I Have an Idea for a Business… What Do I Do Next?

This depends on your personal situation, but there’s one thing that you must always do: Understand that your idea is only the beginning. Ideas are potential, but they’re worthless without action.

Obviously, this is why you’re asking what to do next =) But this mindset is important, because of the first step you should take:

  1. Share your idea with others. Too many people are afraid of sharing their “billion-dollar idea” for fear of it getting stolen. First, it’s likely not a billion-dollar idea, and second, if it’s that easy to steal, it will run into competition soon anyway. What you want to do is talk to strangers and friends and determine if your idea has value, or better yet removes pain from people’s lives.
  2. Create a back-of-the-napkin plan. The first step essentially establishes that there IS a market for your idea. Next is to determine if it is a viable business idea, which means it can be profitable. There are plenty of thins that people would love but don’t exist because they are unsustainable. You must get an understanding of 3 main numbers:
    1. Sale price – how much would someone actually pay for it?
    2. Total cost – after labor, materials, shipping etc… how much does it cost the business to make 1 unit?
    3. Overhead – if your business sold 0 units, how much would the business still spend in salary, rent, utilities, etc…?
  3. Make a team. Now that you have a viable idea, you need to fill in the gaps in your knowledge to turn an idea into reality. There are as many job titles as there are jobs, so I titles aren’t the best way to do this in my opinion. Instead, determine how various responsibilities will be handled. Here are a couple team examples:
    1. 2-person team
      1. The passion person who is an expert in the industry and product.
      2. The business person who understands the details that need to be taken care of (this is where I help businesses).
    2. 3-person team
      1. Sales & Marketing – get the product in front of people and sell it.
      2. General & Administrative – manage the inner-workings of the business and other relationships, like vendors, accountants, and lawyers.
      3. Research & Development – innovate and improve the product. Keep up with market demands and then some.
    3. More-person team – depending on how many people are needed to actually CREATE the product or service, your team can grow quickly, but the above two examples can manage the business in a balanced way.
  4. Establish agreements. There are plenty of agreements to be made between local, state, and federal governments, suppliers and customers, and other parties. First, make an agreement between the team members (this is in the operating agreement), and answer questions such as…
    1. Who will own what % of the business, and what will they contribute to earn this?
    2. How will people be compensated, and what will there specific responsibilities be?
    3. How will disputes be resolved, and what happens if one partner wants to leave or another wants to join?
  5. Find funding. Calculate your initial start-up costs. How much time and money will it take to get that first product out the door? How much time will it take to reach a break-even point? If the partners can’t contribute enough, you will need to raise money elsewhere, and a this is where I recommend a full business plan to take to a bank or angel investor (I help businesses here as well).

There is so much that goes into running a successful business. It’s important to recognize that ideas are like assholes: everyone’s got one. That doesn’t mean your idea isn’t great though. If you have passion for something, you may be ready to put in the hard work to create a business and spend your life doing something you love.

My passion is helping people like this. If you’re tired of the corporate grind, or you’re struggling to get your business working right, I help passionate people become entrepreneurs. Because life’s too short!

The above 5 steps can’t encompass everything… so if you want to learn more about what you could do with your idea, schedule a FREE 20-minute consultation with me, and I can at least give you some clarity and point you in the right direction. At most, we can become partners…