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An important aspect of successful business development is to follow a process of how you will assess a business idea or concept (project), decide whether to move forward with the project and build a business if it is decided to move forward. Thebelow four steps will help outline a simple process you can follow. The steps are not a rigid structure to follow, rather they identify issues you need to address and when to address them.
Following the steps below does not guarantee business success, however, it can greatly increase your chances of success. Also, you will make more efficient use of your time.
Step 1 – Initial Idea Exploration, Identification and Assessment
The origination of a new business idea can come from a variety of sources. It may come from the board room of an existing business or a group of producers sitting around the kitchen table. Regardless of the setting, you may want to use the following approach to formulate the business concept. Anytime during steps 1 and 2 you may decide that your idea is not viable, in which case you may want to abandon the idea.
Form a project committee (With an expert having business development skills)
Formulate general business idea(s) or concept(s)
Identify alternative business models or scenarios for the idea(s)
Investigate idea/concept and alternative business scenarios
Step 2 – Idea/Concept and Scenario/Model Deliberation and Assessment
Further refine the business scenarios/models
Conduct feasibility study
Analyze the feasibility study
Further refine the idea and scenario/model
Step 3 – Go/No-Go Decision
Commitment to the project is another important factor to consider before you proceed. Most beginners to business development greatly underestimate the time and effort required to start a business. A financial commitment by project members at this time (everyone throws some money in the pot) is an important sign of commitment to creating the business.
This step involves making one of the three possible decisions listed below:
Decide that the project is viable and move forward with it.
Decide to do more study and or analyze additional alternatives.
Decide that the project is not viable and abandon it.
Step 4 – Business Plan Preparation and Implementation
If you decide to proceed with creating a business, you will need to prepare a business plan. A business plan is an outline or blueprint of how you will create your business. If you conducted a feasibility study, it will provide some of the information needed for your business plan. Also, business planning often involves the use of consultants. However, don’t turn the process completely over to a consultant; you need to stay integrally involved in the planning process. Remember, it is your business.
Although planning can involve considerable time and effort, it is the easiest part. Implementing the plan is much more difficult. Many prospective businesses experience problems or failure due to the improper implementation of their business plan. This step requires commitment and dedication. Unforeseen problems will emerge. Your persistence is critical.