“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar
Did that sting a little? If it did, then you’ve been sitting on that business idea for too long. If it didn’t, it’s time to start asking yourself why you’re not so keen on pursuing that passion project yet.
Is it because you have so many doubts that you’re afraid to start? Worry no more, because that’s actually Step 1 of our ideas-to-reality guide!
Step 1: Quiet Your Doubts
Here are typical thoughts every founder-to-be deals with. The good news? You’re more normal than you thought!
“I’m not good enough to do a business.”
You may not be good enough now but once you start building a business, you’ll learn everything you need to know. Remember that businesses aren’t exams or office presentations you can prepare for. Doing something you aren’t good at is also a great sign that you’re finally getting out of your comfort zone.
There are also many successful CEOs who don’t have MBAs or degrees related to their business. For example, Peter Thiel of Paypal was a Philosophy major. In fact, one of his biggest regrets in life was that he waited so long before starting a business.
“Someone probably beat me to it.”
A lot of thriving businesses are not unique. Grab started after Uber. Lazada and Zalora are here because of the success of eCommerce giants like Amazon. Nowadays, it’s unlikely if not impossible, that your idea has never been done before. If your idea is already in the market, the go-to strategy is to think of how to differentiate your idea— so calm down!
“I don’t have enough capital to start a business.”
When you want to start a business, you immediately picture it in full scale. Complete with office and full time staff. Yet, what you should be focusing on is getting your first client or first customer.
Typically, that doesn’t cost anything. If you need to spend on tech or manufacturing to get customers, try to do a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) first. An MVP is the cheapest or simplest version of your product. Costs can be bootstrapped from your savings or fundraised from family and friends.
Did you know that 87% of Philippine startups began their business while still employed? Bottomline, at the startup stage, you shouldn’t be worrying about capital. At this point, we hope that you stop feeding your doubts and start getting a bit more pumped up to pursue your venture!
Step 2: Find Your Why
Some people tend to put very low importance in thinking about why they want to start a business in the first place. Yet your “why” is so important because it will guide most of your business decisions. Let’s zone in on the top 3 “whys” of every business founder. Which one are you?
“I want to build a legacy.”
There’s no shame in wanting to disrupt an industry, a country or even the world. People like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have this why.
Mark wanted to revolutionize the way people connected with each other. Steve invented the first personal computer that could be used by any ordinary person.
So if this is your why, you’re in for a wonderful journey! Also, expect to go full time on your business sometime in its second or third year. Legacy businesses will eventually take a lot of focus and effort.
“I want to be financially free.”
We all want to get to that point where we don’t need to depend on our jobs to survive. Where we can live comfortably, travel freely, and have enough for retirement.
Most of us know that our monthly salary will never be enough for our financial goals. In this case, starting a business is one of the best ways to earn lots of extra money!
If this is your why, you’re definitely on the right track to financial freedom.
Businesses for financial freedom can either be passive or active. If you want it for passive income, it means you want it to create money without putting in much effort.
This is great for people who love their careers and full time jobs. Otherwise, you can also plan to go full time on the business when the timing is right.
“I want to do something I love.”
Do you ever see people who have turned something they love to do into a sustainable business? Are you in the same situation? If yes, then this is your why!
These are called passion businesses and they are a great way to earn money and have a lot of fun at the same time. Like the second why, this can be either a passive or active business for you.
So did you get to decide which one is your “why”? Was there a resounding yes for one of them? Or did you feel like more than one reason resonated with you? Don’t worry, it’s normal to have more than one thing driving you.
Now that you have your why, always keep that in mind. This will be your drive when things get hard and your doubts come back.
Step 3: Create Your Business Idea’s One-Liner
Now that you have a clear purpose, it’s time to create that one-liner for your idea. The one-liner is one sentence that describes your business idea. It’s always good to start with this, because you’ll be able to organize your thoughts.
Plus, it’s so quick and simple!
In creating your one-liner for the first time, its best to follow the
following format. All you have to do is fill in the blanks!
“My company helps [Target Market] [Statement of Need/Opportunity] through [Your Product or Service].”
Here are some quick one-liner examples to jump start your thoughts:
- “My company helps small and medium businesses manage field employees better through an employee tracking software.“
- “My company helps college students find and book the best tutors in town through a mobile application.“
Some quick tips to make sure you have a rocking one-liner:
- For the target market, the trick is to be specific. If you’re targeting businesses, what type or size? If you’re targeting people, what demographic and characteristics do they have?
- For the statement of need/opportunity, a helpful tip is to have a good understanding of your customer’s problem. Always ask yourself: What are my customer’s pain points? Also, be specific about what part of the bigger problem you’re trying to solve. For example, if you want to solve business efficiency, which parts of it? If you want to help college students learn better, which part of their education will you focus on?
- For the product/service part, make sure it’s straightforward and connects to the need/opportunity stated.
It’s okay if you can’t make it super specific yet. Your one-liner will keep on improving as you build your business.
Step 4: Start Telling People About Your Idea!
The last step to turn your idea into reality is to actually tell people about it! The moment you make it public, marks its first day in the real world.
Now that you have a one-liner, it’s very easy to ask people for feedback and determine next steps.
Now the next steps for every founder will be different. It can be finding co-founders, developing a business plan, or doing initial market testing.
Whatever next step you choose, you’ll need to learn by consulting mentors or reading books. If you’re less of a self-learner, you can sign up for a workshop or seminar like The Next Step: Jumpstart!
Have answers to all the steps we’ve provided, but still lost on where to begin? Join The Next Step seminar series and be empowered with knowledge and practical insights on branding, costing, marketing and other “must-haves” in starting a business. Register now!
Be Inspired, informed and empowered as you listen and interact with the speakers who are experts in their respective fields. You’ll meet fellow entrepreneurs from newbies to veterans whom you can exchange ideas with. We’ve also thrown Business innovators and advisers in the mix so it will surely be an enriching and interesting evening!