Sometimes it’s so hard to put a vision into words.
If only there was an entrepreneurial wand akin to Dumbledore’s pensieve, that not only put breath into old memories but life into new ideas.
And yet some business owners seem to have an inbuilt magical spell for turning concepts into creations, while others struggle with an endless highlight reel of unactioned genius.
So how then to turn imagination into reality?
Well the first step is research.
Action always trumps fear, anxiety and procrastination and research is the least scary of all steps to take when embarking on a new business.
Step 1 Research & Development (Not ‘ROD’)
No doubt you’ve heard the phrase ‘Research and Development’ but what about ‘Rip-Off and Development’?
Yes this is a shocking term a branding and marketing entrepreneur once uttered when mentioning my work – and several others – used for ‘ROD’.
But the truth is Ethical Research & Development actually involves:
- Identify the main players in your field, note the colours, wording and branding used on their websites (will you be in competition for the same customer demographic?).
- Make contact with your competitors and inquire about their rates, turnaround times and fine print. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, ask a trusted friend to do this for you.
- Estimate market demand using Adwords. Google’s Adwords tools shows you how many monthly searches there are for specific keywords and phrases in your industry … in other words, if your keyword or phrase barely rates, your idea may need tweaking.
- Research the current state of your industry – is it in a growth phase or has it had its ‘hay day’. There are many industry statistical reports freely available online.
‘Trolling’ Social Media
- Find your main competitors on social media, what fan base do they have? What sort of content do they share?
- What sort of groups exist around the product / service you are creating? Make a note of these for future marketing and promotional purposes.
- Do you have a business or product name in mind? If so, search across ALL key platforms to make sure it’s available ….
I once spent six weeks coming up with a new business name after my favourite ‘idea’ was taken on Twitter AND Facebook.
After nearly two months of brainstorming the new name was not only available across ALL key social media platforms but for company registration and trademarking as well.
Speaking of trademarks and patents, as a public relations specialist I can’t tell you the number of times a client has needed to rebrand because someone else ‘owned’ their name.
Oh for a magical mirror or Harry Potter’s divination skills.
Instead the humble entrepreneur must instead rely on searching the trademark register — yes, conduct a trademark and patent search.
Many business owners believe that registering their business name with their local government provides protection, but in fact, business name registration directories are more like phone books and just because you’re listed doesn’t mean you’re protected.
Step 2: Product Testing
With a basic understanding of market demand and opportunities it’s now time to build and test your product as quickly as possible.
Because you’re only looking to build the minimum viable product (MVP) — it really can be a waste of time and money spending months and months on the perfect idea only to find a lack of market interest, demand and/or a crippling price point.
Most entrepreneurs need to tweak or pivot their idea at least once, so it’s best you do this sooner rather than later!
Here are four quick and easy steps to turn that idea into reality.
- Create an eBook or some kind of freebie related to your product that you can use to generate leads and interest from potential customers.
- Host your eBook on its own, purpose-built, single page website known as a ‘lead page’ or ‘lead capture page’. No… you really don’t need a full on, complete website at this stage!!
- Market this eBook where your customers hang out – through paid traffic and keynote speaking at networking events.
- Build your freebie ‘list’ to at least 300 names as quickly as possible and create an offer – in alignment with your freebie – to release to the market.
Step 3: Market, Promote, Market
Now it’s time to market, promote and market.
In other words, create a marketing and PR strategy to really stand out and establish credibility in the crowded market place.
Because appearing in mainstream media will give your new idea third-party endorsement like no other marketing tactic.
After all, who needs a pensieve when you have a Marketing Magical Wand?