The idea

Once in a while almost everybody gets a fantastic idea. However, transforming that idea into a successful business is no mean feat.

It should be noted that 90% of people who ‘take the plunge’ and start up their own business fail. Although, the high failure rate doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of these people’s ideas. In fact, business failure is not primarily linked to the idea behind a business, rather the execution of that idea.

If you’re considering starting up your own business, it’s imperative that you can define your idea in its entirety. You need to be able to break it down into parts so that you can allocate your time and devise strategies for overcoming each hurdle accordingly.

If you don’t know where to start, try surveying your friends or social network connections, and ask this extended network for for recommendations and feedback.

Additionally, peer reviews – which challenge your ideas from different perspectives – can put you on the right path. Events hosted by companies such as such as Startup Weekend are a great place for budding entrepreneurs to test out novel ideas.


After you get a handle on what’s going on, you need to validate your idea. Bear in mind that you are potentially wasting your time if you move further without doing so. Wishful thinking is the least recognised trait among successful entrepreneurs.

Validation is not your friends calling your business idea ‘ground breaking.’ Rather, you need to receive validation from an unbiased sample of your target market. For instance, you could validate your idea through a survey given to potential customers. This method would enable you to make adjustments to your business until you have a clear proof of that it appeals to your customers.

Another option is to go to events where your targeted customers gather, and interview them in person. Especially in the early stages of your idea validation process, in-person interviews are much more important than online surveys.

Do you have what it takes?

While you are involved in your regular job, any spare time you have is the equivalent of gold. Be practical and complete the first two steps – defining and validating your idea – by putting in some extra effort.

As humans, we constantly develop more efficient ways of doing our regular jobs, and as such find ways to finish them in less time. You can use this extra time to develop your business idea.

Humility and asking for help and advice are qualities you need to nurture in yourself. Find someone who can share their experiences with you and offer you advice. It doesn’t matter if your mentor works on a completely different subject; the important thing is that they can help you nurturing your business idea and offer guidance on how to handle setbacks.

Taking the plunge

You have done most of the groundwork, but now the real work of shaping your idea into a successful business begins. Set yourself goals and regularly realign them as you become familiar with your capabilities in your new line of business.

When it comes to giving up your established career for your start-up, be defensive. For example, take a four to six month break with an option to go back to your job while you launch your business.

With that in mind, be aggressive when it comes to making your idea work. Do whatever it takes to control your expenses – if need be, move in with your parents. However, don’t shy away from memberships to societies or networks that  can give you exposure. These memberships may seem costly, but they can provide you with a deeper understanding of your business, and access to a network of people involved in your trade.

You – like everybody else – will make several mistakes. You should try to look at these mistakes in a positive light, because if everything had run smoothly, you were probably trying to solve too easy a problem. That said, learn from your mistakes, because repeating them won’t do you much good in the future.

Last, but not the least, if you go into a partnership, ensure it is with someone with whom you can easily resolve differences. A disagreement between founders is among the major reasons why new businesses fail.