business idea

7 Steps to Turn an Idea Into a Successful Business

As Albert Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” In the business world, every successful idea and venture has stemmed from an opportunity — a circumstance that someone acted upon. For some, this idea stemmed from a problem or, as Einstein said, a crisis. For others, it stemmed from a passion. Inspiration can hit us at any moment, but it’s what we do with our ideas that transforms our world.

As entrepreneurs, we see the world through a different lens. Rather than seeing challenges, we see opportunities to revolutionize an industry. One such opportunity came during my time as a baseball coach.

I realized that after an athlete’s lesson or training session ended, conversations with the athlete’s parents were focused more on the monetary transactions than on the improvements of the player. This was my spark of inspiration — my opportunity.

I’m a firm believer there is a better way than the status quo, so I set out to solve this problem. I executed on this opportunity and built Bookacoach, now Upper Hand, to make it easier for coaches and trainers to manage their business so they could focus on doing what they love: developing athletes.

So, how do you replicate this method? How do you turn a simple idea in your head into a successful business? You must first understand how to execute on your idea to build a successful company. While each business has a unique story, these seven steps are fundamental across all businesses.


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How to turn an idea into a successful business

Do your homework: Become a student of the game

The critical first step in the process is to do your homework. Much like an athlete must study the rules of the game, their opponents and their technique, you must become a student of your game. It is important to gain a comprehensive understanding of both the opportunities and challenges of your business and the industry before you take the plunge.

For business owners, it is important to identify the market need for your product or service. Research conducted by CBInsights found the No. 1 reason why small businesses fail is because there is no market need. By monitoring your industry, your competitors and prospective team members, you can have a true understanding of the problem of consumers as well as the gap in the market that creates opportunity.

Make decisions: Don’t wait until it’s too late to get moving

While it’s necessary to do your homework, you cannot wait until it’s too late to get moving. One of our core values reads, “When you are 70% certain, decide.” If you wait until you are 90% certain to make a decision, you have simply waited too long.

When it comes to marketing your product or service, it is important to value the power of real customer feedback to refine your product or service. Looking back at my own entrepreneurial experience, my advice is to begin selling faster. You will gain much more valuable insight putting your product in front of your consumers and iterating as fast as possible than you will perfecting your business plan from the start.



Remember you can’t improve what you can’t measure

Without setting clear, measurable goals, you cannot track your progress. You are relying solely on assumptions to drive decision-making. For example, in the sport of golf, if you don’t keep score, how will you know if you are improving? Sure, you can hypothesize based on your improved technique or how you felt about the day, but in order to truly define progress, comparing scores is essential.

Likewise, in business, it is imperative that you define clear and tangible goals that allow you to monitor your progress. Whether these goals are weekly, monthly or quarterly, you should regularly review these measurables to gain insight into your business success. How many people visit your website each week? How many of those people converted to customers?

Remain process-oriented

When building a business from the ground up, it is critical you remain process-oriented. Instead of aiming to get from A to Z right out of the gates, focus on getting from point A to point B, then point B to point C. By directing your energy to one task at a time and doing it well, you make a little progress toward your ultimate goal each day. Furthermore, there are bound to be obstacles along the way. Having a process-oriented mindset will allow you to see those challenges as steps along the business journey, contributing to your business success.

Expect the unexpected

No matter how much research or planning you do, you must always expect the unexpected. The key to handling unpredicted crises is to focus on controlling what you can. One way to mitigate the effects of a crisis is to develop a plan of action for how you will handle any potential roadblocks.

The pandemic is a prime example of an unexpected challenge that businesses across all industries over the past year faced. However, successful businesses were able to pivot their offerings as well as their business structure to accommodate remote work, increased health and safety concerns and changing consumer needs. Being proactive to remediate risk not only helps you execute on your business plan, but it also helps you build and maintain customer trust.


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Trust the data

Access to accurate and real-time data not only allows you to glean insights into the success of your business at the present moment, but it can also be used to guide decision-making. When building a business, this data is especially useful in visualizing business KPIs and detecting impending growth blockers. It is imperative you trust this data as you build your business.

Above all, believe in yourself

Building a business from the ground up is no easy task. It all begins with believing in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else, from your friends and family to potential investors or colleagues, to believe in you?

As Jon Gordon said, “Talk to yourself more than you listen to yourself.” Talking to yourself like a champion will empower you to be a resilient, confident leader of a company. Those with high levels of self-efficacy — the belief in your ability to complete a task — don’t just think about the ideas, but they are also able to execute on them.

Key takeaways on turning an idea into a successful business

Remember, it’s not an idea that will transform the world — it’s what you do with that idea that will instigate change. When inspiration strikes, it is critical that you have the right tools and mindset to enact on opportunities. From researching the market to getting your product in front of your consumer, it is important you understand the value of data, feedback and tangible goals to help ensure you are on a path to success.

So, in the midst of a crisis, or when an opportunity presents itself, how will you be prepared to challenge the status quo?

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