Have a great business idea?

Wonderful! You are all set. Actually, that’s not true. The business idea is just the beginning of a very long journey.

Having a great business idea does not equate to having a great business. I wish it were that simple, but it is not. Nor does hard work guarantee you a successful business. Bummer, I know.

This is an important lesson to learn because as kids, we were taught that we could do anything if we put our minds to it and work hard. That’s a wonderful sentiment, but it’s just not true. If it were, a more significant percentage of businesses would succeed, and everyone would be rich.

So what are some things you need to consider when starting a business?

How unique is your business idea?

You should know that just because you have a good business idea does not mean you have a unique idea. Is the market already saturated with your idea? I can’t tell you the number of yoga studios, frozen yogurt shops and cupcake places that have inundated my area in the last few years. Sooner or later, it’s going to be overly saturated, if it is not yet already. Sure, baking cupcakes all day sounds quaint and cute, but is it unique? Is there a need for this in your market? Or is the market already cornered?

Is the timing right for your great business idea?

Timing is the key to success. If you have a business idea, it’s not unlikely that someone else is pondering the same thing. Be the first one to jump on board. Don’t sit on your idea, or someone else will succeed with it. There is no time to waste. If you see a hole in the market, fill it. Uber did it with connecting everyday cars and drivers with people who needed a ride. Airbnb had done it by connecting people with extra space and travelers. Their ideas were not only great, but the timing was right on.

Are you ready to adapt to your market?

Your business plan may not always project reality. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much market research you do, circumstances change. Maybe there is an extreme initial interest in your business, because of the newness, but then it trickles off. Hey, it happens. Be prepared for anything.

Be flexible. Nothing remains the same, and you are not operating in a vacuum. You are going to have to change with the times. As technology develops, you will need to adjust your business to grow with this. Look at this as an opportunity instead of a hindrance. You can set yourself apart by staying ahead of the curve.

Can you out-compete your competition?

After you have studied your competition, can you come up with a better unique selling point (USP)? If you can’t truly differentiate your business, you don’t have a chance. If your customers have to ask what makes you better, you have lost. Can you give what your customers want at a price they are willing to pay? Are you ready to take better care of your customers than your competitors? Every business will say yes, but most don’t.

Answer the following questions to gauge how your business can compete:

  • What truly differentiates your business from your competition?
  • How much money will it cost you to get new customers?
  • How will your customer service be superior to your competition?
  • How many differentiators does your business have that are difficult to copy?
  • What low-cost marketing tactics can you successfully execute?
  • What markets can you dominate? What will make you the dominant business in that niche?

Can you hire the best people for your business?

Have a dependable staff who fills in the areas where you are lacking. Having an excellent team is truly important to running a successful company. You should learn about your staff’s strengths and use them. Remember, your business is only as good as the sum of your team. Make sure they truly care about the work they are doing. It’s always better to hire someone who will try really hard than to hire someone skilled, but not flexible. You can always train someone with the right attitude.

Having a good business idea isn’t the end all be all. You need the idea, hard work, perfect timing, select staffing, and stellar execution to implement your great business idea.