Being successful in business is not magic. Neither does it happen all by itself.
The next step is to find a great business idea and follow certain steps to give your startup the best chance of survival.
This is good news for all of us!
Because it means you don’t have to be a genius. You don’t need friends in high places. And you certainly don’t need tons of start up capital.
It provides 10 rules for start up success that can be a great checklist to figure out if you’ve chosen the right business idea.
To make it more relevant for an online business, I’ve picked five of the most important points and added my own thoughts on how to evaluate your startup idea.
How To Find A Great Startup Idea For Your Online Business
#1. Do Work You’re Passionate About
Pursuing something you’re passionate about beats starting a business just for the money hands down.
Passion will keep you going when times get tough – as they always do in business – and help you overcome the self doubt and fear that affect every entrepreneur.
You’re more inspired to do your very best so you end up inspiring others who work alongside you.
You put in 200 percent to make things happen and work harder and longer than most people to find a solution to any challenge that arises.
What’s more, when you are passionate about your business, it shows!
You’re more creative and you radiate happiness and enthusiasm. Others pick up on this and are magnetized towards you. That’s why investors love to invest in entrepreneurs who are passionate about their startup idea.
My advice is to follow your heart and find something you love that you can build a business around.
#2. Keep It Simple
Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s the same for your startup business.
You may have a grand vision of building a huge online empire with thousands of subscribers and dozens of digital products. But for now, keep things simple.
Just put one foot in front of the other and focus on one solution and one group of people you want to help.
All the famous bloggers you admire started at the beginning – with a simple blog, some fledgling ideas and a sketchy first product or service.
They kept going and bit by bit, people started taking notice and gravitating towards them. They refined their message and tested new offerings. That’s how their audience and revenue grew.
It’s the same for you.
#3. Build 1 Revenue Stream At A Time
It’s very tempting when you’re starting out to think that you have to blog, produce slick videos, have a podcasting show as well as be active on every single social networking site going in order to be successful.
The truth is that for a newbie, the “be everywhere” strategy isn’t possible.
You just don’t have the resources.
Remember it took the big bloggers years to build their online presence. Today, most of them have teams of people supporting them, ranging from social media experts and copywriters to stylists and makeup artists.
That’s why I recommend you start with a blog and choose one modality to get your message out. This could be written blog posts, short videos or podcasts – whatever lends itself best to your niche and your strengths.
If you prefer to write, choose written blog posts. If you thrive in front of the camera, go for video. And if you have a strong, clear voice, give podcasting a shot.
As for social media, reserve your brand name on the main ones (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn) but focus on only 2-4 social networks where your customers are most likely to hang out to get the biggest wins.
The key thing is not to feel pressured by what other people are doing and constantly compare yourself to them. This will make you want to give up before you even start!
Focus on getting good at one modality first.
Build your audience and generate some revenue with a simple product like an ebook or by providing services before you bring in other, more complex modalities and offerings.
#4. Know Your Customer Inside Out
None of us have a crystal ball to help us see into the future and guarantee that our startup venture will succeed.
However, there is one thing you can do that can make success more likely.
Get to know your customer inside out.
I’ve covered how to create a customer avatar before so I won’t go into it too much here.
But it’s very important that you know who you want to reach with your business and what your potential customers’ needs and wants are.
A lot of entrepreneurs skip this stage.
They race ahead with their brilliant idea without stopping to find out if anyone really wants their product or service.
You might have a hunch that you’re on the right track but you should still do some research.
What are the people you’re trying to help struggling with? What is keeping them awake at night? What kind of solution could you come up with to make their life easier? And will people pay for it?
By joining relevant forums and asking questions, checking comments on competitor blogs and finding out if people are buying books on that topic on Amazon, you can gain insights into what makes your audience tick and help your startup thrive.
#5. Find Your Original Secret Sauce
In any type of business you need to be different in order to stand out and attract customers to you. But with around 152 million blogs on the internet all competing for your readers’ attention, how do you stand out online when you’re at the startup stage?
The short answer is by being you.
Too many people go out looking for their “secret sauce” or copy others without realizing that they already have a unique set of skills, experience and talents crying out to be shared with the world.
Your uniqueness is hardwired inside of you thanks to your personal experiences. Everything you have ever gone through in your life, good and bad, has brought you to this point in time.
There’s nothing more unique than your story, it’s what makes you original. It’s also the basis of your brand and your expertise.
That’s why you should never worry if you are good enough or expert enough to help others.
Have you home-schooled your child? Are you over 40 and have defied fertility experts by having a baby without IVF? Are you the new “dog whisperer” able to help dog owners overcome their pets’ behavorial problems?
These are all markets that need experts like you – real people who have overcome challenges and have learned valuable life lessons along the way.
You don’t need letters after your name, a string of qualifications or twenty years of experience. As long as you know more than your audience, you are expert enough to help others.
Remember that once you’ve done all this thinking and research to back up your great startup idea, you must execute it. Having a good idea for your business is important but it’s action that will breathe life into it. That’s when the work really starts and when you are actually in business.
I’ll leave you now to digest the infographic and learn more about the 10 rules for a great startup idea.
The bottom line is that the learning curve for any online startup is steep and long so you need to be willing to keep learning, keep testing your ideas and keep going.
Which of these 10 rules for a great startup idea resonated most for you? Is there a particular point you need to work on? Please share your thoughts below.