If you’ve ever had a good idea for a business, but lacked the skills, expertise, or experience to take it to the next level, you’re not alone. Transferring an idea into a fully sustainable business requires a lot of hard work. As the owner of multiple popular vehicle history websites, Jesse Willms built his business from the ground up — and it all started with an idea. As an internet entrepreneur and businessman, Jesse Willms understands that while every business plan is unique, there are some fundamental components that run through all of them. Here to outline everything you need to know to turn your idea into a business, he talks problem solving, target demographics, mentorship, and writing a business plan.
Perform Market Research
Above all else, a business exists to solve a problem for a consumer. Whether it is by providing a service or selling products that meet a target demographics’ needs, understanding what problem you solve is the most effective way to understand whether your business is viable. Jesse Willms explains that writing a ‘mission statement’ or ‘why’ in a few sentences can help you define a direction. Once you are able to determine that there is a problem that needs to be solved, you then need to identify your target demographic.
Identify a Target Audience
Jesse Willms explains that every business needs to be able to identify who their target audience is in order to run a successful business. While this might seem like a catch-22, you can use existing data or create your own in order to do this. If you do not have customers, you do not have a business. Jesse Willms claims that you can create an anonymous survey to send to loved ones, family, and friends to identify whether this is a real need that people have and if they’re willing to pay for it. Depending on your product or service, there may already be existing data published online that can help validate your business idea. This information can not only help guide your decision making, but can become ‘proof’ for investors and potential partners.
Seek the Help of a Professional Mentor
Every new business can benefit from working with someone who has been there, done that. Jesse Willms explains that building a support system of entrepreneurs and business professionals can help make your business more viable in the long run. There is no golden formula for success when it comes to building a business, as it will require thoughtful, decisive, and innovative thinking along the way. Working with a team of professionals can help you overcome some of the barriers that new entrepreneurs face, connecting you to resources, providing sound advice, and sharing lessons learned.
Create a Business Plan
Once you’ve tested the viability of your business, it is now time to put pen to paper and build a business plan. Every business plan will be unique and evaluate different things; however, there are some common factors to consider: minimum viable product, mission, financial projections, SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), market analysis, products and services, organization and management team, strategy and implementation, and so much more. Jesse Willms explains that working with a team of professionals to review this document as it is developed will help ensure that no stone is left unturned.
Lastly, Jesse Willms explains that setting a period of time for success will help make your goals more achievable. For example, give yourself 3 years to make your business sustainable. Jesse Willms explains that this tool can be advantageous in setting realistic expectations. Building a sustainable (and scalable) business will take time, and it is easy to get discouraged along the way. When you set a long-term goal of 3 years and you become discouraged 3 months in, it becomes easier to rationalize continuing on.