How To Turn An Idea Into A Business

Begin by researching your idea. Before you can enter into a business, you need to know everything about it. Who are your competitors? What do they do well? What can they improve on? Who is your target market? There are so many questions to ask yourself, and to contemplate them successfully, it’s best to write them all down in a business plan.

‘Information is King’. If you’re lucky enough to know that you want to start your own business when you are still at University, you have unlimited tools to help you while you’re there – so use them to your advantage. I studied Optical Management at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, and decided to look at the business behind optics. I was amazed to discover the high margins that were being enjoyed by High Street opticians. I also uncovered a whole range of different prices and propositions which encouraged me to go against the grain and open an online retailer. Without taking full advantage of the information available to me, I may never have discovered the idea in the first place.

Once you’re sure of the idea and you know it’s going to work, it’s time to get the ball rolling. In this time, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. All entrepreneurs, myself included, make mistakes; but it is how you recover from your errors and realise why they occurred in the first place that will stop them from happening again.

In these initial stages, many people will be on hand to give you advice, but also to put you down – especially if you’re young. It is important to take the well-meant advice on board, but ultimately make your own decisions. It is even more important to be thick-skinned when your ideas receive criticism. One of the things I was clear about, was that I wanted the name of my company to be original and memorable. Many critics tried to dissuade me from naming my company “SpeckyFourEyes”. I’m very glad I stuck to my guns, as the name has really helped the company get noticed and grow. Remember, opinion isn’t fact.

During this time, you’ll be busying yourself with picking out logo designs, building websites, engaging with your first customers and sourcing your stock. Many of the initial aspects of building a business will require you to outsource some of your work load. Make sure that you meet with the people you’re working with and build strong relationships. If you surround yourself by positive and trustworthy people, you will be well on your way to developing a successful start-up.

While your outsourced team are busy realising your visions, you should be busy making connections. Most companies will need one or more suppliers of stock. If you don’t already have good connections with these individuals, now is the time to start. In the early days of, business was tough, as many supplier felt it was a gamble working with a young person who wanted to sell glasses on the Internet. It is only you that can prove you are a worthy gamble. So carry shed loads of enthusiasm for your idea at all times; if you believe in yourself, so will others.

Unfortunately, alongside the excitement of meeting new people and building relationships comes the time consuming task of filling in forms, filing documents and organising the administrative side of your business. It’s important to get this right from the start, and it’s worth paying a visit to the HMRC start-up pages on the web, which will guide you through the process of registering your business, registering for National Insurance, tax returns and so on and so forth.

At this point, you should hopefully see a flurry of customers buying your idea. A real buzz can be achieved by making a deal with a supplier, or selling an item that originally only existed in your head, and now is the time to enjoy it. As your customers increase, it is more than likely that they will review your product, tell you what you’re doing well and what you need to improve on. Listen to them. It is vital to remember that you wouldn’t be where you are without them, and if many customers are suggesting something to you, there is often a reason for it.

The process of being an entrepreneur is a challenging one, and it certainly isn’t for everyone. You’ll know from the offset, and before your idea develops, whether or not you’re cut out to be your own boss. Being an entrepreneur is about taking calculated risks; quitting your job to pursue your dreams, ploughing money into your business and resourcing it in the hope that what you are offering will sell. If you’re cut out for an entrepreneurial lifestyle, most risks will pay off, and that’s part of the growing process. If you’re not, it doesn’t mean you can’t be. If you have a good idea, a more cautious approach can still succeed – but, most probably, more slowly. Either way, you must keep the faith and believe in yourself at all times. A good idea will always win through.