What a fun month! I’ve been traveling like crazy.
It seems that, no matter where I go, I run into people who have a lightbulb containing a new business idea floating over their head. Once they hear that I do business development and branding strategy, they want to run their idea by me to see if it has legs.
In fact, I’ve had this conversation so many times, I thought it might be useful to share what I call a “prebusiness checklist.” If you’ve been toying with an idea and aren’t sure how to take it to reality, start here:
Prebusiness 6-Point Checklist
1. Inventory – cost & time
This can be an excel spreadsheet, or if you’re not techy, even just a basic ledger. If you’d be creating a product, make some guestimates of what it would cost you in time and materials to create one product. Then, rework the numbers to figure out what it might cost to create 100 of the product… or pick a number that seems realistic for your manufacturing system.
Looking at the numbers:
- How much could you sell the product for?
- Is there room for profit between manufacturing and selling?
- Do you need to consider a retail mark-up or do you go straight to the consumer?
- Are there volume price breaks at the larger number?
- Would you have to consider outsourcing some/all of the labor?
If the numbers encourage you to go further…
2. Brainstorm 5 business steps
Off the top of your head, brainstorm 5 things you’d need to do to start a new venture. Would it be to create a sample product? Would it be secure funding? Would it be to source materials? Would it be to find a workspace? Whatever your ideas are, just write them down on a piece of paper.
Once you have these ideas started, go to Step 3, the calendar.
3. Calendar start up and 3 months of business
Print out a 3-month calendar and block out the time you’ve already committed to other priorities (family, work, travel, etc). Then seeing the time you might have available to commit to your new venture, plug in some deadlines to complete the items listed in Step 2. Can you find time in 3 months to test your idea in a real way?
4. Create a sample product
If you haven’t already, make a sample of the product you’re envisioning. Did it fit within the material costs and time that you thought it would when you created your inventory spreadsheet? If it was more expensive or took more time, can you make adjustments?
Show the sample to people around you. What’s the feedback? Would they buy it or know someone else who would? Ask them to guess a price without giving them your numbers. Are you in the same ballpark?
5. Write down one paragraph describing your ideal customer
I put this after you work out the numbers and the time, because your idea might have shifted as you adjusted your dream to reality. Now that you really know what you’d be selling, take the time to envision your customer.
What does s/he look like? Where does s/he live? Where does s/he find your product? Is s/he a repeat customer? Could you develop referral business?
6. Write down one paragraph describing your business.
Start with a one-sentence overview. You may expand in more detail, but first create one sentence that can stand alone.
I also bring this step to the end, because I find that as you flesh out your product and your customer, it gets easier to describe your business. Be as absolutely specific as you can. Something like “I design custom-made running shoes for high school athletes” creates a specific picture in someone’s mind.
If you go through these steps and say, “Yes, I want to do this,” awesome!
If you’d like to get some coaching and/or organization around your business goals, please consider calling me. 925-413-0044. I love working with clients who are enthusiastically pursuing their dreams!