Entrepreneurs must have great ideas in order to succeed in today’s competitive market. However, great ideas do not always guarantee success. In order to build a business, individuals must understand how to implement their ideas in a strategic manner and have the foresight to plan for potential problems. Starting a company involves a great deal of planning and research, especially in Middle Eastern markets where startup culture remains relatively nascent. With diligence, entrepreneurs can identify the obstacles that they will face and create plans to overcome them and keep their companies viable. Planning also helps to identify how to design and ultimately market a product in a given area. The following questions are a great place to start thinking about the future of a great business idea:
- How much funding is needed and where will it come from? This question is difficult for entrepreneurs around the world but especially in the Middle East, where funding can prove quite limited. However, some funding options do exist, such as venture capital funds, business accelerators, and government initiatives. Each of these options comes with certain strings attached, and individuals must understand what it means to sign on the dotted line and choose what makes the most sense for their goals.
When thinking about funding, business owners should look at projected monthly expenses for the business, personal expenses, funds needed for business growth, and the costs associated with marketing and advertising. The question of whether or not to appeal to outside investors is one that each person must tackle individually. If additional capital can really boost growth, however, giving up a share in equity may be the best option.
- What problem will the idea solve and how is the solution different from what already exists? Answering this question gives an entrepreneur a better sense of how well the product or service will do and how to market it. This question depends in large part on the target market. In the Middle East, copy-and-paste businesses have become quite popular. These business plans borrow ideas from Western markets and reinvent them for a new demographic. Unfortunately, this approach does not always involve rethinking the idea for a Middle Eastern market. Entrepreneurs must still ask themselves whether the particular problem exists in their country or region and if this solution is the best one available.
Not all products and services that offer a solution will meet with success. Entrepreneurs need to think about how bothersome the problem is for potential customers and what efforts they will make to alleviate that annoyance. For smaller problems, people often prefer to live with them than seek out a solution. The key to success is finding a particularly annoying problem and providing a solution that requires only minimal or moderate effort.
- What core competencies are necessary to develop the product or service? Some people can turn their idea into a thriving business seemingly on their own, while other individuals need to find a talented and dedicated team to make the plan a reality. The need for outside expertise impacts the bottom line, as well as the amount of funding required. Before launching an idea, entrepreneurs need to carefully consider when and why they might require third-party assistance, as well as who could possibly provide that assistance. The question also involves recruitment issues. Do people with the required skill sets actually exist? How can they be found? What will attract them to the company? Some entrepreneurs can offer people a stake in the profits or equity in the company in lieu of a salary, but this depends on the hire.
Early in the life of a startup, entrepreneurs may want to invest in people who can wear many hats so that responsibility can be spread more evenly. Investment in talent pays off in the long run even though it may involve giving away a significant portion of equity. People with a wide range of skills will demand more compensation than someone who is specialized, but it is often easier to deal with one partner than a handful of contractors.
- How far advanced is the competition? Almost all entrepreneurs will face some sort of competition. Before creating a company, these individuals should research who has tried to address the same problem or what existing companies might try to solve it in the future. This question speaks to the overall viability of the idea. Competition in the Middle East is not as high as it is in other parts of the world, but entrepreneurship is growing at an exponential rate, and many people are launching great ideas. Now is the perfect time for people to stake a claim in a particular sector, but they must understand how the competition is approaching the same issue.
By keeping up with the competition, entrepreneurs can ensure that they stay ahead of the curve. While this question is important to ask prior to establishing a company, it is one that individuals must continue to ask. The question informs not only future developments of a product or service, but how it is marketed. Entrepreneurs need to convince people that they have the best solution and why it is superior to other choices.