Think of the last time you had a really cool idea – one that you assumed would rake in “millions” in profits. Did it turn into a profitable business? Or did it join the pile of discarded “could-have-been” ideas?
Many new entrepreneurs stumble upon an incredible idea and jump right to creating a product without stopping to consider whether they actually have the business structure to sell it.
Dr Dorine Rivers (AKA River) is the CEO of Alpha 81 Inc, and over the last 30 years, she’s worked with many startups and entrepreneurs who hop straight to creating products without thinking it through. In fact, this mistake is so prevalent that she’s got an entire book dedicated to helping entrepreneurs cash in on their ideas (check it out here).
You can listen to our full conversation on the Goals Do Come True podcast.
In the meantime, River has five tips to help you turn your ideas into a profitable business and smash new milestones:
- Begin with your why
- Create a business plan
- Carve out a niche market
- Go on personal adventures
- Choose hardest
Begin with your why
River: “Most people just want to jump in and start creating, especially if they’re the creative type. But it all starts with thinking it through. Why are you doing this? If you say you’re doing it because you need money, why do you really need money?
You have to dig deep and figure out your why because people don’t buy your product. They buy you and the story behind the product – the reason you created it.”
Create a business plan
As entrepreneurs, we tend to think of our business as what it is – a business or an idea that’s come to life. However, River has a different and quite fascinating definition. According to her, a business is nothing more than a series of goals that you achieve in sequential order.
And that’s why you need a business plan – to guide you in the direction of those goals and help you work towards each milestone.
River: “A business plan forces you to think about and work out who your target audience is. You can build a product in two ways. You can either build a really cool thing you love and try to figure out how to sell it to people, or you can do the research, find out what people need, and then fill that need.
Which one of these do you think is easier? It’s obviously the second one because if you create something people actually need, you’ll spend less time trying to convince and educate them on why they need it.”
Carve out a niche market
River: “If you build a product that you think is for everybody, then no one is going to buy it. That’s why you need to carve out a niche market. Be the big fish in the small pond and serve that market well. Do it the right way, and you’ll be up and running.”
If you want your ideas to become more than just a creative thought, you need to actually get these basics right. And it’s quite fascinating how so many goal-setting principles can be applied to running a profitable business. Which was why River’s next tip (which also happens to be her big, hairy, audacious goal) was a breath of fresh air.
Go on personal adventures
River: “I’m leaving soon to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, which is a personal goal. These kinds of accomplishments filter into your business and personal life. And it’s all about setting the goal. It’s about getting ready to accomplish it. It’s about grit and determination.
So, if you can accomplish an adventure like this, it translates into your new business and ensures that when obstacles inevitably come, you’ll know how to figure it out.”
As a fellow Mt Kilimanjaro climber, I particularly love the idea of taking on new personal challenges. It involves a lot of risk, training, and planning – all important qualities that help your business stay on the right track.
River: “Entrepreneurs live audacious goals everyday. In fact, they thrive on it. We’re passionate about pushing ourselves and chasing hard things. I remember reading a quote a long time ago by Mother Teresa and she said, ‘Always choose hardest’. And I just thought, if that doesn’t explain my life, I don’t know what does.
People who move ahead with these bold goals and audacious ideas do choose hardest, and sometimes it looks like you’re choosing impossible. But if you’re really passionate and gritty about it, you’re going to figure it out.”
River’s philosophy of choosing hardest is one that I hold dear. Often, it may feel like our goals are too audacious or impossible to reach. But when you constantly challenge yourself and push your limits, you’re building your confidence and creating room to tackle any problems that arise in the future.
That’s one way to become a successful entrepreneur. In River’s words, “Choose something that’s out of your reach but reachable. If it’s too easy, you chose the wrong goal.”
I hope this blog has given you some valuable insights. Obviously, I’d love to hear your thoughts.