(Updated: April 20, 2016) How did Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jennie Chua as well as other award-winning entrepreneurs in Singapore make it?
They each served a skillfully carved business concept that entices people to not just look but actually line up for it, take a plate or more, and pay for it.
Perhaps the most thrilling yet most critical point when you are setting up a business in Singapore is cooking up a business idea that—you hope—will sizzle for a long time. This is also the first step in creating a business plan that drives results.
Whether you are developing a business idea, testing it, or refining it today, here is a recipe that you can try—or modify in the future according to your taste:
Where and how do you start shaping or improving your business idea?
Think of the four P’s: Passion, Present, Pain, and People.
Passion (seasoned with persistence)
If a business idea is not something that will make you stay awake till the wee hours of the morning, it would be easy for you to delay developing it, forget learning more about it, and even give up on it once something goes wrong.
What is that area in your life that excites you and emphasizes your competence at the same time?
1. Create a list of your favorite things, those that you’re willing to spend for or spend time for. Are you in love with computer programming, conducting workshops, or baking cookies?
2. Create a list of your talents, skills, hobbies, or any activity that gave you awards or compliments in the past. Even the smallest accomplishments count, like the time your teachers asked you to join the graphic design competition at school because they noticed the visuals in the projects you submitted to them.
3. Spot what’s common between list no.1 and list no.2 to come up with list no.3.
4. Research the industry trends and potential market for each item on list no.3.
5. Weigh and compare the results until you can narrow down 10 options into one.
Look around. Watch TV commercials. Observe your friends’ posts on Facebook. Check out what’s happening globally. The present is about the current products, services, market behavior, or even cultural practices. Would these concepts last for a long time? Which product or service can you magnify, twist, or reduce into a more specific concept?
Chaos, crisis, critical circumstances may be a source of opportunities.
Turn yucky into yummy!
What’s bothering people lately? Are there reports saying more people are getting sick nowadays? Maybe you are into wellness programs like yoga, cooking, organic farming, or vitamins.
Are there enough people who will constantly crave your product and buy it?
The most common reason why startups fail is they ignore their customers and the product or service they designed have no actual market need.
Here are two basic ways to know if your business idea is appetizing enough to people:
1. How many businesses or competitors do you have in the field? This could be a sign there is a consistent business activity.
2. What are the categories in the field that are consistent in terms of revenue and business expansion opportunities? Choose a category and find out how you can be unique in it.
Without breaking the bank, you can try these cost-efficient ways to test your business idea:
1. Online groups
Go to Facebook and LinkedIn groups as well as Quora and Twitter. Go where your potential clients hang out. You don’t have to share with them the entire idea. Ask something about one of the possible problems your product or service can solve, and solicit the ideas of the members. Ideally, you should get a specific and tangible response, like “I hope there’s a multi-purpose cleaner for all types of surfaces at home.”
2. Craigslist and Amazon
Try observing the amount of ads listed on Craigslist (or Amazon for products) for a particular category or categories that resonate with your business idea. If you plan to put up a marketing agency, find out if there are more ads about agencies specializing in one type of marketing compared to those that are doing everything, including PR, social media, and events management?
Browse the press releases. What type of companies is announcing revenue reports, expanding overseas, or getting great customer feedback? Observe the field you want to enter—how are your competitors doing? What are their activities?
This is an alternative to Google Keyword, which you probably know already. Keywords can give you tips about the angle you can pursue for your business idea. Take a look at this:
With the results above, you will get the idea that probably, there are pregnant women looking for softdrinks that as much as possible is healthy for them. There may also be softdrinks businesses looking for ways to design their logo or brand but they’re not capable of doing them. How good are you at graphic design or branding strategy?
There’s a powerful word that can steam your concept right, prevent the rancidity of your existing business idea, or maybe add more flavors to it.
It’s the word that will help you get answers and explore what your idea is missing.
1. Go to trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences. Connect with fellow entrepreneurs and maybe influencers in your industry and share with them a part of your business idea. Ask for their feedback.
2. If you’ve already developed a product or service, approach a community or a local organization that might want to try it out for free. Ask if they like it. If they do, ask them your product’s strengths. If they don’t like it, ask where they experienced inconvenience or dissatisfaction.
Can I handle feedback?
Many entrepreneurs fail to develop their product or service and rev up their startup operations because they refuse to gather perspectives.
Be aware of your unconscious ideas and emotion that can hinder you from approaching other people that can actually help you. Learn to overcome them.
The actual way to test it is to…TEST IT.
Approach a nearby store in the neighborhood, a former colleague who has a business too, or an association you are a member of. If they get satisfied with your solution to their problem and your customer service, word of mouth marketing will help you take your business to the next level.
After that, slowly but surely begin organizing you’re the “business side” of your launching your idea.
Register your business in Singapore. Find people who can help you out. As you go through Singapore company incorporation, you would realize the other aspects of your business that must be administered, such as accounting and bookkeeping, regulatory compliance, cash flow management, and income tax filing. Hire a few employees if you’re ready. Outsource specialists for a more efficient process. Then, proceed to your marketing and sales strategies.
But don’t forget that product development is an ongoing process.
Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Keep exploring the possibilities of your product, the common behavior of your market, and the climate in your industry.
You will get AHA! moments every now and then, and they would turn into business ideas.
Some of them would fail, some would succeed like crazy.
The important thing is when your ingredients and tools get burnt, your method can be flexible.
Hard work and patience always get honey-glazed rewards at the end.
It may not always come in the form of profits but the courage to continue innovating what you serve to people? That’s what makes the body of the cake.
Steve Jobs once said: “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
Ready to realize your business idea?
Richmond provides expert corporate solutions from Singapore company registration to corporate secretarial support to tax and accounting services. Let us assist you in your entrepreneurial journey.