How To Know If Your Business Idea Is Something To Pursue

Woman at desk working on architectural plan using digital tablet with scale models of wind turbines.
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Dreamers have it easy. They don’t need business plans, market analysis or PR strategies. They don’t have to risk their savings, face failure or carry the weight of employees depending on them — but they also get out of it exactly what they put in.

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Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, make the leap from dreaming to planning to doing. But how can an aspiring business owner know when an idea is ready for prime time? GOBankingRates asked the experts to find out when you should make a go of it.

If Your Idea Becomes a Written Plan, You’re Getting Close

Unfortunately, there is no entrepreneur’s handbook. For an oil executive planning to start an energy consulting firm, the right time to launch looks much different than it does for someone who wants to sell handmade jewelry online.

One universal telltale sign that an idea is becoming a plan, however, is pen put to paper.

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“In business, it’s impossible to plan for everything, but the act of formally writing things down really helps crystallize things,” said Aron Ezra, an entrepreneur who built and sold several successful businesses before starting his current company, Plan A Technologies. “Even if you don’t want to create an official business plan, it’s important to write a solid document for yourself that explains who your customer is, what makes you different, how you plan to make money, how you plan to tell customers you exist, etc.,” Ezra continued. “It’s also useful to think about how you can most easily shift your business model slightly if your first idea isn’t working as well as you hoped. One exercise I always found helpful is to write an imaginary profile article about my future company.”

Can PR Pros Market Your Business?

Amanda Sutton, president of CATALYST Communications Choreography, has nearly 20 years of experience in PR. She’s seen otherwise promising businesses flop because they underinvested in marketing and media.

“I often come up against a lot of very excited startups who believe their product is ‘ready for sales’ without having done a gut check on how their idea or product or service will stand up in the knowledge marketplace,” Sutton said. “If you have invested the time in a business plan and overhead, why wouldn’t you take the time to have your PR strategy sorted before hitting GO? Being media-ready is much different than being market-ready.”

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Related: Small-Business Ideas for a Post-Pandemic World

The Insider Secret Is That No One Is Ever Truly Ready

GOBankingRates heard from more than a dozen experts. The most common recurring theme is that you’ll grow old waiting for the perfect time to start a business.

“How do you know when your business idea is ready to launch? How do you know whether it’s too soon to pull the trigger and whether you’re ready for the journey of running a business? The simple fact of the matter is that you’re never going to be 100% certain about any of this,” said Anton Dybal, founder of Next-Level Artwork. “If you’re looking for perfect knowledge, perfect confidence and a perfectly laid out pathway to business success before you get started, I’m here to tell you that these things do not exist.”

In the words of Mike Tyson, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

“You could spend an entire year putting together an award-winning business plan and what you’ll find is that within the first week of actually running your business, half of what you said in there was either wrong or irrelevant,” Dybal said. “And the game plan immediately changes based upon the actual reality that you encounter.”

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Your Plan Doesn’t Need To Be Up To the Task — You Do

In the end, it’s not about your business plan, your investors, your employees or your technology. It’s about you.

“Really,” Dybal said, “the best way to find out whether you and your business are ready for launch is to ask yourself: ‘Am I 100% committed to making this business work? Am I willing to put in the work, put in the long hours, make the sacrifices, read the books, learn from the experts, run the experiments and then learn from my failures as I continue moving forward?’ Because that’s the main thing that it takes: Commitment, adaptability and an unrelenting willingness to do whatever it takes to make your business succeed. If that’s what you have, then nothing can stop you. But if you lack those traits, you have no chance of success.”

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About the Author

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street's investment community in New York City.
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