How to turn a great idea into big bucks

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­THONY KEANE

TURN­ING a big idea into a money- mak­ing suc­cess re­quires pas­sion, per­sis­tence and pa­tience.

But be­fore any would- be en­trepreneurs put their plans into ac­tion, they should ask them­selves a few key ques­tions.

The first is whether you want to be a busi­ness owner and be re­spon­si­ble for your own fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity, says Naomi Sim­son, founder and CEO of RedBal­loon and a res­i­dent shark on Chan­nel Ten’s Shark Tank.

“This is not a jour­ney for ev­ery­one,” she said.

Peo­ple should also ask them­selves if they could test their idea with po­ten­tial cus­tomers be­fore go­ing into full pro­duc­tion, and ques­tion if there were other busi­nesses that could be po­ten­tial part­ners.

Ms Sim­son said the im­por­tant ques­tions were about cus­tomers – who are they, how many are there, where do they hang out, and what will they pay you?

Rus­lan Ko­gan, the founder and CEO of on­line tech­nol­ogy re­tailer Ko­gan, said no big busi­ness idea could be suc­cess­ful with­out cus­tomers.

“It’s all about the cus­tomer – ev­ery de­ci­sion needs to be all about de­light­ing your cus­tomers,” he said.

Mr Ko­gan set up his web­site within five days of his big idea in 2006, and has built it into a $ 165 mil­lion on­line de­part­ment store that listed on the Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties Ex­change last year.

He said would- be en­trepreneurs should ask them­selves what would sep­a­rate them from their com­peti­tors.

“Make sure your busi­ness has a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage and work re­lent­lessly to flaunt it,” he said.

“Do what you love. If you love what you do, you’ll be able to ded­i­cate your­self to your busi­ness for 80 hours per week and it won’t even feel like you’re work­ing.”

Ms Sim­son said per­sis­tence and pa­tience were crit­i­cal in cre­at­ing busi­ness suc­cess.

“There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween per­sis­tence and ‘ pig- head­ed­ness’,” she said.

“Per­sis­tence in­cludes lis­ten­ing to cus­tomers and stake­hold­ers, not nec­es­sar­ily fam­ily and friends, and ad­just­ing the ap­proach based on cus­tomer feed­back.”

She said at­tract­ing an in­vestor – such as the sharks from Shark Tank – was not nec­es­sar­ily the right move, and bank fund­ing might be bet­ter than hav­ing to give up eq­uity in your busi­ness.

“An in­vestor for early- stage busi­nesses should bring more than money. You want them to bring ex­per­tise, net­works, con­tacts and men­tor­ship,” she said.

“No mat­ter what, have a plan. Know what you need to get done ev­ery day to move your game for­ward.”

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