Navigating the idea maze
As a founder, one of the biggest challenges you face is navigating the idea maze, bridging the gap that separates your vision from reality. When you first start dreaming up the basis for your business, there are numerous hurdles that you need to jump to get off the ground to get your company up and running.
Navigating the idea maze is a struggle for even the most ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs. No matter how strong your idea is, you often need to use all of the resources at your disposal to make it a reality—this means getting help from others by consulting experts, allocating funding from investors, and assembling a team to run your company with you. It also means working hard to plan out the early stages of your company’s life, as well as to forecast for the future.
Making your business idea a reality
When you have a vision that has the potential to give birth to a business, it takes planning and action to make it happen. When you launch your business, effective planning is a key factor that can determine your success. In addition, knowing how you want to direct your new startup in the marketplace is a crucial aspect of a successful launch.
Without a plan, many startups will fizzle out. Unplanned startups often fail because they have no clear direction or actionable plan set in place for what needs to be done and what niche they satisfy in their respective industries.
It can be easy to lose focus when launching, and end up somewhere you didn’t originally want to go. Below are a few effective ways to efficiently navigate the idea maze and turn your vision into a business.
1. Solicit expertise
Creating a startup is immensely difficult. As a founder, you need a certain amount of specialized knowledge and expertise in your field to get your business off the ground. It is nearly impossible to create a business from the ground up without the assistance of others. Consulting a team of experts is always a wiser way to go than trying to navigate the early stages of developing your business on your own.
You’re probably familiar with the old saying: “K=Jack of all trades, master of none.” However, this adage is actually a misquote that has often been attributed to none other than Benjamin Franklin. Instead, it’s said that he actually wrote: “Jack of all trades and a master of one.”
In other words, trying to be decent at everything is far less fruitful and practical than specializing in one specific skill or field.
Franklin’s famous saying in its true form is a perfect illustration of the importance of knowing what you specialize in, and calling on others for help to cover your weaker areas. When you want to be as effective as possible in executing your vision and making it a reality, consulting experts can be a big help in getting a successful outcome.
Consulting a team of experts is always a wiser way to go than trying to navigate the early stages of developing your business on your own.
2. Create a team
Creating a team puts a system of checks and balances into place for your business. When big decisions need to be made, having input from multiple members of your team can help to maintain fairness and unity in your business. Many well-established companies have a board of directors to ensure that major decisions are not made by one person acting on their own who may not always make the ideal judgment call for one reason or another.
In addition to helping to maintain the balance of power within your company, getting input from your team members is also an important step in refining your vision into a viable business plan.
When you are still in the early stages of launching your business, collaborating with others can expedite the process of making your vision a reality. In the same way that consulting experts can keep you from going in the wrong direction, getting input from your team helps to ensure that you have a sounding board to test and fine-tune ideas with.
Forecasting is a key aspect of staying on track with your vision and mission for your company. When you want to accurately predict your company’s financial future, looking at the successes and failures of similar startups is a great place to start. Even if your company is not established enough to have long-running financial records, you can still forecast future sales by looking at the sales stats of other companies in your industry.
Using whatever forecasting metric matches your business’s current stage of life helps you determine which paths are worth taking and which are not. Some ideas may not be viable for your business in its current stage, and forecasting can help you rule out an unsustainable plan before it derails your business.
In addition to giving you a sense of where your business is headed financially, forecasting also can help you determine what funding you will need to take your company to the next level. When you are looking to increase the scalability of your business to keep it sustainable as it grows, forecasting can give you a clear picture of what your specific fundraising goals should be.
When you are in the process of launching your business, planning ahead is essential. A key element in planning out the early stages of your startup’s life is ensuring that you have the financial means to keep your business scalable. This means getting investors involved and providing them with a well-constructed business plan.
To acquire funding, you will need to present investors with forecasts to convince them that your startup is heading down a financially sustainable road. Showing investors your forecasted sales will give them the confidence to put their trust in your company.
You can also win over potential investors by fleshing out your company’s core ideas and mission to increase interest. This shows investors that your business is not only stable and well-planned, but vision-driven as well. As a founder, your personal vision and mission behind your company matters not only to you and your team, but also to those wanting to invest.
5. Create a plan
With a combination of forecasting, expert advising, and a team with a uniform goal, you’re ready to create your game plan.
Creating a game plan for your company involves combining all of the input from your team members and expert advisors with your own vision for the company to refine and perfect your course of action. Prepare for the unexpected by creating contingency plans, and evaluate and re-evaluate every aspect of your strategy to make sure that you are on the right track.
To create your business plan, start by evaluating your primary short-term and long-term goals. As the founder, no one has more insight into your business’s mission than you. It is up to you to make sure that you and your team follow a plan that syncs up with what your company is trying to achieve.
One of the best ways to keep your company on track is to periodically evaluate your progress, comparing where you are to where you originally planned on being at that point. Periodical progress evaluations can help to keep you and your team from deviating too far from the plan and coming up short in terms of sales and success.
Now you’ve arrived at the moment of truth—it’s time to launch your company. In order to keep everything running optimally, you will need to be vigilant about making any necessary changes to your business model. Keep an open mind as you move forward, and always be willing to accept input and insight from others.
Developing a thriving business takes a combination of sticking to your guns and accepting necessary change. Knowing when it is time to shift gears and head in a different direction can keep your business evolving and developing in healthy ways. When your business plan can adapt to change, it is far more likely to appeal to potential investors.
Also keep in mind that when your vision is in its early stages of becoming a reality, you are likely to experience high levels of anxiety and stress. For the founder of a new company, these feelings are completely normal, but they can be very uncomfortable. In the high-stress early stages of your company’s development, make sure that you continue to take care of yourself, and don’t let yourself get swallowed up by anxiety and burnout.
Navigating the idea maze to get your company started can be challenging. Fortunately, going after a mission and vision that you believe in is well worth the trials and effort involved.
By taking the steps of assembling a team, receiving expert feedback, gathering funding, forecasting sales, and creating a comprehensive plan, you are preparing yourself to hit the ground running and get your company established and stable as fast as possible.