I've Got a Great Business Idea, Now What?

Every great start up started with an idea. Some were clever ideas, some were revolutionary, some were a combination of existing products in a new form, some were crazy, impossible or just nuts. But what made them into great new businesses is a determination to make the idea into a reality.

By Mark R. Rosenzweig, SCORE Certified Counselor

Every great start up started with an idea. Some were clever ideas, some were revolutionary, some were a combination of existing products in a new form, some were crazy, impossible or just nuts. But what made them into great new businesses is a determination to make the idea into a reality.

Most of us however drop the ball at the idea phase.. Taking the idea and turning it into a full fledged business possibility is where most great ideas get lost. So what should you do to take that great idea to a reality?

First, think about the idea from a technical perspective. Can it be made or done? If there is a missing piece can it be developed and by whom?

Look at Apple's IPOD as an example. What made the IPOD a great idea was taking available or doable ideas and putting them in a great package. Miniature hard drives allowed Apple to make a very small music player. What made the product unique was a simple intuitive interface that people just loved. Put it together and a star was born. A great idea became a great product.

Now that you think the product is doable, will someone want it? Will a lot of people want it? What do you need to do to make them want it and be willing to pay for it? How will you market the product? Who else will you need to get involved to provide the product or service to the customer? Will it work with direct sales, distribution, retail sales or what? What would someone pay for it and how will you know what the market will bear for it?

Take for example Stacy's Pita Chip Company founded by Mark Andrus and Stacy Madison who always shared a passion for good food and a desire to open a restaurant. Because they had no capital they decided to take a risk by designing a food cart and serving healthy pita bread roll-up sandwiches. As an incentive, they served baked pita chips to customers waiting in line. Customers loved pita chips so much, they decided to put the pita chips into stores. In 8 years, revenue of Stacy's Pita Chip Company reached $60M.

Now you have a workable idea, a plan to market and sell it, now you need to build it in quantity to meet the demand you will create. Do you need to make it yourself (and therefore need a factory, equipment and people to make it) or can you outsource it to someone to make it for you? How do you find that supplier and how can you keep your idea under wraps if you outsource?

So far so good... you have a great idea; you understand what needs to be done to design it, market it, sell it, and how to manufacture it. Now all you need is the capital to pay for this and at the same time carry the business until the sales flow in. You now need to make enough money to cover the expenses and have money left over which is the profit .

Now what you have is not just a good idea but the first cut of the business plan to make your "great idea" a great business. Now get some business help from people such as
SCORE to polish up the plan, improve your knowledge of every aspect of your idea and you're on you way to that great new business. Congratulations!