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SCORE opened the small business virtual conference with SCORE mentor, start-up enthusiast, and the keynote speaker, Simon Mahler, giving a speech on Idea to Execution: How to Launch & Grow Your Small Business. I’ve committed to three tips to take action on and I hope you do the same.
Validate your idea
Seek out customer validation even if you don’t have a business yet. Share your idea with potential customers and get feedback on what they want. Friends, Family, and Co-workers are off limits because they may not give you the feedback you need. Get out of your comfort zone and get It from people who will buy your product or service. Use the power of technology to reach potential customers such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, news sites, review sites, etc.
Be clear on who your customers are because you don’t have time or money to waste on marketing to those who aren’t. If you’re saying that everyone is a potential customer then you have more work to do. Break down your customer as much as you can with such distensions as age, gender, religion, financial, interests, activities, opinions, values, behavioral traits, and more. Doing this will bring you understanding, peace of mind, and most importantly validation.
Strategic Research & Planning
Most businesses fail today because they have big ideas but no planning or execution. The first planning step is to discover your business’ purpose, passion, and the desired outcome then put it on paper. Before you decide your idea is perfect, reach out to people with expertise in your industry. Use LinkedIn to find the five most amazing people in your industry that you would love to receive mentorship from and connect with them.
In order to execute on your idea, create as many strategies as you can that would launch your business and then limit your focus to a few critical areas that will yield the highest possible return. Plot out the steps needed to get your idea from A to Z, or idea to operational, and create a 30, 60, or 90-day action plan to get it done. Start small and create projects that would be easy to complete. Protect your momentum by planning again with answers to the following questions.
What are solutions to the speed bumps you are hitting while trying to execute?
What will keep you from changing your habits and making this new monthly objective?
Lastly get active in your community by joining related groups, local non-profits, or community causes that are important to you and your business. Use them as ways to cross promote. Get out and meet other entrepreneurs in their environment. Attend events advertised on the Startup Weekend, Startup Grind, and Meetup. It is of utmost importance to your motivation and drives to surround yourself with like-minded people. They will help push you to get out of your comfort zone and bring your idea to the marketplace.
Don’t be afraid that people will steal your idea. Truth is if you surround yourself with active entrepreneurs they are too focused on their business to even think about stealing your idea. Yes, there is still a risk but if you don’t share your ideas with the right people then you will never be in business.