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Business Breakthrough: Take Your Ideas to the Next Step

You have an idea. It should solve a problem. Maybe you are building something to solve your own problem, but chances are that if you’ve noticed a particular problem that needs solving and that others have, too. You may be the only one or the first one to develop the solution – or yours may be sufficiently different. And maybe you can offer unique value in your idea that nobody else is capable of offering.

Here’s how to work through your idea and get it ready for your business plan.

Step 1: Timing

Timing is important.  Is the market ready for your idea? Consider technology trends and shifts that may signal the time is right to take your idea forward.  A particularly insightful resource we follow is Deloitte’s TMT Predications. From here you may find out how technology trends will impact your business idea. These predictions reveal the perspectives gained from hundreds of conversations with industry leaders, and tens of thousands of consumer interviews across the globe. Take an objective look at your idea and analyze if the timing for it is right in your market.

Step 2: Validation

Validate your idea. Do you have people who want it? Start testing the idea very early on. This is the most important step in my opinion however a step that seems to be often missed. Validation won’t always be positive or from where you expect it. You want very honest feedback so don’t be upset if one person is not a fan. However, if you are told over and over again that your idea is terrible, then there might not be a market for this one. Nothing says you can’t pivot your idea though, make adjustments or develop a better one.

Early testing can help you to understand selling points to highlight (sales proposition) and determine if you need to make any price or feature adjustments. Overall – keep it simple and get feedback from users so you can launch quickly and with accuracy.

Step 3: Prototyping

There is nothing wrong with developing a minimal viable product (MVP) to get to market quickly. Build a prototype and start testing the idea by showing it to friends, family members and potential customers. Consider participating in a Rampup Weekend event to find the resources you need. These startup weekends gives you access to resources you need for a 55 hour timeframe. You get access to professional mentors that may otherwise be difficult to obtain, so once you have a MVP you can test it with real world feedback.  Check out Ramp Up’s meetup for upcoming announcements on their next Startup Weekend.

Step 4: Branding

If your testing goes well, start building a brand. Check if your brand name is registered yet with the Companies Office, online with any website domain companies and potentially with any trademarks. Once you’re ready you can secure branded names with every social media network you can. Even if you don’t use them actively, it protects you from other people using those sites with your branded name. And if a social network gets hot for your market then you’ve already secured your page. 

Now you are ready to work through your business plan. So get cracking!

Marney Stapley

Marney is the Vice President, North Forge Technology Exchange. The North Forge Technology Exchange provides access to advanced digital fabrication and prototyping equipment with support from entrepreneurial and innovation communities. In her spare time, she helps to shape one of the world's most respected blogs dedicated entirely to Additive Manufacturing / 3D printing. She is also a volunteer for TEDx Winnipeg as a team member who selects and works with engaging speakers.

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