When pitching out your business idea it can be discouraging if you are being told ‘no’ and it can be tempting to change your idea as a result. However, breaking the mould and not following everyone else could eventually work in your favour.
You will hear numerous advice and tips throughout this process, however, the majority of the time, advice is context-specific. When somebody explains the tactics behind their success and provides advice to go alongside, this doesn’t necessarily mean the same techniques and methods will produce the same results for your business.
With this being said, here are a few tips and pieces of advice for staying true to your business idea.
Be clear on your objectives
One of the most important pieces of advice I have is to be really clear on your objectives for your business. What exactly do you want to achieve? How are you going to achieve them? What do you believe in?
Asking yourself these questions will provide you with a clear path and point you in the right direction. It can be easy to be pulled in different directions, therefore ensuring you have clear answers to these questions can be really helpful and drive you to be successful.
Do your research
When approaching Venture Capitalists, although they might provide good advice they are not the best market research and you should therefore not be disheartened if they question your idea. In reality, over 90% of Venture Capitalists you pitch to are going to say no – they are not your customer. Usually, people who do become your customers and back your ideas are those who have supported you from the very beginning. You do not have to persuade them. Therefore, don’t get distracted and look for the people that are going to nurture your ideas. Only get distorted from what you really believe if there is evidence that it is not the right thing to do.
It is important that you do market research on your target customers to find out exactly what they think and what they are looking for. Visiting your potential customer group and asking them what their problems are is a great starting point. Identify these problems and ask yourself if you can solve this problem with your product or service, whilst seeing if the potential customer would use the product or service as a solution can be a great way to work out if your idea is worth it. If the answer is no, you need to go back to the drawing board.
In addition, understanding growth levers in your business are vital. If you are only just launching your business then you might not know what these are, however, understanding this as best as you can and acknowledging where you would invest your money will help you in the long run. Whether this is spending money on marketing, staff or technology, this can help refine your objectives and ensure you are being as clear as possible when pitching your idea and talking to potential investors.
Develop through asking questions
Although there is some strong advice out there, the best enables you to ask questions about yourself and your business. These questions can provide a helpful framework to encourage you to think about your business and relay new ideas to the team to be executed.
Three important questions to ask are:
- What’s the most important thing that needs to be achieved in this business?
- What three things are going to help you get there?
- How much time will you dedicate to those three things?
These questions allow you to see whether you are focusing on problems that need solving or looking at re-working campaigns and areas that are already productive and can be amplified.
Generally, the best way to progress is by practising and testing new methods until there is one that works well for your business and produces results. This can take a long time and once a tactic is found, an element of patience is required for it to be perfected.
Ultimately, there is always temptation to change your idea and do something else. Instead of being led with what you really believe, you can be led by what others think. However, listening to people who are saying no and are not part of your target customer group, as well as comparing yourself to competitors is not the way to go. You do not want to be doing the same as your competitors as they already exist. Doing something different will set you apart from the competition and provide you with that competitive advantage. Set clear objectives, do your research well and ask the right questions so you can develop, thrive and execute your business idea successfully.