From Concept to Creation: 10 Essential Steps to Start a Business with No Ideas
Usually, when you want to start a business but you have no Ideas, you find yourself in two different positions:
The first one is when you feel you want to start something on your own and become your boss but you have no idea where to start with your business.
On the other hand, the second position is represented by the fact that no matter what you think, but none of your biz ideas of them seemed valuable or viable.
Starting a business from scratch can be daunting, especially if you are pushed by the desire of doing something that is not clear in your mind yet. Many of us want to develop something but still, that “something” is just a blurry picture, or worse, not yet a picture at all.
Can you kickstart your business with no product, service, or concept well-defined in mind?
In this article, I will share ten crucial steps to guide you in a new journey, from ideation to business creation, of your entrepreneurial adventure with confidence and a bit of planning.
- Step 1: Your Passion is the Key
- Step 2: Deep Dive into Market Research, Trends and Opportunities
- Step 3: Get Inspired by Successful Entrepreneurs
- Step 4: Brainstorming and Idea Generation
- Step 5: Create a Business Plan
- Step 6: Develop a Prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
- Step 7: Networking and Support
- Step 8: Validate, Iterate, Launch
- Step 9: Branding and Marketing
- Step 10: Scaling up your Business
Step 1: Your Passion is the Key
When it comes to creating a business, consider the fact that this will require your time and devotion. For this, you should exclude anything that you are not passionate about.
Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy thing, and better get your hands dirty on something that you really like.
Avoid any type of business ideas that promise quick money. It’s not going to happen. You will find yourself in a stressful situation where you are spending your time and efforts on something that you hate.
Whilst success requires trial and error, better focus on something that has more chances to survive from the beginning.
Make sure to consider what excites you and what you’re good at. Also, your professional experiences and personal hobbies can form the foundation of your business.
Step 2: Deep Dive into Market Research, Trends and Opportunities
We are still at a point where your idea is not clear yet. However, we have found something exciting and interesting for which your time is worth it.
Until you made up your mind, market research becomes a critical step. I bet you wouldn’t start a brand-new floppy disk company in our times. But still back in the day, that was a very valuable business idea. You might want to look at three things:
- Consumer Trend
- Local Opportunities
- Gaps in the market
1 of the three will make your business unsustainable. 2 out of 3 will make you among competitors (Most businesses meet 2 out of 3 requirements as they can still be profitable). 3 out of 3 will give you a hedge against the competition.
Finally, good exercise can be extending your thoughts and process in the future. Do you see your business thriving or suffering?
Step 3: Get Inspired by Successful Entrepreneurs
Studying your business sector will grant you expertise and invaluable knowledge. Famous entrepreneurs love sharing their success in many ways. Books, videos, podcasts, and movies, just get your hands on the ones you consider more beneficial to your case.
Ultimately, try to understand which personality trait you have in common with them. Understanding what you are good at will make your choice easier and your life simpler.
Step 4: Brainstorming and Idea Generation
Now it’s time for you to get something concrete out of your mind. Take hold of the people you consider more relevant to you and ask the questions. One important note here:
The main point here is validating your idea of business. Don’t go back just because your sister said “You don’t have the skills” or “It’s not going to work”. In many cases, they are the ones who get it wrong.
You are the expert on the subject, they maybe never heard of what you are talking about. Just check if there is a valid solution to the problems they see from the outside. If you can find quick fixes, you have most likely found a bulletproof business even if you have no ideas on how to run it.
Experience will come.
Step 5: Create a Business Plan
With a business plan, you are no longer in the phase: “I want to start a business but I have no ideas” but rather in the phase “Let’s see if my idea is economically viable”.
A business plan stress tests your concept and validates the financial pillars on which you’ll be running your business. If your biz requires capital, lenders will ask you for a Business plan along with some other important Financial Aspects of your company.
Even though nothing is up and running, putting together your business plan will help you figure out Income, Expenses, and cash flow at least theoretically. Just make sure to include all the aspects you have to consider.
The secret is to be as much conservative as you can. Do not omit expenses on purpose, this will just, give you a wrong vision of the pros and cons of your idea. You are basically cheating yourself as well as endangering your finances.
Outline your goals, target audience, marketing strategies, and financial projections. Be prepared to refine and adapt the plan as your idea evolves. You might want to create several scenarios (conservative, less conservative, optimistic) for different orizons (1 year, 3-5 years, 5-10 years).
Step 6: Develop a Prototype or Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
It doesn’t matter if you are selling products or services. You will still have the need for a prototype. In case you are selling products, this will be the first sellable item out in the market.
It won’t be perfect (and it doesn’t need to be at first) since the feedback you will receive will give you a chance to revise and get a better version of it.
Don’t strive for perfection now. You will need to go through many trials and errors to get your hands on something “superb”, that is seen as a valuable product in the entire market. Just go ahead and test with a small audience of family or friends. Maybe, don’t even charge for it. Just go ahead and get as much feedback as you can.
Your ultimate goal is to get experience and go through some aspects you might have missed. Then, when you feel ready, invest in some cheap marketing strategies and try to sell it. Nothing gives you a better thrill than your first sale.
The same logic applies if you run a service company. Do 1 or 2 services for free just to get comfortable and then straight into marketing. You’ll do fine!
Step 7: Networking and Support
With the first sale, you will feel over the moon. But that’s just the first step. You started with the idea of running a business and the ultimate scope for a business is to be sustainable and profitable.
You’ll have to continuously expand your boundaries, get more experience, and nurture client relationships. For this, you need mentors and support. Don’t feel afraid of reaching out to anyone who’s a little bit ahead of you in the journey. They’ll be happy to help in most cases.
Spending some time with other entrepreneurs is a good thing too. Sharing your problems will make you feel relieved and eventually, someone will come up with a solution. Also, this doesn’t have to be in public, you can use platforms like Reddit to seek help.
Share you passion with the World and the World will get back to you.
Step 8: Validate, Iterate, Launch
You are now in a position where you went through and you are going through the validation-iteration loop to improve your product or service. It is now time to launch your business following the business plan. You might have defined a local strategy followed by a national one.
Just follow the steps you listed and go through the validation-iteration loop again and again. Learn to run a resilient business, able to adapt quickly depending on the needs.
Don’t introduce rigid policies or not favorable solutions. You are still lean at this point, and this will give you plenty of flexibility along the way.
Step 9: Branding and Marketing
If you survived the launch and you are getting traction, Cheap Marketing might work up to a certain point.
Marketing will be a playing a huge role from now on. Depending on the phase your are living with, your biz might or might not have funds to sustain the growth.
If you are at the early stages still, make sure to invest in brand recognition and authority. Strive to get your space in the market as well as consolidating your position amongst competitors.
If you are already into the business and things are going well (stable and recurring income, controlled expenses, predictable cashflow, solid base of customers) you might either seek for loans or fresh investment from others (Business Angels, Venture Capitalist, Crowdfunding)..
Finally, you might want to run a parallel paid advertising campaign along with the SEO strategy. You will learn faster what converts better since you will be more exposed to specific segmentation of clients.
Step 10: Scaling up your Business
You reach a point where your business is widely known at least nationally, and it is time to go big. You have achieved most of your basic goals and you possess one (if not more) product generating traffic regularly.
Scaling up your business will be your ultimate task.
You will need to consider aspects like international taxation, dealing with local regulation, and abiding by different rules based on different contexts.
If you reach this point, you are no longer someone who wanted to start a business with no idea. You are now a navigated business owner with years of experience and exposure to a specific market. You might also have people working for you and your brand is spoken worldwide.
Your efforts payed off, I wish you can get all of this!
If you are determined, you can start a business with no ideas. As I explained in this post, you can start from your passions to find what could eventually turn out as a business opportunity.
Following these steps, aspiring entrepreneurs can convert interests into money-making machines. Even if the journey is uncertain being resilient and adaptable will help you along the way.