Chances are that you are a gainfully employed professional in a stable industry with good future prospects. However, there’s a germ of a business idea that has been niggling at the back of your mind for months.
Perhaps you are tired of the daily grind, endless politicking or interminable traffic and want to make a change from business professional to business owner. Or perhaps you are a business owner who has an idea for a new line of business and you’re seeking a seamless process for designing a plan for that new business.
I’d like to share 10 steps for building a business blueprint, which I gleaned from my experience starting an online platform business in Nigeria.
- Understand entrepreneurship: An entrepreneur is a person that discovers opportunities for value creation and assembles the resources required in order to exploit these opportunities. He is both a thinker and a doer, who creates value through different types of enterprises. Assess yourself ”Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?”
- Create an innovative product or service: Entrepreneurship arises from the improvement of the status quo. Such improvement can be incremental or revolutionary. Regardless of the magnitude of the innovation, the bottom-line is that such improvement must be profitable. One way to uncover the hidden potential of existing products is the use of the ACE Matrix. Observing your environment using the AEIOU Framework is another powerful tool for generating ideas.
- Conduct initial market research: Market research is the commercial equivalent of ‘’looking before you leap.’’ Having hit on your ‘’eureka idea’’, you cannot immediately rush to the marketplace to implement. You need to test the receptiveness of your target market to your idea.
- Size the opportunity: You will need to size the opportunity by creating an opportunity report. The Opportunity Report can be viewed as a high-level business plan or a precursor to the feasibility study.
- Assess the feasibility of your business model: A feasibility study should be conducted to determine the likelihood that your business idea will be successful. While it is not a checklist, a good feasibility study tests the different components of the idea’s business model to determine its chances of success.
- Develop the business plan: By this time, much of the initial analysis required to write your business plan has been concluded. All that remains is to put together what has been developed into a well-written plan that communicates your intentions to internal and external stakeholders.
- Choose a name: Ideally, the name you choose should reflect: Who you are; What you do and How you do it.
- Create a prototype: Test your idea by creating a prototype in any of the following forms: physical goods, software or services
- Build your 60-second elevator pitch: An elevator pitch is an introductory summary about you and your business goals. It is one of the most effective methods to promote your personal brand and get listeners wanting to know more, be it with potential investors, employees, co-founders etc.
- Create a brand identity: Develop an action plan that includes brand improvement and brand communication so your brand can be known and recognized. Write your top three priority actions for building your brand over the next 30 days.
‘’Failing to plan is planning to fail’’ asserted inventor and entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin many years ago. The same concept hold true today. Building a successful business requires a solid foundation based on the ten steps enumerated above.
Do you want a detailed yet affordable report with real-life examples, techniques and practical action steps? Download our report ‘’How to Build a Business Blueprint in 10 steps’’ here.