motherYou’re lying awake in the wee hours of the morning, or happily indulging in a shower when WHAM! You’re hit with the most amazing, inspirational and never-before-seen idea!

It. Is. Brilliant.

Even if you do say so yourself.

You google to see if someone else has a mind as equally brilliant as yours and find that, nope, you’re the first. Or that someone has invented your thing, but you can make that thing even better! 

Starting a business, following a dream – whatever that dream is – or carrying through on this middle-of-the-night idea is loaded with excitement and motivation as well as fears and the great unknown.

It is a complex process, fraught with red tape, hurdles and conflicting information from ‘the experts, long hours and hard work.

Whilst the first step, that googling to see what out there is similar to this concept you’ve come up with seems fairly obvious, further research is essential to ensure the longevity of your idea.

The most common mistake I see fledgling businesses make is what I refer to as “Asking Your Mum”, as in asking your mum what she thinks of your business ideas.

Substitute “mum” for other words like “friends”, especially your best friends. All those people you can trust, tell your deepest and darkest secrets to and know that they will guard it with their lives, even after a night out with the girls and a bottle of Stoli.

We know we can tell them anything, and that they will keep it secret and reduce the risk of someone else ‘stealing’ your brilliant idea.

It’s not all bad, as you do need to be careful about Idea and Dream Stealers, however asking your mum, your friends, others you trust is a potentially very bad business decision.

These people are not your target market!

(Unless, of course, they are.)

Mums and friends will be the ones who will encourage you, tell you it’s a great idea, remind you you are brilliant. They are unlikely to have any business experience at all, and be too scared to tell you your idea is anything other than fantabulous!

Perhaps this is why we ask them so frequently; for a bit of affirmation of our self-worth, a bit of flattery?

Perhaps we know they’ll be overly positive and we won’t feel stupid for thinking up what may amount to a ridiculous product or service that is doomed to failure before it begins?

That’s not to say your product or service is destined for failure. It may be as brilliant as your family and friends will tell you it is – because they have to tell you that! It’s their role in your life.

What it means is, in order to ‘short cut’* the hurdles, red tape and other stressors in starting up a business, it’s essential that you research your target market; those people whom you are aiming your product or service at. Those who will be using it on a daily basis.

You can protect yourself. Check online for non-disclosure document and other ways to cover yourself when sharing your idea.

Then check with the right people, your target market, for their thoughts on your amazing idea – then, and only then, go for it! 

*There are no short cuts. It all takes lots of hard work, dedication, passion and motivation, as well as tears, tantrums and moments of celebration. Market research helps dispel some unnecessary hurdles and tantrums that could be avoided with researching the correct market.

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