One of the most common lines I find myself saying is, “everyone dreams, but very few people actually turn those dreams into a reality.”
The same goes for businesses. Many people have good business ideas, but few people actually take that idea and turn it into a viable business.
Although there are many different levels and steps that go into starting a business, I want to break it down into a few core principles for you. For the sake of simplicity, I will use a page from my own story- Starting NUYU Juice Bar with my business partners when I was only 18-years-old. I get asked more times than I can count how we did it and what the process looked like, so here you go!
DO YOUR RESEARCH
So you have a great idea and you’re fired up to make it happen… But what’s the first step you take? A lot of people assume that you should immediately start building a business plan and getting your funding together. Don’t worry, that step comes later. But that’s not the first thing you should do.
The very first action step you should take on your new idea is doing your research. The goal here is to identify your target market, see results and stats of businesses like yours and overall get an idea of what those who have gone before you in your industry have done. In order to create, you must first have a foundation of knowledge to create from. Once you know what has been done before, the goal is to find a need around your industry and create a better solution for it than exists right now in the marketplace.
Once we came up with the idea to start a juice bar, we went to work researching everything we possibly could about juice bars. We even went to the only juice bar that existed in our town that unfortunately was going out of business. Naturally, the fact that it was going out of business was a red flag indicator that something about their model or our town’s demographic wasn’t working. We hypothesized what those reasons could be and made sure we didn’t make those same mistakes in our business.
When you’re in your research phase, interview your ideal customer. The goal here is to get to a place where if you had your product or service for sale right now, they would buy it. We would go to events with samples of our juice and get it in front of as many people as we could to see if there was a need for our idea. And there was.
In this phase of business creation, you may find that your original idea pivots to fit people’s needs more. This is a good and important aspect to researching! You’re creating a product for your ideal customer not for yourself.
FIND YOUR WHY AND DRIVING FACTOR
Starting and running a business is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. I have yet to meet an entrepreneur who says that it’s easy. So what makes it worth it? What makes us do it regardless of the difficulty and the fact that we probably won’t make a dime off of our venture for a while after we start it? Our WHY and our driving factor is the thing that makes it all worth it.
You have to have something that keeps you going when times are good, bad and ugly. You have to have a greater purpose then just your product, service or yourself. I never started a juice bar to serve juice. NUYU is so much more than that. For us, juice and our other products are just a vessel to inspire and infuse new health, new energy and a new you inside of every person we encounter. Our owners know that, our team knows that and chances are, the majority of our regular customers know our purpose statement as well because it’s in every part of our culture. The times that I want to give up, I remind myself that it’s not about me or even the business. It’s about our driving factor, our why.
MAKE A PLAN
Now comes the part you’ve all been waiting for! The big business plan. Now, I have a newsflash for you that might be surprising. Chances are, what actually happens in your business won’t go according to the “plan” at all. I know for the juice bar, we laugh when we look back at what we created three years ago and what we thought was going to happen in our projections.
If this is the case, do you still need a business plan? ABSOLUTELY! Although we veered off the plan quite a bit because business requires more pivots than imaginable, at least we had something to veer off of and a road to come back to (aka the business plan). A business plan is extremely important. It allows you to go into starting your business with a clear vision of where you are at and where you want to be. You might take a few different roads to get there depending on the weather, but eventually you’ll reach your destination check-points along the way.
With NUYU, we used an incredible resource called liveplan.com. Essentially, it walks you through everything you need to include in your business plan and calculates all the numbers for you as well. Trust me, save yourself the headache and use this incredible resource! Once you have your plan, you have pitch deck to show to investors (if you need investors) and also something to start creating action steps from!
BREAK THAT PLAN INTO ACTION STEPS
I will keep this step brief because I wrote a whole article on this idea already, but the next step after you create your plan is to take action on it! In order to be the most efficient with your time and accomplish your goals, it’s best to break your business plan into specific action steps. For example, with NUYU we knew we needed to buy all the equipment needed for operations. That step alone was broken down into many action steps from getting an investor (that alone took multiple different steps) to finding out the exact model of juicer we needed. Turning your idea into a business can seem like an overwhelming and almost impossible feat. However, when we break down that big picture into multiple puzzle pieces, all the sudden it becomes more realistic than ever!
TAKE ACTION EVERY DAY
What is the final step in all of this? DO IT. This takes us back to the phrase I quoted at the beginning of the article. Don’t just dream your whole life, take action on those dreams and make them a reality!
Now that you have your specific action plan, I recommend making a detailed timeline of accomplishment for each of those tasks and putting that in the calendar. Check out my article on goal setting if you want to be walked through more detail on how to do that.
I love this quote by Alexander Graham Bell- “The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action.”
And with that being said… Cheers to taking action and turning your crazy idea into a viable business!
If you want to hear a full and more in depth approach to this topic, check out my interview with Kyle Herron on Entrepreneur Before 25.