New idea: outsourced virtual office and sales management and technical support for start-up technology companies expanding to new countries who can't yet afford to open their own office. Should we do phone interviews with prospective customers or just email a survey?

The answer to the question mostly revolves around the idea itself. Ideas stall because the process of getting them to market can seem overwhelming. If you validate your idea the process thereafter actually gets much easier. Here are few things to consider the next time you have your next big business idea.
1. Look for it: Before you even get wrapped up in an idea, save yourself the time and do a thorough search to find out if it already exists. If you find it does, do not give up on your inspiration too hastily. Perhaps there are ways to improve on the existing product? Can you offer value to the business already producing it? Could the market be satisfied better? If you answered "yes," move to the next step.
2. Seek feedback: Talk to others about your idea, especially people you trust. At this stage, what you want is brutally honest feedback. Entrepreneurs have a tendency to get stuck in "idea lock," when they are hellbent that their idea is a winner, regardless of what others say. If you are the only person who genuinely thinks the idea is good, then it is time to reassess.
3. Build an MVP: If your idea has support, then consider developing an MVP, or minimum viable product, to determine if it is a product you and others would really use. Channel your inner "MacGyver" and build a working prototype or look to a resource that could leverage newer technologies, such as 3D printing, to help. If you have a technology idea, such as a smartphone app, look to crowdsourcing or a Start-up Weekend event to find the assistance you need. Once you have the MVP, use, and test it and have others test it as well. If it turns out to be a product that you and your friends would never really use, scrap the idea.
4. Start building your identity: If your testing goes well and you feel that you might have a winning idea, start building a brand around it now. In today's fast-moving and innovating business environment, an idea that is validated today may be knocked off or even obsolete tomorrow, so do not linger. More importantly, unless your idea is founded in a ground-breaking and proprietary new technology, more than likely it is already being conceived by someone else already. It is off to the races. At this point, some fear that "exposing" their idea may lead to someone stealing it. This is a completely valid concern, but these days, you should go on the assumption that someone will steal it or develop a newer and better iteration eventually, so the key to success will be to be first to market. Also, while patenting is a great way to protect your idea, it is also an awfully expensive process that is not guaranteed to protect you. If you have the resources, engage a patent attorney, and pursue the protection, but if you do not, then turn your focus on building your brand. Start by choosing a great name and securing the website domain to create, at a minimum, a sharp business landing page. Next, secure your business name with every social-media site you can. Even if you do not use them, it protects you from others securing and using them, and it will ultimately improve your search-engine optimization. Then start leveraging these resources to build a fan base.
5. Hash a customer acquisition plan: Before you dive into a lengthy business plan, which more than likely will be obsolete before you even launch, focus on two questions:
I. "How do I get my first customer?"
"How do I get my n-th customer?"
You may have the best business plan in the world, but without customers, your business is nothing. Create a thoughtful customer-acquisition plan and marketing strategy and be prepared to explain it to investors, partners and stakeholders, as this will undoubtedly be the first questions they ask. Just remember, it is much easier to build a business around a demand than to build a demand around a business.
Now we come to defining part of the question. To define a business idea these ways may be helpful:
1. Find opportunities in your own community: Though cultures and languages may vary, many of the challenges facing our world are similar across many parts of the globe. As such, one of the best ways to identify world-changing ideas is to start locally: Look for issues that concern your local community. Rather than trying to transform the entire world all in one go, you might instead identify ideas that can first be tested in your local community. This can serve as a great way to fine-tune your efforts and quantify your impact as you prepare to take your idea to a much bigger stage.
2. Draw upon your own personal experiences: Many of the most powerful world-changing ideas come from the experiences and challenges an entrepreneur has faced in his or her own life. Take a moment to consider the problems you are currently dealing with. These problems could be affecting your current business endeavours, your personal life, or your home. Chances are, you are not the only person facing these issues. Rather than wait for someone else to solve your problem for you, take steps to change the world by developing a business idea that directly addresses the issues you are confronting. More importantly, understand that when you are addressing your own problems, you will be more likely to be passionate about creating and making available the best solution possible.
3. Look for ideas that get other people involved: Many of the most successful world-changing ideas do not just offer a new product or service. They seek to change the way people approach their day-to-day living. Changing someone’s mental outlook will have a far greater reach and impact in the long run.Take this example shared by business consultant Monica Bourgeau. As she wrote in HuffPost, “[Author and TEDx speaker] John-Paul Flintoff works to help protect the environment and prevent global warming. He realized he could make an immediate difference by reaching out to his neighbours. However, he did this not by overloading them with facts and research, but by giving them tomato plants. Every year, Flintoff offers his extra tomato seedlings to his neighbours, Bourgeau wrote, noting: "This simple and kind act started his neighbours growing some of their own food, thereby slightly reducing their environmental impact.”
The result: As customers and community members become personally involved, you’ll make a much bigger difference than you would on your own.
4. Go out of your way to ask others how you can help: Coming up with ideas on your own isn’t always easy. That is why brainstorming has consistently been found to be such a powerful tool. You may be struggling to come up with a world-changing idea. But there could be plenty of people around you who have great insights that can lead you in the right direction. Do not be afraid to consult with several different groups to find ideas. For example, you could ask family and friends about specific challenges. You could consult with like-minded co-workers who also wish to make an impact. You could even conduct focus groups in your own community. Successful businesses do not operate in a vacuum, especially if they want to change the world. As you leverage others’ input, you will generate more ideas regarding potential issues you can address -- and even some possibilities for how your business could solve these problems.
5. Give back through meaningful philanthropical work: Your initial business idea does not necessarily need to be world-changing in and of itself. But when you pair it with a properly aligned philanthropic effort, you can become a true force for good. A pair of glasses in and of itself might not change the world. But pairing eyewear with this philanthropic outreach certainly just might.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 2 years ago

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