“I could have thought of that.”
I’m sure we’ve all had this thought at one time or another. It seems like “the next big thing” changes on a near monthly basis. Many of these ideas are based on pretty simple principles, and yet their popularity turns the minds behind them into billionaires seemingly overnight. Maybe you have an idea of your own. But how can you take this idea and turn it into a business?
You might think that the first step is to build your app or website, but there are a few key steps to take before you start work. You need to understand the market, and make sure that your idea is something that people actually need. If you follow these four simple steps, you’ll be able to kick start your entrepreneurial journey and turn your idea into a fully-fledged business.
Step 1: Find Your Users
What do people do when they’re looking for something on the internet? They turn to google! Do you know that google actually tracks all of these searches, and you can tap into this data to find out what consumers are looking for online? Check out the google keyword tool. You can access it by logging into Google AdWords, clicking ‘tools and analysis,’ followed by ‘keyword planner.’ Google has prepared a helpful guide to help you get started.
Here, you can type in any search term and find out how many people are using that search every month. Let’s say, for example, you want to create an app that lets people keep track of their work schedule. You might find that a couple of thousand people are searching for “work schedule planner” every month. Then you might also discover that, hundreds of thousands of people are searching for “gym schedule planner.”
This is just an example, but doing your keyword research tells you what your users are looking for. This is an opportunity for you to pivot and make sure that your product lines up with customer needs. Keyword research is so important that many web development companies now start with it before they begin work on your website, which is something new we’re seeing in this space.
Step 2: Design Your Product
Now that you know exactly what your future users are looking for, it’s time to plan out your product. How is it going to work? Remember to think about what problem people are trying to solve. If you want your online business to take off, you need to find the most effective way to solve that problem. Keep working on this step until you’re certain that your idea is the best solution out there. Don’t focus on things like trying to build the next Facebook. Your goal should be to build something that improves the way friends communicate with each other. Rushing this part of the process can lead to a product that is sub-par, and result in your business never getting off the ground.
Step 3: Build Your Product
Finally, you can start turning your concept into something tangible. Remember to focus on the core concepts you developed in step two. You know what consumers need, and you have a plan that will eventually meet those needs. Seeing your idea come to life can be inspiring.
It may seem easy to come up with, what appears to be, a few simple tweaks or features that will make your product even better. But these things can take the focus away from what you are trying to build, and cause development costs to spin out of control.
Step 4: Promote Yourself
Finally, you’re ready to launch. It’s time to connect with users and get your idea out there. Make sure you take advantage of social media channels. Set up a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even a LinkedIn. Make a place where users can talk about the problems that you’ve solved with your product. For example, if you build the gym scheduling app, create a Facebook group where people can share their workout routines. Show them how easy it is to track their progress with your app. Remember, the goal is not just to reach as many people as possible. You want to reach the right people. Find avenues where you can start a dialog with people who might be interested in your product.
Social media can get you started, but once you are making money, you will also want to talk to an SEO firm. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. These companies can analyze consumer behavio, and modify your website so that people can find you on Google.
Enjoy The Ride
Marlon Wayans once said “Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on.”
If you start your business focused solely on the money, you’re unlikely to succeed. As long as you come to work every day feeling inspired, you’ll be able to make positive changes in the world. Being an entrepreneur is not just about the numbers, it’s about looking for ways to improve the lives of others.
If you can be the one to drive this change, consumers will rely on you to make their lives easier. And that’s exactly what makes online businesses go viral.
Featured photo credit: Maryland GovPics via flickr.com