I Have This Amazing Business Idea…Now What


By Brian T. Horowitz

Say you have a revolutionary business idea—an innovative retail store or a cool new product—and you don’t know how to go about bringing it to fruition. How can you bring your business plan to life?

Your amazing business idea starts in your head but to gain some structure, document your proposal in written form. 

“It’s part of creating some type of discipline instead of having all these thoughts in your head,” said Avery Blank, a strategist and Forbes senior contributor. “When you are forced to write something down, sometimes it allows you to gain a little bit more clarity and focus on things so having the discipline to write those ideas down is really helpful.”

As you evaluate the feasibility of your business proposition, whether it is a product or service, consider what you would like to come of it, Blank advised.

“Envision the end result and really ask yourself, what is it that I want to achieve?” Blank said. “Start with the end in mind.”

Talk to People and Test Your Idea

A key step in exploring your new business idea is testing it out to see if it’s viable, advised Steve Strauss, entrepreneur and author of “Your Small Business Boom: Explosive Ideas to Grow Your Business, Make More Money and Thrive in a Volatile World.” When Jeff Bezos and the Amazon team had an idea to sell books online, it was a small idea that worked and then led to the rise of e-commerce and selling other products online. 

“They figured out how to sell books, they figured out how e-commerce works and they figured out how to get people to trust buying online,” Strauss said. “These are all things no one had ever done before.”

You can test your idea on social media to see if the idea gains traction there, according to Strauss. 

“When you’re testing it, you’ve got to make sure that it’s affordable to create, and that there’s a market for it,” Strauss said. 

Test out your idea for interest by taking out Facebook or Google ads, Strauss said.

“You want to talk to people to get a sense of if there is going to be a need or demand for this product or service or whatever that idea is,” Blank said. Talking to other people can also attract investors and stakeholders, she added. 

“You want people to challenge your thoughts to make sure that what you’re thinking about is practical, that it’s actually operational,” Blank said. 

Consult with a group of advisers in the corporate world and academia to gauge the viability of your idea. 

Strauss noted that entrepreneurs are often enthusiastic and creative but need a sounding board to make sure the ideas they are enthusiastic about are worth pursuing.

“I would suggest to any would-be entrepreneur, that the first thing you want to make sure is that other people think it’s a great idea, because you don’t want to invest a lot of time, money, resources and reputation into an idea that actually isn’t marketable, isn’t doable.”

Strauss cites the second season of “Shark Tank” when an entrepreneur presented an alarm clock that had bacon cooking on it. The user would wake up to the smell of bacon. The inventor thought it was a promising idea, but the judges on the show questioned its viability.

“All you do is pay for people who right-click on your ad, so they’re already qualified leads,” Strauss said. “By creating the right ad, with the right market, to the right demographic, you can very affordably test your idea, market your new idea and see whether people are going to buy it or not.”

Crowdfunding on sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter also provide a way for entrepreneurs to test their ideas. 

“What crowdfunding allows you to do is see whether the crowd is interested in what you do, and if they are and you can do it, then you know people are going to help you fund it,” Strauss noted. “You’re going to find out if it works, and then people are going to buy it.”

Consider the Business Risk

Always think about how to address the challenges your business idea brings and the amount of business risk, Blank advised. Be sure to discuss these business risks with investors to help build their confidence in your as a potential investment. 

“The more you can show that you are planning and really thinking through all of the issues and potential risks, just by way of letting them in, and to kind of see how you think in the process, can give them a level of confidence in wanting to invest in you,” Blank said.