You’ve got a great Web-based business idea—now put it into action with these steps.
Have you ever had a Web-based business idea you’d love to put in place, but you haven’t been able to take the next step?
If you’re unable to complete the lion’s share of the work—coding, managing, creative, marketing—it can all seem REALLY hard. (Some would say impossible.) But if you’re determined to put your creativity to good use and you’re just not sure how to start, these 12 steps can provide you with a path to follow:
1. Make content king
How do you take the first step towards setting up a replacement or supplementary income stream? Just like the saying “content is king,” you need to come up with concept you believe in before you can do anything.
Begin the first stage of the brainstorming process now.
2. Assemble your team
Map out what human resources would be required for this project to get off the ground and running. This means you’ll want to identify a and work out whether you’ll be able to involve friends, family, contacts and/or contractors.
3. Brainstorm with your team
Once you’ve determined your team, start the second stage of your brainstorming—brainstorming with your team.
An ideal way to start is by setting up weekly meetings after or before work in a nice, comfortable environment. It’s also important to have direct access to the Internet in case you want to conduct some quick research. A handheld device like a phone or tablet won’t cut it. If things come up, show dedication and reschedule meetings one day earlier or later. Lost momentum is an absolute killer!
The benefit of brainstorming with others is that they can critique your ideas, and vice versa. Sometimes passion can cloud judgment—especially when it’s your own idea.
4. Be brutal
Unfortunately, you need to be brutal when it comes to picking holes in ideas of others, which can lead to (healthy) confrontation. If ideas are critiqued in a mature, calm and thoughtful manner, people should be able to accept the opinions of others.
In the brainstorming phase, if there’s not an overwhelming majority in favor of a concept, it’s a no go. This is because everyone needs to have a sense of ownership. If your business partners don’t believe in the concept, they’re not going to be fully prepared to pour time and resources into the project.
Here are a couple of tips to help you critique concepts from your brainstorming sessions:
- If you disagree, ALWAYS provide your justification rather than just saying “I don’t like it.” Ideas coming from others arrive with the baggage of passion, so it’s important to justify your reasoning
- When critiquing others’ ideas, think fast and work as hard as possible to poke potential holes in the concept. Has this concept already been discovered? Is this need already being met? Is the idea even easy to replicate? Is it potentially profitable?
Try to ensure things don’t get overheated and refer to the first bullet point above at all times.
6. Focus on unmet niches
Unless you’re in the top 0.009 percent of entrepreneurs, you’re not going to be able to up-seed Facebook. However, it’s basic economics to know that market shifts can create opportunities for others to meet new types of needs.
For example, if Apple’s new made a rapid impact on the market, you may find opportunities if you’re able to offer cool and customized wristbands. Always be aware of current market trends and focus on unmet needs.
Focusing on filling unmet niches can make it easier to succeed initially because there’s generally less competition in those spaces. And as long as your target market is large enough, your unique products or services have a better chance of garnering interest.
7. Devise your marketing plan
Give some consideration to how you’re going to market the end product or service. Ascertain that you’ll be able to easily target your market, even though you still have a lot to do before you get to this point.
8. Create a sticky site
How are you going to make sure that people will want and need to come back to your site? What value is your site going to provide in the lives of your users?
Once you and your team have agreed upon your marketable concept, create a thorough outline.
9. Start with wireframes
Start by mapping out ALL of the pages that would be required on your site—this is a wireframe. If the site is to be used by the masses, you should focus on simplicity.
The next step is drawing up basic workflows on the page. One rule in is asking yourself whether your grandpa would be able to work out what to do on any given page. If the answer is no, your site isn’t intuitive enough. If you cast the net far enough to encompass Gramps, you’ll capture everyone in between.
10. Ask if it’s possible to build
Test your concepts with your developer to ensure that what you want is possible to create. Once they’ve given the green light, you can commence designing the pages.
One way to stay engaged is by focusing on goal achievement and marking off pages on the wireframe as you have the designs completed.
11. Cover all corners
The next brainstorming session should be identifying all required to get this business up and running. You’ve already assembled your development team and mapped out the idea, so now fill in the rest of the required gaps that will allow your business to take shape.
Broadly speaking, work out elements such as how you’re going to set the company up, what legal services you’ll require, reporting requirements, hosting, logistics (if applicable) and where the capital will come from. Each business venture is different, so be aware that you need to leave no stone unturned.
12. Stay creative and driven
If you’ve followed these steps and the ball is well and truly rolling, you’ve then moved from the brainstorming phase to the production phase. And that’s a whole different topic of conversation! Now don’t lose focus—you’ll need to work hard to maintain that momentum.
Luke Simmons is a director of , a site dedicated to sharing short and entertaining stories based on real-life experiences. It was born out of a partnership with a business developer, Web designer and Web developer.