Eureka! Have You Really Found It?
We all learned from our school days that the word "Eureka" is the ancient Greek word for "I found it". Many South Africans have done just that - come up with earth-shattering ideas, that is. Take Mark Shuttleworth for example. Entrepreneur of note, and multi-dollar billionaire to boot, he is renowned for converting his big-thinking ideas into cash, serious money!
Mark is but one of a long list of names to have emerged famous from our sun-drenched shores. Perhaps you have a one-of-a-kind-idea of your own, one that you really want to broadcast to the world in exchange for fame and wealth. No problem so far, but just how do you go about getting from the drawing board to the market place? I am going to respond to that right here in this article.
Gap in the Market versus Market in the Gap
You are keen to get going with your brilliant business idea, but you don’t have a clue where to start. Hold that thought for a moment or two while we look at the rules of engagement. Actually, there are no hard and fast rules, because if your idea’s time is right, it will find its own way to fame and fortune. That said, there are some practical issues that you should consider before you quit your job and go on a crazy spending spree:
Write it down - Record your basic idea on your home computer and then save it securely, including password protecting your document. Write a short introduction and then sketch the basic business model. Later, you will need to expand and translate your plan into a proper business proposal. This requires you to identify the milestone, the key dates, and the inter-dependencies of the different activities. This may seem scary at first, but it will soon start to make sense and prove vital as you move forward.
Test the water - Research is essential before launching a new idea, and there is no better place than the internet, or more specifically Google. Simply load up a few keywords and hit the Google search button. Then analyse and refine your searches, until you have drilled down to the level you want. Research should also include talking your ideas and concepts through with trusted friends and family. You can never have too much feedback to an idea you are researching.
Is Anything New Under The Sun?
Well, the wise prophet of old claimed that there is nothing new under the sun, but I believe he may have been reflecting on his era. The contributions that one man alone – his name was Isaac Newton - made to humankind, is proof enough of progress through innovative thinking and inventions. He lived from 1642 – 1727 and was probably the most influential mathematician and physicist of all time. Indeed some say he was the father of the scientific revolution that propelled us out of the dark ages.
The point I make is that if you are passionate about your idea, invention or business plan, let nothing deter you; go out there and make it happen!
Convert Your Dream to Reality
Checklist time; so, you have recorded your idea and completed your research in the market place, and everything looks good – it is a runner. Every good idea and new invention needs some initial funding to get it floated. This is where events are going to be unique for everyone. Some of you may be fortunate enough to have your own capital to get you going, good news indeed! If you have a job, it makes good sense to stay in it until your idea has really taken off, and you need to focus entirely on running your new business.
Do not lose heart if you are not in work and have no money. Now is the time to motivate your family and friends by offering them a slice of the action - shares if you like - in exchange for a worthwhile investment. Avoid commercial banks because they are not lending money easily anywhere, South Africa included. Micro-lenders are the last place you want to end up borrowing from, and even then, my advice is to wait until you have saved or gathered the funds by some other means.
Time to go forth and make it happen!