So you want to start a business? You’re probably asking yourself a couple of questions.
What steps should you take to turn your idea from a sparkle in your eye to a fully functioning product or service? How do you transform something from a vague idea into a concrete plan? Below are a few tips you should consider to turn your idea into a prototype.
Don’t be afraid to fail
The biggest obstacle most entrepreneurs will face isn’t the administration and red tape that it takes to set up business, but overcoming their crippling sense of self doubt. Starting a business is a daunting task. Entrepreneurship is, by it’s nature, not always a well trodden path. Often questions appear you may not have the answers to. Granted. But success favours the few who are willing to venture into the unknown.
American entrepreneur and business magnate Donald Trump once said “sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure”. And he would know a thing or two about failure. While today he’s celebrated for being a permanent fixture in Forbes “richest list”, Trump isn’t immune to failure. In fact, back in 1988, he spent about $365 million purchasing and reinventing Eastern Air Shuttles from a low cost airline into a fleet of luxury planes. To cut a long story short, the entire thing tanked and Trump was forced to hand ownership of the airline to its creditors.
The point here is, if Donald Trump isn’t immune to failure, neither are the rest of us. Your venture could fail, but the inverse could also be true. The fact is, you’ll never know until you get up and do it.
Develop your idea
Now that you’ve gotten over your anxiety, it’s time to add some flesh to the bone. This is the probably the most tedious part of the entire process, but only because it’s so important. So you want to create an app that houses South African literature on feature phones? Great. But who exactly is your target market? What’s the internet penetration in South Africa like and how will your audience access this content? Details, details, details. Your idea is skeletal at this point and needs the sinew and cartilage of concrete detail. Otherwise it’s probably going to remain just that: an idea.
Roll out your prototype
Before Facebook became the $200 billion instant messaging platform that it is today, it existed as “The Facebook” (a social network that connected college students across America). Fast forward a decade and multiple design changes later and the social network has a billion users and counting. Here, the point is at some point or the other you’ll have to introduce your product or service to your customers. Whether or not it’s perfect is inconsequential; none of us could walk when we born and our speech was limited to gargles. The important thing is that we are here. Or something. Similarly, your focus should be turning your idea into a concrete workable demonstratable model.
Register your product
If you’ve gotten this far, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve successfully navigated the maze of existential doubt, criticism and product review. You’ve actualized your idea and turned it into a functioning product or service. One more hurdle to go: registering your idea. Unless you actually patent your product, you don’t legally own it yet. There are a couple of avenues you could do this, but the most painless is the on the “Companies and Intellectual Property Commission” (note: I’ll hyperlink this). Registration is cheap (prices ranging between R125 and R475) and the process takes between three days to two weeks. And once all of that is sorted, all that’s left is easy work of climbing up the income ladder and making the Forbes list. Congratulations.
Red Bull Amaphiko’s mission is to give wings to pioneers who are using their talents, creativity and energy to solve social problems and make a change. Head to their website and social media platforms for more advice amaphiko.redbull.com, Facebook.com/RedBullAmaphiko, Twitter/RedBullAmaphiko and Instagram/RedBullAmaphiko.
Words by Rofhiwa Maneta