A lot of veterans get out of the military and want to be business owners. But they soon find that not only is their transition back into civilian life a war in itself, but so is the marketplace.
And let’s face it, no veteran wants some 20-something with a college degree and minimal life experience telling them what to do, how much money they’re allowed to make, or when they can “go to the bathroom.”
Though the military teaches many great entrepreneurial skills, it doesn’t directly help a veteran know how to start a business.
I was reading a book recently (if you aren’t doing this, you should be) called “Will It Fly: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money” by Pat Flynn, a mega-online entrepreneur (any wonder where I came up with this article title? ;)
A lot of veterans get “great” business ideas (or so they think). But just because you think its a great idea doesn’t always necessarily mean anybody is going to dig into their pockets, grab their hard-earned money, and give it to you for what you’re offering.
“How can I minimize the risk of wasting my time and money on a business idea that might flop?” you may ask...
After combining the GREAT content in that book I previously mentioned with my real world business experience, I’ll break it down into 3 simple steps.
3 Simple Ways to Know If Your Business Idea Will Soar or Suck:
1. Create Your Order Form First- I learned this from one of business mentors years ago. It’s stupidly simple, I know... But how many “entrepreneurs” do you know who have successfully proven demand for their products or services before dumping thousands of dollars into something nobody is willing to pay money for? If your experience is like mine, you’ve met more who’ve done this than not.
By creating your order form first, you can cheaply know and determine if anyone wants what you’re selling.
“But Brian, what if they DO want what I’m selling and they pay me. I won’t have it to give to them.”
Good problem to have, isn’t it? Just tell them you’re still in your launch phase, but will give them a bonus perk or discount for being one of your early adopters. If you have enough people buying from you, go create it and ship it. Otherwise, you can always refund their money if you can't find enough customers to justify producing your product.
2. Present Your Product or Service to the Right People.
Don’t “shotgun blast” the marketplace. Companies waste billions of dollars every year doing this. If you’re like most businesses, you don’t have that kind of money to waste.
Identify who would be most helped by your product or service idea (and would want it), then go pitch it to them. Use their feedback on why they like it or wouldn’t want it. Then, tweak your offering and/or product according to their feedback. Their feedback is marketing gold!
3. Go to The Bank or Go Find a New Idea!
I’m not going to overcomplicate this. So here it is, simply put:
If they buy from you, go put that money in the bank and reinvest it back into your business growth.
If they don’t buy from you, after tweaking and getting feedback and researching and talking to ideal customers, go find another business idea.
Simply following these 3 simple tips will allow you to know very quickly whether your business idea has the potential to soar or if it simply sucks.