Chances are, you’ve come up with a business idea at some point in your life, whether you realise it or not.
Some people come up with a possible idea for a solution to a common problem and dismiss it, never to address the subject seriously again.
Others generate an idea for a business and fixate on it, trying to take action but never getting off the ground.
Ideas come in many shapes and sizes, and while most bad ideas are recognisable as bad ideas immediately, not all “good” ideas are created equal.
A “good” idea, in theory, is one that solves a problem adeptly, with no major drawbacks. But not every good idea can sustain a good business.
For example, your idea, while good, might not be cost effective, therefore preventing you from generating a worthwhile profit.
If you have a good idea, but you aren’t sure whether the idea is sustainable as the foundation for a real business, ask yourself these questions:
Are you solving a common problem?
The first question to ask is an easy one. Think about your idea. Does it solve some kind of problem that an average person would face?
The first key here is that you’re actually solving a problem and not introducing some new function that nobody ever needed. The second key is that the problem you’re solving is widespread.
For example, if you invent a device that allows someone to play accordion and perform automotive repairs at the same time, you probably aren’t going to reach a wide audience.
You can do some market research to back up your idea here, but for now, a common sense thought experiment should let you know whether your idea is solid.
Are people going to pay for your solution?
Following the same rules as the question above, you can conduct some market research to get a surefire answer, but just think about this question in a practical setting.
Imagine you didn’t come up with this idea, and that instead, someone was coming to you with it. Would you be willing to pay that person for this product or service?
How much would you be willing to pay? These two questions should immediately let you know whether this idea has the potential to make real money.
Making money, believe it or not, is only the first step of the process. To thrive as a business, your idea needs to have room to grow – the term for this is scalability.
Can your idea gradually expand to new markets? Can you come up with new, improved models? Can you expand your business into other areas to make more money?
If your idea isn’t scalable, and it can only exist in its current form, it may not be worth pursuing as a business.
Has someone else beaten you to it?
This is an important question to ask, and one quick Google search should provide you with a succinct, direct answer.
See if there are any other companies that are already using your idea. If it’s a great idea, there’s a good chance that someone else already thought of it.
If you see at least one competitor with a version of your idea that’s as good as or better than yours, your idea probably isn’t sustainable.
Could anyone do this?
Imagine for a moment that nobody else has jumped on this idea yet. If you introduce it to the world and start shopping around a prototype or preliminary service, how easy would it be for someone else to replicate your idea? How easy would it be for them to make a subtle improvement?
If your idea isn’t unique, or if it can be easily copied, it has a high chance of being taken advantage of by copycats and idea thieves working well within the confines of the law.
Can it last for more than a year?
This may seem like an obvious question of sustainability, but think critically about the nature of your idea. Does it take advantage of a current fad or trend? If so, remember that fads don’t usually last long.
Business ideas that take advantage of a fleeting interest do not succeed – instead, you need something that solves a long-term problem with a long-term solution.
If you can answer all of these questions confidently, and backed with ample research, you’ll have a good chance at turning your idea into a successful enterprise.
Just remember the ideation phase is only the first step of the process. From here, you’ll need to do exhaustive research, write a business plan and start shopping your idea around to investors. It’s a long, trying process, but with confidence in your idea, you’ll be off to a great start.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
6 Steps To Building A Million-Dollar Ecommerce Site In 60 Days
Jared Goetz spent only 30 minutes a day and built a colossal Shopify sales machine.
Jared Goetz, serial entrepreneur and member of The Oracles, always had a knack for reaching an audience. At 26 years old, he’s co-founded four multimillion-dollar companies.
Whether he’s throwing the world’s largest foam party with fire breathers and circus acts (“Electric Flurry”) or selling inflatables to college students via viral campaigns (“Dumbo Lounge Sacks”), this serial entrepreneur knows how to turn an audience into a profit machine.
His latest venture, The Gadget Snob, is no different. An ecommerce store that supplies everything from jet-flamed pencils to laser keyboards, Goetz took his business from zero to $2 million in 60 days by plugging into the right audience. That’s no small feat in a competitive industry forecast to surpass $4 trillion in sales by 2020.
Goetz’s secret sauce to reaching the masses? Experimentation. As he explains, “You don’t know what people will respond to until you try a lot of things. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.”
Goetz shares six key components to building his million-dollar ecommerce store and turning profits in less than a business quarter.
1. Don’t reinvent the merchandise wheel
“Many owners think they have to reinvent the wheel with the merchandise they sell,” Goetz explained. Instead, he suggests focusing on products with a proven track record of success. “An easy way to spot a market trend is gauging how a product performs on social media. If an item is getting 10,000 Facebook Likes in less than a few hours, that’s a tell.”
When choosing merchandise, it’s also crucial to differentiate between commoditised and unique products. Commoditised products are widely available. Unique products are less accessible handmade or niche products that aren’t mass produced.
“If you go niche, gauge demand first. Observe what people are looking for. You might be surprised to see what’s selling.”
2. Create a formula, then rewrite it
Ecommerce comes down to a formula, Goetz says, and the outcome is affected by different variables: Product, advertisement, landing page optimisation, and customer lifetime value.
“Once you figure out what produces the best margin, copy that. Most who fail in ecommerce are 90 percent there but haven’t worked out all the variables in their formula,” Goetz shares.
For Goetz, a pivotal variable was drop shipping. “I spent a lot of time bootstrapping my earlier companies. Drop shipping was a game-changer because it allowed me to advertise before securing the inventory, yielding greater outcomes.”
3. Build a legit Shopify store
A successful Shopify store must win confidence. “In the sometimes-fraudulent digital ecosystem, you have to earn a consumer’s trust,” Goetz says. “A money-back guarantee and free shipping guarantee are great places to start.”
Goetz also suggests choosing a theme that’s congruent with your industry. “With branding, you want to look professional, not spammy or creepy.” Gadgets are fun and technical, so his site has bright colours and precise language. “If I were running a men’s fashion store or toy store, I’d change my theme to match the merchandise and brand. Branding is key to converting customer views into sales.”
4. Find winning ads with huge ROI and scale
For Goetz, marketing comes down to one word: testing. “The only way to find out what works is to test it many times,” he says. “Test 10 audiences on each product, so you know where to invest your energy.” For The Gadget Snob, Goetz hired an ad manager to optimise Facebook campaigns. “When you strike gold with a successful ad, replicate it, but scale incrementally to ensure you’re staying targeted.” He suggests increasing ad spend 20 percent per day, not 500 percent.
When building campaigns, it’s also vital to use language that’s shareable and creative. Sales psychology is your friend. From his perspective, classic scarcity techniques have been around for centuries for a reason. “Try incorporating a quantity incentive: if you buy one, it’s full price; if you buy two, it’s 50 percent off and so forth.”
“Creating an email list is also vital. Email campaigns have a higher conversion rate than cold Facebook campaigns, and you can incentivise email campaigns with rewards. You can make money by merely pushing ‘send.’”
5. Hire a VA, then specialists
For Goetz, hiring a virtual assistant was essential to scaling. “At first, my VA helped with everything,” he says. Once his site got off the ground, Goetz hired people with specialised jobs for specific tasks.
He also stresses the importance of universal procedures. “Having clear onboarding processes and procedures is key to growth. Make your systems as easy as possible because while you might have 100 orders today, tomorrow you’ll have quadruple that.”
6. Get your customer support airtight
For a store to operate at full throttle, Goetz stresses the importance of customer support to maximise your profits. “You need your customer support to be airtight and available 24/7,” he says. “Online shopping goes all night and people place orders at all hours.”
To support questions and concerns, Goetz says that live chat and around-the-clock customer service is a must. “In our era of Amazon Prime, customer service expectations have never been higher, he says. “The last thing you want is a minute hiccup or technical goof obstructing a sale.”
Ultimately, ecommerce allows entrepreneurs to reach untapped markets and reap the rewards. As Goetz puts it: “My ecommerce site affords me ultimate freedom.” By following a few basic steps, you, too, can build a Shopify store to run from anywhere in the world, and perhaps even create your own million-dollar sales machine.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
10 Businesses You Can Start Part-Time
Find your perfect match for a successful part-time start-up.
Start your part-time business today
- Public Relations
- Freelance Photography
- Corporate Videos
- Small Business Advertising Agency
- Writing, Editing and Proofreading Services
- Internet Marketing Consultant
- Web Design
- Tax Accountant
- Business Consultant
- Business Plan Consultant
Launching a company – even if it’s operated part-time – is all about drawing on your skills, talents and interests to create a viable business. What you know and what you’re good at form a good basis for a part-time business because these companies either become an extension of what you enjoy doing most or they are based on your strengths.
Working part-time while still maintaining a permanent job is time consuming and often exhausting, so choosing what you take pleasure in or are good at can keep you focused and motivated. The right fit is important when it comes to launching a part-time business. Selling a service rather than a product does not require large start-up costs, which means you can grow your business without financing until it becomes self-sustaining.
Are you looking for a business that you can launch in next to no time?
Corporate Communications & Promotions
Corporate communications covers a host of areas, mainly because this is the sector that takes care of how companies look to the outside world – something that is very definitely a service, but also that is not often taken care of in-house.
If you can write, edit, have a knack for advertising, can take photographs or create promotional and corporate videos, you can offer your services part-time to companies both large and small that are in need of these services.
10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!
Where do you find a good business idea? Right here. Here you’ll find several innovative business ideas that are ripe for plucking.
Where do you find a brilliant business idea?
It’s not as hard as it may seem at first. In fact, the idea is arguably not all that important. There’s a reason investors talk about backing the jockey and not the horse: It’s often not about the idea, but the execution.
A great entrepreneur can turn even a mediocre idea into a success; all that’s needed is a USP and great customer service.
That said, some ideas are undoubtedly better than others. And some businesses are easier to get off the ground. In the following pages you’ll find a curated list of business ideas that have reached a point where they’re just waiting to be exploited.
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