'll either bounce, crash or fly. But one thing's for sure, you'll never find out if you don't take action.