You’ve been thinking about a business idea for months or even years, but have been unsure how to actualize it. But now you’re certain that you want to follow through with the idea and are focused on building a company from the ground up. But how exactly do you turn your dreams into reality? Here, self-described “self-starter” Corey Shader shares five initial steps that will help you convert your business idea into a working startup.
1. Validate your idea
You’ve likely spent quite a while building up an idea in your head. However, dwelling on the topic for an extended period of time usually leads to a subjective view of your idea rather than an objective one. Therefore, you may completely gloss over some obvious flaws in your idea, whether those flaws are in your assumptions or in the industry you’re planning to work in.
It is essential to validate your idea; find people you think are your ideal customers and schedule a meeting with them. Ask them questions about your idea and see how they respond. In doing so, you’ll be able to pinpoint what flaws there are in your business idea and where the strong points are.
2. Create a business plan
Even though you haven’t officially started a business, a fantastic early step is to create a business plan. Putting important aspects of your business on paper will help you formalize business idea, and the business plan will function as an idealized write-up of your company’s future plans. It details how you’ll get funding, how your revenue streams will work, and what your company’s overarching vision is. It’ll help you figure out how much money you’ll be able to make (or potentially lose in the first few years) and will help you decide how ambitious you’d like to be in the early stages of your startup career.
3. Build a network
Though creating a startup can be incredibly isolating, a quintessential method for achieving success is to build a network of like-minded individuals. Studies have indicated that a group of motivated individuals is likely to have more overall success than the same individuals, isolated. This is because the group will be more receptive to bouncing ideas off of each other and to constructive criticism, ultimately refining ideas and making better overall end products or services.
Although you can do this with online friends, it’s recommended to build a local network of entrepreneurs. One of the primary benefits of a local network is the ability to reach out and meet face-to-face, which provides a much-needed social outlet for overworked founders.
4. Find a grounding activity
You can’t be working all the time. You may hear the opposite from some successful founders; you’ll likely hear stories of 100-hour work-weeks and fewer than 4 hours of sleep a night. However, this can be a recipe for early burnout and can lead you to completely lose motivation for your idea. To counteract this, make sure you schedule time each day for what’s known as a grounding activity.
Grounding activities are simple hobbies or tasks that help you completely detach from work. These could be as simple as short meditation sessions through the day, daily workouts, or more complex tasks that must happen over multiple days. It may take some exploration to find an activity that completely removes thoughts of work, but it will be an extremely useful tool as work stress increases. You’re essentially creating a hard-wired reset in your brain, giving you a fresh start when you head to work the next morning.
5. Secure internet space early
Imagine that you’ve spent countless hours developing your startup idea and brand, but when you try to register the name you’ve decided on it’s already taken. If this happens, you may have to redesign your brand and come up with a new name; that’s why it’s critical to secure your brand across as many platforms as you can early on. Buy your website domain and register it. Get that name secured across the standard social media websites as well, so no eager domain squatters can grab it and sell it to you later. Though you may not begin actively developing those Internet spaces right away, having them in your back pocket offers some security for your brand.
Converting your startup idea into a truly successful business is no easy feat. These five tips from successful independent business consultant Corey Shader are meant to help you build momentum on your journey, but are certainly not the only tips to follow. Use your network to its maximum potential and take the time to make objective decisions early on, and you’ll begin to realize the potential of your idea.