SMEs come up with countless ideas for innovative new products or services, but making those concepts a reality can be daunting
Some SMEs will have grand ideas, but they can fail due to lack of strategy. Others will just sit on the idea because it seems too intimidating to launch, only to find a competitor beats them to the punch.
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However nothing should get in the way of a great business plan – so when it strikes take these steps to get it off the ground.
1. Find experts and delegate
You may have a new idea for a product, exciting service, or way to get your existing offer out there – and it can be tempting to try and keep overheads as low as possible by doing it all yourself.
But this is usually detrimental to the actual outcomes itself – most of us know a little about a lot of things, but are by no means experts in everything, according to WINK Models founder Taryn Williams.
“Go out and find the people who are the experts in the things you need – whether that’s a particular accounting package, a specialised field of law, or the best creative for your specialised project,” she says.
“Find them, and get them on board early. It will not only improve the product or service itself, but you’ll be inspired by working with these amazing people every day.”
2. Do your research
Make sure you research your competitors and conduct a full analysis of the validity of an idea. A lack of strategic planning for the future can often see a great idea come undone, says business coach Jason Partington.
“There’s nothing quite like a bit of accountability,” he says. “You’ve got to do a lot of firefighting to get your idea off the ground. There’s no better way to do this than detail everything in a business plan.”
3. Don’t keep secrets
Don’t get precious about keeping your big idea a secret, because only when you share an idea is when you really find out if it’s got legs.
Kate Morris, founder and CEO of Australia’s leading online beauty shop, AdoreBeauty says she comes across this ‘hush hush’ approach all the time.
“An idea is nothing, it’s the execution that’s everything,” she says. “Find the quickest, cheapest and simplest way to get your idea to market to see if it’s going to work. You don’t want to spend all your time and energy executing it perfectly. And don’t be afraid to tell relevant people. So many people keep their idea a secret, which means they never know if it’s doomed for failure until it’s too late.”
4. Don’t be scared of failure
Speaking of failure, don’t be scared of it. Many people can’t get over the fear of failure, therefore don’t even bother attempting. But Morris assures others that failure is nothing to be afraid of.
“If you’re trying something new, then failure is going to happen from time to time, and you can’t be too bothered about it. You should view everything you do as an experiment. Just make sure you fail quickly and cheaper. If it’s going to happen, you don’t want it to be a drawn-out process.”
5. Create a marketing and PR strategy
A marketing and PR strategy will enable you to maximise exposure post-launch and establish credibility in the crowded marketplace of new ideas.
A streamlined PR strategy that includes pitching to targeted print and online media and credible bloggers will give your product or service that third party endorsement like no other marketing tactic, says the founder of TJW Public Relations, Tania Willett.
“The cost all depends on your time and current skill set, or whether you’ll need to outsource,” she says.
“There are also DIY PR packages that a handful of PR agencies sell for a fraction of the cost of outsourcing, which offer templates and step-by-step guides.”
6. Know when it’s time to upscale
If you’ve been working with a shoestring budget in your business, it can be hard to know if it’s time to grow. But knowing when it’s time to raise capital or look for investors will be the difference between success and failure.
M&C Saatchi group innovation director Ben Cooper says upscaling is a crucial element of growth.
“It’s so important to be able to give yourself some perspective and be above it all, or you’re never going to realise when it’s time to allow yourself some growing room. And always surround yourself with people who believe in your idea.”
At Officeworks, we’re here to help big thinking small businesses. Visit officeworks.com.au to keep your small business booming.
Written by: Nina Hendy
Officeworks is Australia's leading retailer and supplier of office products and solutions for home, business and education needs. Officeworks offers customers more than 20,000 products on its website, catering to micro, small and medium business customers - you'll be sure to find exactly what you need with our widest range all at the lowest prices.