7 Steps to Evaluate if Your Startup Business Idea is a Hero or a Zero

It Takes More Than Just a Good Idea for Your Startup to Become a Reality

Do you have what it takes to start a successful venture? The world of entrepreneurship is an exciting one. The thought of becoming a hero in the startup environment is both inspiring and scary at the same time.

We are all surrounded with products we use every day that at one time was just an idea in someone’s mind. So, what is the difference between which products make it to market and which ones fail? Here are 7 Steps to evaluate whether your idea is one that can overcome the many challenges of a business startup:

1. Determine if you have right skills and industry knowledge. If your skills are polar opposite of the skills and knowledge needed, it might not be a good idea to move forward. You may determine that you need to brush up on some of the skills needed or gain the knowledge to make sure your business is a success. Whatever the case, taking an honest look at your skills is a brave but necessary thing to do.

2. Identify the “who” and the problem you’re solving with your product. You might have a crazy good idea and you just know that your product will sell, but what if there is little to zero interest in the marketplace? What if it’s really a solution looking for a problem?

One of the most important steps is to identify your target audience and if your product meets an unmet need. Whether you conduct a simple survey, put up a basic single web page and run an inexpensive ad test, or go more full-scale on your market research, this step is critical and not only can, but will, be a make or break situation for your success.

3. Develop a business plan. So, you have this idea that you are just giddy about, you’ve tested there’s market interest, then you’ll likely be seeing dollar signs in your eyes. What is the next step? How do you go from the idea to bringing your product to market? The answer to that very question lies in one document, your business plan.

Whether you create a one page business plan, draft a full blown plan, or get strategy help from an expert mentor, be sure that you don’t create a business plan that is just shelved. This plan should be the blueprint for how you get from concept to launch and beyond, guiding you each step, both strategically and tactically. Over time it will evolve, but setting an initial plan—and then executing against it—is imperative. Any potential new team members, mentors or investors will also ask for it before getting involved.

4. Conduct research on your competitors. Knowing who else is selling the same product is a critical success factor. Where are they located? What markets do they serve? Who are their audiences? What about their price points? Where are there holes in their product, messaging or strategy?

These are all critical questions you will need answers to before moving forward. Not so youcan copy their approach, but so you can learn from it. Maybe there are messaging, brand or marketing tactics you can emulate but improve upon in the process. Maybe they are the perfect example of what not to do. There’s unless learning from a competitive assessment, so take it seriously and again—get expert mentorship or help if needed. Even large global companies often provide expert services to help you design products, determine the appropriate channels, map out your necessary supply chain logistics, and can give you expert mentorship that may help you avoid critical mistakes or expedite decisions and go to market more than you ever thought possible.

5. Seek out a good team. Who you surround yourself with will be one of the most important steps in your success. Startup leaders like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg surrounded themselves with innovators. They all claim it was integral to their success – not only from the networking and collaboration aspects, but also from the creativity angle about what could be possible, even though it had never been done before.

Think out of the box when defining your ‘team.’ It’s not just you, co-founders and support staff as you grow – it’s also experts from your community, possibly investors willing to mentor you, influencers in the media, and anyone else you decide to surround yourself with. Getting the right people in the right seats is one of the hardest jobs for any startup, but is also one of the most important, and notably, a core driver of your success. Your radar should be up 24/7 for talented people who are a good fit for your startup, complementing your skill set, and filling gaps you’re willing to admit you have. Where those gaps exist in your team, trusted partners are also a critical resource – providing expertise in their specific fields, eliminating the need to pay for a full-time resource in-house.

6. Find a coach or mentor. Finding someone who has experienced success of their own is important to your success as an entrepreneur. But don’t just find any mentor willing to give you time, seek out a specific mentor you identify who can offer you insight into your product set, markets or other aspects of your startup business based on their own experience.There are many pitfalls and challenges that can be avoided by talking to someone who has guided a successful venture, and learning them early can save you months if not years. There’s no shame in learning from someone else’s successes and failures and using that knowledge to expedite your own startup journey.

7. Set up your business. Now that you’ve gone through the steps to determine if your business startup can be successful, it’s time to set up shop. Obtaining your business license and all appropriate registrations is the start of one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have! There are many trusted resources for learning all of the necessary steps for starting a business, including the legal and accounting aspects you need early on to have the credibility required to launch and pitch to both potential customers and investors down the line.

If you’re working on concepts for a hardware-based new venture, be sure to review Avnet resources that can help you expedite learning the ins-and-outs of manufacturing, logistics and much more. Their global reach not only means economies of scale, it means building a relationship with an industry leader that can help at nearly every step of your hardware startup journey. For more on how Avnet can help your hardware startup innovate and plan for growth, visit www.avnet.com.

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