Entrepreneur: Don’t Turn That Idea Into A New Business Until You’ve Seen This Checklist
We’re living in an era of start-ups in Africa. Every other person is looking to start a new business and become an entrepreneur. But more than 80% businesses fail to survive their first 18 months. Nobody knows if your business will work or not; there is no formula or method which can help you find out that your idea has the potential to be a great business or not.
However, there are certain factors that you need to check on, before you invest your time, money and energy into your idea. Here are some observations and necessary things you should keep in mind before starting a new venture as an African.
Out of many factors, including idea, funding and team, timing is the most important factor that you need to check. Great ideas have failed only because they started before time or they were too late. It’s the timing that decides your company’s future.YouTube, for instance, was not the first video sharing platform. There were a few before that, but due to bad broadband penetration in the world and other technical gaps, they failed.
But in 2003 Adobe Flash solved the codec problem in internet browsers. When YouTube started in 2005, the broadband penetration also increased and as a result, YouTube instantly became a huge success. You should always check if it’s the right time for your start-up or not.
2. Are you different?
If your idea is not different from others, the chances of it succeeding are extremely low. Many social media platforms came after Facebook, but only a few got successful. Platforms like Twitterand LinkedIn saw success because they were quite different from Facebook. The platforms same as Facebook failed to leave any mark because people had no reason to switch when they’re already comfortable with Facebook. If your idea is fresh, your growth becomes vertical and if you are aping someone’s idea, then you either fail or grow horizontally.
3. Demand for your product/service
So many people spend a lot of money on their product’s branding and promotion when people may not really want their product. A lot of times, you think that your idea is a solution for a very common problem, but it also could be solution to only your problem. Instead of just going ahead, it is suggested that you do a survey with different types of people without sharing your opinions and find out if your idea actually serves as a solution to people’s problem.
4. Business model
There is a common myth that if you have a lot of visitors or downloads, you will earn a lot of money but the reality is something else. In the first phase you might get success in achieving some numbers, but what after that? You have to plan out your business model, and know how you will earn money from the people or if they will pay you when the time comes. No business runs without making money and you should work on that aspect from day one.
In truth, this is the least important thing for any business. If you can’t run the first phase of your business without investors, you probably should not carry the business forward. If your idea is good enough, it will attract money automatically.
In six months, a new venture could have more than 5 offers to invest money in it. However, be mindful of taking funding for your business. If you take funds at an early stage, you will have to give a larger share of your venture to these investors and that can create a big problem in the future.
6. Promotion Strategy
9 out of 10 start-ups never plan their marketing strategy. They think when they’ll launch their product; people will go crazy to buy it or subscribe to it. But the reality is totally different. What we have today is an over-communicated market. People don’t have time for your product. You have to come up with ideas to grab their attention, and for that you need a good marketing strategy and proper execution. Creating a great product and not marketing it is like winking in the dark, it’s only you who know about it.
A good idea at a perfect time, with a great team and proper execution will become a big, profitable business. So work hard on it and create an awesome company.
By ‘Dele Dele-Olukoju, Marketing Communication strategist and publisher of the online Marketing Communication Digest. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
http://marketingcommunicationdigest.blogspot.com.ng @deleolukoju +234 807 481 2389.