Have a great business idea but not sure how to make it happen? Marcus Tarrant, business planning consultant for over two decades and creator of the Business Planning HQ Toolkit, has revealed his top tips to successfully turn your business idea into a thriving business!

The journey from idea to viable business is more often than not, a complex and frustrating journey. Understanding some of the pitfalls before you set out should make the path a little smoother, and by following Marcus’ tips below, you will be well on the way to turning an idea into a reality.


 

Tip 1 – SET YOUR IDEA FREE

Contrary to popular belief, business ideas are not valuable.  Great business ideas are everywhere, but most great business ideas never become a great business.  The journey from idea to business is often longer and more difficult than founders anticipate. 

A fundamental assumption of many founders is that everyone is looking to steal your idea.  The reality is quite different.  People are busy and unlikely to have the conviction in the concept that you do.  Whilst it is natural to want to try and protect your idea, often doing the exact opposite brings the new insight required to make it a reality.  A business idea is usually just that, and requires a substantial level of input from a wide range of sources to turn it into something of value. 

The more feedback you can gain in the early stages, the more time and effort you are likely to save in taking that concept to market.  If you can, test your assumptions early. It is often your assumptions about the idea that are wrong.  Identify the assumptions you have made that are fundamental to the business success of your concept.  Test these assumptions. 

Tip 2 – A START-UP IS NOT A BUSINESS

There is an old saying that if you give the same idea to 10 different entrepreneurs, they would each commercialise the concept in an entirely different way.  Particularly in the early stages, the best you can hope for is a foray into a number of different entrepreneurial endeavours around your idea.

As an example, when Marcus launched the new Business Planning Toolkit, he undertook a number of entrepreneurial endeavours to determine which of these might become a viable business.  These included: Google Adwords, Display Advertising Online, Magazine Advertising, Public Relations, distribution via accounting firms.  Until you have identified which of your channels to market can provide a consistent formula for business success (revenues exceed costs), you do not actually have a business.

In business start-up phase you are undertaking a journey to find the business in your idea. 

Tip 3 – ITERATE ITERATE ITERATE!

Build iteration of your business model and channels to market into your business plan.  Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.  Whilst you might assume that a single marketing method will deliver results, don’t put all your funds behind that faith.  Keep some funds in reserve for iteration.  By iteration, this means the ability to try many and varied approaches.  This may involve trying different channels to market, different marketing methods, different product positioning and even changes to the product or service itself.

Tip 4 – THE BEST PRODUCT DOESN’T ALWAYS WIN

Simply having the “best product” isn’t enough.  People don’t like change.  Let’s assume for a minute that you invented a better type of aircraft.  How long do you think this might take to get to market?  Will you have the funds to cross the compliance issues associated with the innovation? Even if you make it past these hurdles, will customers switch?  If you require changes to airport infrastructure, landing strips or customer boarding processes, you might find you are in for a very difficult journey.

Don’t assume that just because you have a “better product’ that you will be successful.  There is a substantial amount of supporting physical and intellectual capital that goes into making a product or service successful from a business perspective.Marcus Tarrant, founder of Business Planning HQ has over 20 years of experience in business planning.  He holds a Bachelor of Economics (Monash Univ. Melb, Aust) and a Masters in Entrepreneurship (Swinburne Univ. Melb. Aust). Over the past twenty years he has worked for some of the world’s largest consulting firms including Deloitte Consulting and Lloyd Morgan Consulting. He has assisted some of the world's leading venture capital firms in assessing and structuring deals include 3i Plc, Innovation Capital, UniSeed, Melbourne Ventures, Stoneridge Ventures and Offspring Ventures. Marcus has seen what works and what doesn't in business planning and capital raising.