If you’ve been dreaming of becoming an entrepreneur for quite sometime, you probably have numerous ideas that can be turned into a business by now. However, you might be struggling on how to put one or two of these ideas into fruition. Because you have never tried starting a business, you are at a loss without knowledge of exactly where to begin.
This is where Richard Branson comes in. He can help you have a head start and tell you precisely the steps you have to take, from the beginning to the final steps. Then you’ll be running your own business, for real. He believes and, in fact, suggests that after you have graduated, you continue your education by taking online courses, looking for mentors who will share their business wisdom, and, most importantly, exposing yourself to real world experiences. (Most business schools don’t teach you how to deal with real world scenarios you’ll surely encounter in the business world.)
Start your own business, or join a group of entrepreneurs working on a startup — be a volunteer. This second way, you’ll be immersed in the world of the entrepreneur without spending a dime, and you’ll see the nitty-gritty involved in the real deal.
Let’s focus on you starting a business on your own. Once you have thought out an idea for a business, you don’t do anything practical yet. What you have to go through is much simpler.
Go to your favorite place; somewhere you can relax and dream and incubate your idea. It could be anywhere: the main principle here is to go to a place where you can feel at home with minimal distractions and start envisioning the company you’ll build based from your idea. This company should be something that you can bet your time, heart, soul, and hard earned cash on.
Branson is very definite about one thing. You must be enthusiastic about how your company will make a difference in people’s lives. He continues to explain that this is a crucial factor you must figure out because if you truly love your work, you’ll have a bigger chance of succeeding. If you’re in love with your idea and the way it will help other people, you’ll persevere and weather the storms of turning an idea into a huge business. It’s very important that you can persist despite the long hours, the trials, and the tribulations you have to go through to put up a company.
2.The mum test.
The next thing he suggests is something that is unexpected. Indulge in the mum test. This involves talking to your mum, describing your idea and the empire you will create out of it. If she’s not excited and doesn’t have anything positive to say about your venture, you have to start all over. Go back to your creative space and start thinking of other ideas you can pursue. On the contrary, if she is elated, even pumped up, upon hearing your idea, go ahead with your plans. You might be birthing a real winner!
Frankly, I was a bit hesitant to follow this suggestion. Here’s the reason: my mother is not business savvy like Branson’s mum. However, all mums have instincts on what is best for their children. Your mum will have your best interest at heart when you discuss your entrepreneurial dreams with her. This being said, it’s undoubtedly safe to go through this step.
3. Put your idea out there.
The next step involves risk. Many entrepreneurs stall on this stage. They spend more time perfecting their plan than actually operating their business. The reason is simple: they are afraid to take the risk of putting out their business idea, scared of committing time, effort, and resources into the project. To this, Richard Branson says, “Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for the perfect moment — they create it.”
Develop some samples of the product or service you would like to sell. Upon reaching the point where you are happy with what you see, gather the least amount of funds to start the best and cheapest form of market research you can launch. You can do this with family members, relatives, your friends, neighbors, and your social media followers. Encourage them to try your product or service. In case you receive not-so-encouraging reactions, don’t fret. Consider tweaking the original idea to cater to the taste of your target market. Richard Branson encourages would-be entrepreneurs like you to not be discouraged at this stage. Making changes on your offering doesn’t mean your original idea isn’t good. This is just a natural occurrence in the process of improving your product or service. It’s just the initial adjustment, or a few of them, you need to make in your plan. Branson reminds all who want to dive into the sea of entrepreneurship — “Flexibility and the ability to solve problems creatively are great qualities in an entrepreneur.”
4. Time to sell.
After making those changes, it’s time to try selling your product (in small batches at first) or start offering primary introductions to your service wherever it’s possible — door to door, online, at trade fairs, etc. Take feedback from early customers and keep in touch with them. At this point it’s critical to do your branding right.
According to Branson, ask these questions: “Does it stand out? Do your brand values attract eager customers? Will they also attract talented employees?
5. Start talking to potential investors and distributors.
As you continue to encourage people to try your offerings, and they start to give you consistent positive feedback, you should begin thinking of producing more of your product or your service.
As you manufacture more of your products, practical issues will arise, issues like what’s the best way to manage cash flow or how to distribute your product efficiently. While this is happening, it could be a good idea to start scouting for potential investors and distributors to pitch them your idea. Also, at this phase, it would be wise to begin hiring and delegating responsibilities to employees.
To wrap up, Richard Branson puts it well. He says, “If you’ve followed the steps above, you may soon realize that I’ve pulled a tiny prank on you: You’ve now got a working startup, without ever having set a launch date. Great work!”
Source: Richard Branson on Turning an Idea Into a Business by Richard Branson via Entrepreneur.
Featured photo credit: Photo Credit: Fran Monks via Compfight cc via compfight.com