Your brilliant idea may indeed be brilliant--or it may need some work. Here's how to find out whether you're ready for startup.
Somewhere between scribbling your idea on a cocktail napkin and actually starting a business, there's a process you need to carry out that essentially determines either your success or failure in business. Oftentimes, would-be entrepreneurs get so excited about their "epiphanies"-the moments when they imagine the possibilities of a given idea-that they forget to find out whether that idea is viable.
Of course, sometimes the idea works anyway, in spite of a lack of market research. Unfortunately, other times, the idea crashes and burns, halting a business in its tracks. We'd like to help you avoid the latter. This how to on researching your business idea is just what you need to keep your business goals on track.
The Idea Stage
For some entrepreneurs, getting the idea-and imagining the possibilities-is the easy part. It's the market research that doesn't come so naturally. "It's a big red flag when someone outlines the size of the market-multibillion dollars-but doesn't clearly articulate a plan for how the idea will meet an unmet need in the marketplace," says Aaron Keller, an adjunct professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas in neighboring St. Paul and a managing principal of Capsule , a Minneapolis-based brand development firm.
That kind of full-throttle approach can cost you. "Entrepreneurs are often so passionate about their ideas, they can lose objectivity," adds Nancy A. Shenker, president of the ONswitch LLC , a full-service marketing firm in Westchester, New York. "Rather than taking the time to thoroughly plan and research, they sometimes plow ahead with execution, only to spend valuable dollars on unfocused or untargeted activities."