Here’s an interesting question I received on Linkedin from Richard Sink who asked:
“What lessons can you share with us about strategies when trying to turn your ideas (be it for social good or professional gain) into a reality?”
Great question. I work with start up’s on launching new ideas as well as established companies on re-inventing themselves in the marketplace.
I’d like to offer you a great format I use with my clients through this process. It’s the 8 stages of a start up which should be followed in this order:
Stage 1: Identify the Who, What and Why?
A. Who is the target market you are trying to help?
B. What is your big idea?
C. Why are you starting this company or social initiative?
Stage 2: Research your field, key player and competition.
This is the due diligence period where you want to uncover what’s under all of the other “rocks” out there who are competitive options to your idea as well as alternative options. I will often hear responses like “we have no competition out there” to which I have to challenge their gross over-estimation. In today’s marketplace zero competition is hardly ever the case.
Stage 3: Conceptualize your offer.
You need to be able to articulate in a few brief sentences what your concept is and what is the specific offer that your target market can take action on. In this framework I’m talking about the actual transaction, not “taking action” as in click on your website for more info.
Stage 4: Start gathering your team.
Many entrepreneurs will often wait to gather your team until all of your ducks are in a row and you’re ready to go to market. But, I find it’s far more beneficial for you to do this step earlier in the game. You are able to tap into the synergy and creativity of the group to improve your business plan much better than pursuing the process alone. So, here’s the stage where you should do some networking to recruit your dream team of those people you want to bring in from the ground floor.
Stage 5: Develop the business model.
You need to get clear what all of the transaction points will be, what the service deliverables will be and at what volume you can expect to scale it to with your projected resources. This is also where the marketing plan has to be nailed down in a specific step by step format and not in vague, wishful thinking language. You need to be able to determine in more realistic scenarios how much and what types of marketing and business development it will take to produce your desired level of results.
Stage 6: Identify possible sources of funding.
Here’s where I typically see a very short list of funding options. Of course, it’s a given that you should be planning to bootstrap your way through the initial beta stage to get some real traction. You will need to show some degree of proof of testing to be able confidently court your VC’s, angel investors or bank loans.
Stage 7: Prepare your action plans.
This is critical to transform your large, daunting projects into small, bite size, manageable phases of action plans. Timelines are helpful to commit to as well as deciding ahead of time who will either quarterback that piece or take full ownership of rolling that out individually.
Stage 8: Find sources of ongoing support.
So many great ideas die in the incubator stage before it can fully spread its wings. As entrepreneurs it’s easy to get distracted, discouraged and completely derailed from setbacks and obstacles that are bound to come your way. You should interview who you would like to have on your advisory board. You should have several key experts who can give you regular feedback for red flags and missed short cuts that no one person can possibly know. These are the people who will have your back, so you can focus on doing those tasks you do best.
I have a network of trusted experts who I would be happy to connect you with should you need more help in any of these areas. So, i invite you to connect with me privately on Linkedin or you can just call me at (215) 292-4947 to continue this conversation.
Here’s to your success!
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Go ahead! As long as you give full author attribution as follows:Business Growth Expert Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of CEOs, entrepreneurs & small business owners achieve dramatic results in sales, productivity and profits. Over the past 20 years, Yoon has started 4 other companies and sold 3 of them. She is the author of numerous articles published in major print media and magazines. She is also a popular keynote speaker. Get Yoon’s free video “How to Find Your WOW Factor” at http://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com. Call Yoon direct at (215) 292-4947. Leave a Comment Through Facebook © Copyright 2016