1. What is the world missing?
What issues or challenges do you face in life that could be fixed? What needs do you have that aren’t fulfilled by available products? If you can find a gap in the market that no one is taking advantage of, you could be onto an original idea. Or if an available product isn’t performing as it should, you could be the one to do it right.
2. Brainstorm ideas
Develop and grow your idea until one sticks. Draw, play and dream to find the limits of what can be achieved by your idea.
3. Make a prototype and develop it
This is the stage where something tangible can show its face. Play with shapes, colours, sizes and styles. See what works best in context. Don’t be afraid to abandon everything and start from the basic idea again. This is where truly original ideas are born.
4. Show 100 people (and listen to their feedback)
Once you have your prototype built it’s time to see what the public think of it. Show your friends, show your colleagues and show your family. What do they think? Can they use it the second they pick it up? What don’t they like about it? Watch them use it and see where they struggle. Ask for harsh criticism because sometimes people close to you might not want to hurt your feelings. From here go back and develop the prototype further and integrate all the feedback you have received.
5. Build version one
This stage goes along with the previous one. You friends and family are ones who could be most available to invest in you and your idea. They know what you’re capable of and your potential. Also look outside your immediate group and see who is interested. Many people have a fund set aside for unexpected investments and could be very interested in your product. All you need to do is ask.
6. Protect yourself
Many legal issues businesses discover could have been avoided at the early stages so getting good advice in the beginning can save you pain and money in the future.
This stage is the most decisive you need to be and requires your full attention to be as successful as you can be. As hard as it may be you need to put aside other projects and jobs so you can react on a dime to anything that could happen.
There’s no way around it, you’re going to stress a lot but this just means you are invested in your success.
9. Are customers sticking around?
This is where your business sinks or floats. Are customers continuing to use the product after the first time? This is a measure of how your business will perform over time and if it will be sustainable. Remember that it takes 10 times as much money to secure a new customer than to maintain a current one.
This is a hard decision to make but it doesn’t mean the end for your business. Just because you have to re-launch doesn’t mean the end for you business but a new beginning.
Originally published in Bloggers on Wednesday 17th May, 2017