Is Your Great Idea Great for Business Too?

Is your idea great for business?Let’s say you come up with a wonderful new idea for a product or a service. You take some time to flesh out this idea and really think you may have something. For all you know, this could be the next great business idea that leads to your business success.

Here’s the million-dollar question: how can you know whether your great idea can actually become a great business opportunity?

This is an important question to answer. The last thing any entrepreneur wants is to venture into a seemingly worthwhile idea that is doomed from the start.

According to a 2012 analysis from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, up to 44% of Australian businesses reported trouble with their management. These problems led to 40% of these businesses reporting problems with their cash flow and 33% encountering trading losses. And with women already under-represented in business leadership, you already have a tough enough challenge as it is!

To further the issue, financial professional Greg Hayes of Hayes Knight Accountants & Advisers discussed these findings in a recent article in the Huffington Post. As he noted, “One of the key reasons is that many small businesses start with a bad idea—an idea that was never going to work…”

So how can you know whether your great idea is also great for business? Here are a few essential questions to ask yourself to better understand if you should move forward with your prospective business idea or not.

Are You Truly Passionate About This Idea?

First and foremost, you have to understand how you really feel about your idea. You need to have a true passion for this idea that will translate your hard work into a successful business. You’ll be putting your blood, sweat, and tears into this venture. That’s why you absolutely must bring a passionate spirit to this pursuit.

While you certainly have challenges in front of you as a female entrepreneur, there’s also some good news. Today more than ever before, women entrepreneurs have continued to take centre stage. When you connect your passion with a solid business plan, you’ll be amazed at the enthusiastic response and support you’ll receive.

Can Your Idea Grow with You?

All sorts of great business ideas start small. But your business also needs to be able to grow and shift once it’s actually competing in the market. If you won’t be able to scale your business upward as you grow, you’re already limiting your potential. And if you can’t shift your idea once you’re in the market, that static nature could quickly put a cork in your success.

For instance, say you want to release a fitness app into the market. This app needs to be able to grow to accommodate your user base. Problems with overcrowded servers or inadequate functionality will eventually damage your growth potential if you’re not ready for it. Additionally, you may need to adjust what your app offers in order to better connect with your audience. If you can’t make these “lateral” shifts within your industry, you will also negatively impact your success potential.

Is There a Demand or Market for Your Idea?

Does all of your personal enthusiasm translate into a tangible market and demand for what you’ll be offering? Do research to determine the viability of your niche in the market. You can assess market viability through all the following resources:

  • Government Demographic Data
  • Industry Reports
  • Growth or Shrinkage Trends
  • Current Similar Products on the Market

Have You Tested the Market Yet with Ads and Marketing?

One of the most effective ways to truly confirm your success potential is by running some test ads. These ads and marketing efforts will help in all the following ways:

  • They will show you the actual interest in your idea
  • They will help you better identify your market
  • They will reveal the real-world demand for your idea

You can run a few ads through sources such as Google AdWords or even Facebook to assess the social media success potential. If the results seem promising, then it’s time to go “full steam ahead” on the idea. If not, then you’ve saved yourself a lot of stress down the road towards a failed business idea.

Did You Speak with Your Potential Customers?

Advertising to your customers is definitely a great way to gauge prospective interest in your business idea. But what about just asking your potential customers about what you’re offering?

Taking the time to ask prospective customers what they think about your idea can yield all sorts of valuable insight. This type of honest, unfiltered feedback can show you exactly how real people feel about your idea. This can help you see how enthusiastic people feel about what you have—and maybe even give you some feedback on how to tweak your idea to make it even better or more attractive.

Taking the Plunge

Moving forward from an idea into a real-world business plan can definitely be daunting and sometimes terrifying. But successful businesses often begin right at that point of fear. Working with BCD, you can assess your idea ahead of time with the help of experienced professionals and businesswomen. They will help you to get a better sense of your own success potential. And that will give you all the confidence you need to move your great idea into a great business venture.

Donny

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The Importance of Networking for Home-based Businesses

Networking Home Based BusinessFreedom. That is the first feeling that many small business owners get when they strike out on their own to create a home-based business. This new life is going to be great! Finally, a combination of family and work life that works for you. Setting your own work hours; deciding how many projects to take on; maybe in a couple of years, even hiring people to work for you.

You are now a businesswoman. This is heady stuff.

Then, about six months later, reality sets in—and it is harsh. For individuals who have always worked for others—especially in the corporate world—additional work and customers were always available. Managing prospects and sending out proposals was probably someone else’s job. Now it’s yours. Where do the customers/clients come from? How do you get the word out about your business? It’s enough to give you sleepless nights.

Ignore Networking at Your Peril

Working from home definitely has its perks but it also has its challenges and more than its fair share of perils for the unwary. You do not want to become isolated from your peers—even from the competition—and your potential client base needs to be able to reach you at all times. What’s more, you can rest assured that your competitors (and we all have them) are taking advantage of networking to grow their businesses.

You need to connect with the outside world to sell your products and services. Insulating yourself is only going to lead to frustration and poor business results. Networking can lead to income generation, lead generation, and continuing education in your field. It can also bring better marketing and advertising results for your product and services as well as other business opportunities, from referrals to finding more business.

Finally, networking can result in you having the right partnership—this is an important point especially for home-based businesses because forming a partnership is one of the tried-and-tested ways to grow a business and take it to the next level. At the very least, networking can lead you to the people you want to work with or who share the same professional passion with you, whether as a potential investor or as a future employee that will make things easier for you and your business.

Getting Started With Networking

As such, networking is important to your home-based business, and ignoring it could prove detrimental to your business goals. Whether networking face-to-face, participating in online groups or sending messages on social media sites, you need to make sure that you have more than one network that you can tap into to support your business strategy.

You need to let people know you are open for business. Here is a list of suggested networking options you can try out:

Build Your Own Website

Almost every successful business today has a website where clients can connect with their goods and services. In effect, this is a form of networking.

At a minimum, your website should collect visitor email addresses and provide an interface where customers can pose questions and receive answers about your products or services. It doesn’t have to cost a lot in the beginning especially if you use free web-hosting services like Freehostia and Zymic.

Of course, these network opportunities are not limited only to potential clients and customers; you can also build a network of working professionals who can introduce you to other businesswomen who may become partners in your evolving marketing strategy.

Give Presentations and/or Workshops

Think of this as network-building and marketing combined. Public speaking and hosting workshops can introduce you to your customers of tomorrow. It will increase your income (if it’s a paid position) and at the same time build up interest in your product or service. People like to purchase from someone they trust and know. Depending on the type of class you teach, you may even find yourself recruiting and networking with other professionals in your field.

Beef up Your Social Media Presence

The reach of the internet is a boon for home-based businesses. Social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are perfect networking communities for entrepreneurs. Create shareable content on these sites and you will soon grow your network beyond your local geographic area. Showcase your work and build up online buzz on your products and services and you’ll soon realise the potential social media has especially for marketing.

Connect with other home-based business people, make new contacts, and learn from their experiences. Following professionals on these social networks allows you to stay up-to-date in the latest changes in your industry and on business practices. Think of them as free, continuing educational feeds.

And since you’re doing these from the comfort of your own home, you won’t have to worry about huge overhead costs.

Join Organisations That Can Help You Successfully Network

There’s a reason why there are organisations and groups today that help their members connect with like-minded people for the purpose of business and career enhancement. Whether you’re a small business owner starting out at home or the owner of an established firm, networking is important for business growth, a common goal for both novice and experienced entrepreneurs.

You can start your networking efforts by joining Behind Closed Doors (BCD), an organisation of businesswomen who can answer your questions about developing your business skills and your client base. BCD has a mentoring program for those interested in expanding their networking into a more structured program as well as other services that can help and guide you into making better business decisions.

Donny

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