Every great invention or idea has run up against the same first roadblock… fear. The would be entrepreneur fears the unknown, fears to possibility of failure and fears the innate risks involved with a new venture.
So, what separates the entrepreneur from just some person with a good idea? The successful professional knows the steps to define the unknown and by doing so they eliminate fear.
Fear is the Mind Killer
It is the fear of the unknown that stops most people from attaining their dreams. The fear keeps them in their comfortable job. The fear stops them from taking the risks necessary to succeed.
Here are the 5 steps to help you get over your fears, and get the ball rolling on your new venture.
1) Do Your Research
Find out everything there is to know about your idea. Who will be your competitors? Even if no one has the exact same product or service, there will always be competition, so get to know them. Google is your best friend. Use it to your advantage. Find the keywords your would be competition uses, search blogs, directories and every resource and media outlet.
This is a great time to define what or how you will be better than the competition. Find the answers to these questions: How will you take market share? Who is your target customer? Where are they? How do you get them? What is the MVP (Minimum Viable Product)?
2) Define the Opportunity
Now that you know everything there is to know about the market and competition it is time to define your opportunity. There are a series of questions that are vital to answer: What are acceptable price points? How many customers are there? Is the market local, regional, national or international? What is the exact niche? You will want to know who you are targeting, why you are going after them, where they are at, when you will launch and how you will reach them (Who, What, When, Where, Why and How).
3) Entrepreneur Know thy-self
If you have done the first two steps, it is time to decide if you are the right person for this opportunity. What relationships do you have that could open doors in this market? Do you have the skill set to fit the concept? Do you have the tools, software and money to go full out? What essential skills, experience, knowledge or money are you missing?
By understanding how you fit the opportunity you can define the gaps in your own abilities, knowledge and finances. These gaps help you Define a team.
4) Build Your Team
So you have determined the skills, experience, knowledge or money you are missing to make your idea a success. Look around you at your friends, family and colleagues. Do you know people who can fill your gaps? Are they willing to work with you, especially on speculative work. What are your financing options, do you have the money or do you know potential investors (Friends and family) that might be interested? You will need to be able to sell them on this idea. Often the first person I look for is a great salesperson, because they can help me sell the next person in the idea. The people involved can be contractors or freelance, you don’t have to look for the long term team at this time, in fact it is often best to keep the final team small early on. Find the people and fill the gaps.
5) Build the Prototype
There are a great many cliches to remember at this time, and all are valid. Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t get overly complex, just make it work. If it is a service this is a great time to do the work cheap or free. What you want is to get a couple of clients that will give you an endorsement and that you can use as a reference. If you properly defined the opportunity then you know what the M.V.P. for your prototype should be, build that.
Always remember that perfection is the enemy of profit. Build the MVP, get it into the hands of a few customers, let them define what more is needed, or how it should change. Your customer will know better than you what they really want, so let them tell you.
Now that the customer has the product in hand and has told you what they really want. Now is the time to incorporate some of these changes. Add a feature, test again. The steps we have outlined here are actually a cycle that you should re-iterate through over and over until you have the final product. Often what you will find is that the initial idea and the final one are radically different.
Don’t be afraid to change direction .