Being a successful entrepreneur idea is no easy task. It takes a great deal of work, patience and a lot of determination. Entrepreneurs are a different breed of people. They thrive on the challenges that creating a business gives them. They relish the opportunity to give something new to the world and they have the persistence to see their idea through to the finish.
The Most Successful Entrepreneur Idea Hacks
Even with all that, an entrepreneur is not guaranteed to have success. Sometimes it takes a lot of thinking outside the box to succeed. This is true whether you are selling doll houses, coffee or cannabis.
If you want to get your business off the ground, thinking outside the box is a big part of finding that success that you seek. There are many ways that you can get your idea off the ground, and these are just a few of them. Give them a try and see what works for you.
Know the Market
This isn’t really an outside-the-box method, but it is so important we had to mention it here. If you do not research the market that you are getting into, your business is not going to succeed. You need to know what you are getting into before you do. You don’t want to be the person buying a video store when everyone is streaming movies. You don’t want to be the person starting a taxi company when Auber and ride-sharing are taking over.
Knowing your market comes down to research. It comes down to knowing who the other competitors are in your industry, what are they offering and how will you get customers to come to you instead. Research also means looking at who else has found success in your industry and similar ones. Understand how they had that success and what they did to achieve it.
When an author writes a novel, they don’t send off the first draft. They research what they wrote by reading it through, analyzing it, determining what works and what doesn’t. They send off the 10th, even the 20th edited version. The same is true for you with your business, whether it is cannabis, coffee or coloring books. As you research, you may discover things that will cause you to reshape your original idea. Twitter was originally a podcasting company called Odeo. When iTunes came along and torpedoed their idea, the geniuses behind Twitter adjusted to create a company that today employs 3,372 people and brings in revenue of $2.44 billion per year.
Remember the three Rs:
Raise the Cash without Giving Equity
You may not realize if your passion is going to translate into being a full-time business at first. Since you don’t know if it is going to be a success or not, you should avoid selling any sort of equity in your business at the beginning. This is a very good tip for getting your business off the ground because it keeps the power in your hands for what you want to do with your company. You can raise your money many ways including:
- Kickstarter: Used by many companies with great success.
- Savings: Ideally if you are looking at starting your own business, you will have some money in the bank to cover you in the first place.
- Loans: You can borrow against your home or credit card.
- Business Plan Competitions: Yes, these are a thing and you can raise $20,000 to $50,000 at one of these if you win.
Apply the Filter
When you decide you have a great idea, you have a passion for it and you want to put that into making a business that succeeds, you should put it through a filter. Just like a water filter or air filter that gets the bad things out and gives you the purity, you should put your business through its own filter.
There are three stages when you decide to filter things out for your business:
The first thing you need to do is to understand what your product or service is going to be. You need to define it and the product or service must be right for you before it can be right for anyone else. You can only make a great product or service if you make it what you want first. If you have a business idea that does not capitalize on what you are capable of, the business will succeed. Want to start a business where you sculpt beautiful sculptures, but you are better at writing than sculpting, then the business will fail. If it doesn’t fail, you will become discouraged and lose interest.
Once you have defined what will work best for you as an entrepreneur, then the next thing you need to do is to begin to refine your idea. This will help you communicate your idea clearly to someone. Remember the elevator pitch. Be able to sell your product or service in the time it takes an elevator to go to the next floor. Ask yourself:
What can make my idea better?
How will I make my idea something people want?
Who will use my idea and why?
Is my idea something that you can turn into a profitable business and why?
Is my idea great, or am I just fooling myself?
If my idea is not great, how can I improve it?
Lastly, you can now test your idea.
This means going out and talking with people, finding out what they are looking for and from that, you learn what you can offer and how you can make it something they want. Did anyone want a Smartphone before Apple introduced the iPhone? They did, but they didn’t have a company providing it for them. Apple did its market research and found out what people wanted and made it. They tested the waters with their idea to make sure it was something people were interested in, and that is what you need to do.
There are many companies out there that have had an idea, went with it and built something amazing. They did this by trying unique strategies, researching what customers wanted, applying what they knew and getting the word out there. Follow these companies and their own idea hacks to get your business off the ground. They hacked their growth by using unique methods to get people interested. Many of these companies had ideas that were so new; it would have been easy to fail without these ideas.
Exploit the system like Airbnb:
Instead of staying in a hotel, stay in someone’s house when they aren’t home. Seems a bit odd right? A few years ago, people would have thought it was crazy, but today Airbnb is a company that employs 3,100 people and makes $2.6 billion per year. When they first started out, they needed a way to reach people. Typical advertising wouldn’t work so they used Craigslist. Using a weakness in the code of Craigslist, they were able to cross-post their listings on that site, so people looking for a place to stay would go back to Airbnb to complete the transaction. We may not all have the ability to exploit code, but we can find unique ways of advertising like using Craigslist.
Connect people together like Yelp:
Today, Yelp is a huge company that can cause other businesses to crash and burn if customers don’t like them. The problem when they started was how do you tell the real review from the fake ones? They were able to figure out a solution by thinking outside the box to get their idea off the ground. They started allowing real people to recommend businesses to other people. This social aspect was a genius idea as the social media wave was only just beginning. Now people could recommend businesses to each other, and it took the businesses out of the equation, so they would not be putting fake reviews up of themselves. Yelp also encouraged people to use their real names, which helped to lower the chances of fake reviews.
Pay customer to be customers like PayPal:
You’ve heard that you must spend money to make money, but did you know that is how PayPal started? By paying people to be customers? That is some big outside-the-box thinking but it worked. In 2000, they allowed people to sign up and they would pay $20 for each referral. That went down to $10, then $5. By the time the program ended, it had cost PayPal $60 million. Seems bad right? Well, their idea of paying people to use their new service resulted in the company having a market capitalization of $60 billion today.
Reward everyone for being customers like Dropbox:
When Dropbox was founded in 2007, it had 0 users. In April 2009, they had one million users. By November of that year, they had three million. In 2016, they had 500 million. How did they grow and get their business off the ground? In a similar method to PayPal actually. They used a promotional strategy of a clever referral system to get their idea off the ground. If a user was able to get their friend to sign up, instead of just rewarding the user, they rewarded the friend and user. Each would receive extra storage space for free. This encouraged the friend to get people to join up. It helped that there was a growing need for storage online as well as cloud computing was just coming into play. Dropbox also used social media to grow their business. By connecting a Twitter account or Facebook account to their Dropbox account, users were able to gain even more space.
The thing with ideas is that they can be a dime a dozen. But when you hit on the right idea, it can take your business to the next level. The trick is making sure you get your idea off the ground.
Just remember these tips:
- Research your market heavily.
- Do several “edits” of your idea to make it the best it can be.
- Raise cash without sacrificing your company’s equity.
- Raise awareness of your company through different means like referrals, paying customers, taking advantage of existing systems and rewarding people for being customers, along with those they refer to you.
Lastly, the greatest idea hack is to simply follow your passion. If you do what you love, your chances of success multiply.