Ask for Feedback on Business Plans
Entrepreneurs create new business ideas at a tremendous rate. Development of new products and services is one area at which many entrepreneurs are at their best.
While many business people don’t worry about product and service development, even traditional business models can use a freah twist or ten. Independent business people are creative idea makers as a way of life.
The difficulty with many business owners is not in the discovery of ideas. The problem is sorting the marketable ideas from the ones that need a bit more work. By marketable ideas, I am referring to products and services that can be placed into the marketplace immediately. Ideas that require more work usually need additional market research, a change to their design, or should be offered at a different time. Since the idea is often treated with some degree of emotional attachment, it’s essential that an independent third party provides some feedback.
A good starting point for any new venture idea is to check with your bank manager. She sees startup and established companies on a daily basis. As a result, she has a very good idea about which business plans will succeed, and which concepts are not likely to be viable ones. Bankers are used to examining business plans with an eye for detail. They will often spot some dangerous red flags immediately. A close working relationship with your bank manager can save thousands, or even millions of dollars.
A second step is to discuss the idea with your potential customers. If your product or service is a business to business concept, talk to several companies who might benefit from the idea. If no one can even see the most remote possibility that your business can help solve their problems, your idea might be needing some revamping. Perhaps the design or direction is all wrong. In any case, if your target market sees absolutely no assistance from your offer, it might be time to rethink the entire business plan.
If your product or service is retail to the consumer, talk to people in the retail industry. If the retailers see no value in carrying your product, perhaps it needs further research and development. Ask your customers for advice. They will often be very honest about your idea and provide some valuable feedback. In fact, they might even trigger another creative response for improvement of the plan. With the customer’s suggestions, the product or service can often be developed in a more marketable direction.
Always ask for feedback from your customers, from your banker, and from anyone who might be involved in production, marketing or distribution of the product or service. People are always happy to help and to provide their opinions. Their thoughts and concerns could save your company from a potentially crippling loss.
It’s better to miss a small opportunity, than to risk the entire company on an untested idea. Any new product or service requires market research of even the most basic type. Your bank manager and potential customers can provide that feedback at a very minimal cost. Take advantage of their ideas, as they might just steer your business in a more profitable direction.
People are almost always overjoyed to help you. All you have to do is listen.
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