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I Have A Business Idea - Business Link

Updated: Aug 13, 2021

The Van Der Berg Inc. Team came across a freely available resource for your business idea if you live in Alberta, Canada. This blog and Business Link's website provide an overview of what to consider first, what is needed, and how to do Market Research on your idea and then an analysis of that research, and finally, there is also a free template for your business plan's first draft. Additionally, Business Link provides support throughout the process of these 3 concepts.

Most entrepreneurs know that the first year of starting a business is the toughest. According to CB Insights, 20% of small businesses fail in the first year, only 50% survive the first 5 years and a mere 3rd reach the 10 year mark.

According to FreshBooks, 62% of small businesses don't have any staff, 54% of self-employed entrepreneurs say they make more money now, and 97% of self-employed professionals say they would never go back to traditional employment.

So keeping these points in mind we take a look at what Business Link recommends to consider before you start running with your business idea:

  • Do you have willpower and self-discipline?

  • Can you adapt quickly to changing conditions?

  • Do you have the stamina to work 12–16 hour days for months or even years?

  • Are you prepared to lower your standard of living while your business gets off the ground?

  • Are you prepared to spend all your savings on your business?

  • Are you willing to re-invest your salary/business profits to help your business grow?

If you answered yes to most or all of the questions above, you might have what it takes to make a success of your idea.

A great idea isn’t enough to start a new business; it’s just the first step. You need solid research and detailed planning to be successful. Don’t invest your time and money into an idea without doing your research—plan before you act. There are two types of research primary (with customers and other businesses) and secondary (written or digital research from already found knowledge).

The VDB Inc. Team is excited to let you that Business Link's in-house startup experts and market research experts can help you evaluate your idea and get the research to back it up! Find out what kinds of research they can provide with their Market Research Expertise.

Here are a few main points about Market Research from Business Link's website:

  • Is Your Idea Original?

    • Do a quick search on your business idea with keywords and phrases to see who your competitors are. If someone has already produced a better or cheaper version of your idea, it’s time to stop and re-evaluate. Without a major differentiator, it will be difficult to find customers willing to purchase your product or service.

    • This is the spot in the research where you try to spot a gap or a niche in the market.

  • Can Your Idea Be Produced and Distributed?

  • Make sure you can bring your idea to life and get it into the hands of your customers. You have three options for producing and distributing your product:

    • Arrange for your own production and distribution

      • You assume all the financial risk

      • You need to have the right manufacturing and distribution systems and infrastructure in place, which can be expensive

      • You maintain control and retain any profits

    • Sell your idea to a large established company

      • They already have the systems and know-how

      • They are unlikely to buy an idea from an outsider

      • They are more risk-averse

      • They need to sell larger quantities

    • Sell your idea to a small- to medium-sized company

      • They don’t have as many support systems as a large company

      • They are often more willing to accept outside ideas

      • They are comfortable with smaller quantities

  • If you choose to do your own production and distribution, you will also need to consider a number of other factors:

    • Do you know the quantity, quality, technical specifications, and price ranges for all your products?

    • Do you have all your supplier arrangements secured?

    • Will suppliers’ prices allow you to achieve an adequate markup?

  • Is There a Market for Your Product or Service?

    • Will consumers pay money for your product or service?

    • Does your idea serve a presently unaddressed need for your market?

    • Do you have a plan for finding out what your customers want? Do you know how you will conduct market research?

    • Do you understand your advantages over your competition (e.g. better price, location, etc.)?

    • Could your competition drive you out of the market?

  • Can You Protect Your Idea?

    • In Canada, these are the four most common types of intellectual property:

      • Patent: Patents are granted to new inventions that must have a useful function. They must not have been made public for more than one year. Patents are granted under three different criteria: novelty, utility and ingenuity.

      • Trademark: Trademarks protect a symbol, design, or trade name such as “Nike™” or “Coca Cola™.”

      • Copyright: Copyrights give you exclusive rights to reproduce original works such as books, plays, films, songs, paintings, or computer programs.

      • Industrial design: Shapes, patterns, or ornamentation can be registered as industrial designs, providing they will be used in mass production of 50 units or more.

  • Do You Have Access to Enough Financing?

    • Do you know what financial investment your business will require?

    • Do you know what your expenses will be for rent, wages, insurance, utilities, advertising, interest, etc.?

    • Do you know which expenses are direct vs. indirect or fixed vs. variable?

    • Do you know how much your total overhead will be?

    • Do you know where you can borrow the rest of the money you need to start your business?

    • Do you know how much credit you can negotiate from your suppliers (the people you will buy from)?

Important when Conducting Market Research

  • When to Do Market Research

    • Before You Start a New Business

      • Market research is an essential part of planning your business and should be a central part of your business plan. Gut feelings and intuition aren’t enough.

    • Before You Launch a New Product or Service

      • Even if your business is already successful, conduct market research before you launch a new product or service. Research is valuable any time you want to make a major change to your operations: an expansion, a new market, etc.

    • To Maintain an Established Business

      • Market research is also important for established businesses. You need to keep up with where your industry and customers are going. Success today doesn’t necessarily mean success tomorrow—you should conduct regular research to stay on top of changing trends.

  • How to Conduct Market Research

    • Decide what you want to achieve.

    • Define your research methods. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has excellent guides on how to conduct market research and market research methods.

    • Decide who will conduct your research. If you are looking for help with secondary market research, Business Link provides market research expertise!

  • Researching Market Trends

  • Researching New Ideas and Innovations

If you want more detail under each of there click on THIS link to read more!

Here is a summary of Business Link's Creating a Business Plan:

  • What is a business plan?

  • When should I Create a Business Plan?

  • How Do I Create a Business Plan?

  • What Should I Include in My Business Plan?

  • Sample Business Plans

As you can tell there is a mountain of information that can be accessed so please head over to their website and explore their various free options for helping you transform your idea into a business. If you would like to read all the information from Business Link under each of these sub-headings, click on THIS link.

The above-mentioned link will direct you to a page that states that they are currently updating their interactive tool, so in the meantime please follow THIS link to LawDepot's interactive business plan builder.

We at Van Der Berg Software Inc. are just as excited as you when it comes to starting and running your own business. Our passion lies in making sure that once you are ready to start seeing revenue, you can contact us, and we can make sure that your potential customer knows who you are, what you do, and what makes your business unique. Next, we will be covering Business Link's "I am starting a business."

Stay Tuned!

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