Have you got what it takes?

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Good Advice -

THE BIG IDEA

This can be some­thing cre­ative like a plot for a chil­dren’s book or a top-se­cret fam­ily recipe that’s wor­thy of a pop-up restau­rant, or it could be a new way of do­ing busi­ness. But an idea isn’t enough; you need to work out your unique sell­ing point and be able to ex­plain it in three sen­tences or less. DO

THE RE­SEARCH

All the busi­ness­women we spoke to had one thing in com­mon – they’d spot­ted a gap in the mar­ket. You need to make sure what you’re do­ing is orig­i­nal. Speak to friends and fam­ily first, but then broaden your re­search. Set up fo­cus groups and talk to ex­perts in the in­dus­try to make sure your idea has legs. Re­search com­peti­tors, too, and make sure you thor­oughly un­der­stand your in­dus­try.

TEST THE MAR­KET

It should be­come clear fairly quickly if peo­ple want to buy what you’re sell­ing. If there’s no de­mand, you may need to adapt. Don’t get dis­heart­ened; af­ter drop­ping out of Har­vard, Bill Gates set up a busi­ness with Paul Allen called Traf-odata. This was fa­mously a flop – but then the pair went on to found Mi­crosoft.

WRITE A PLAN

We’ve all seen Dragon’s Den – you need to get to grips with the nitty gritty of how your busi­ness will make money. If you don’t have a head for fig­ures, bring in some­one who does. If you want to se­cure a loan from a bank or in­vest­ment from other sources, you’ll need to un­der­stand and ar­tic­u­late how much the busi­ness will cost to run, what your turnover will be and when you will make a profit.

STICK AT IT

What all our suc­cess­ful busi­ness­women have in com­mon is the abil­ity to learn from mis­takes and bounce back. Run­ning your own busi­ness is not easy. You need a thick skin and to be pre­pared to work hard.

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