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Around 96% of businesses shut down within 10 years of opening, which might be fine if you are looking to make some quick money, but if you want to build a strong, stable, brand and business that will become your career, you need to research the local market and see if your idea is likely to be successful.
“Ideas are cheap. Ideas are easy. Ideas are common. Everybody has ideas. Ideas are highly, highly overvalued. Execution is all that matters.”
Casey Neistat, Film Director
Is your business idea any good?
Write down and answer the following questions or use a tool such as the business model canvas (a modern version of the old fashioned and long, traditional business plan)
- Who is your customer? Please don’t say “everyone!” Be specific. What kind of person or business? How big or small is the typical business? In a particular market? What is the professional title of the buyer?
- What problems are you solving? The aim is to validate whether customers also see them as problems. More importantly, whether customers think they are actually problems worth solving = paying for!
- How does your product solve those problems? How does solving their problems make their life better? Does it make them more money? Look better? Save time? Help others?
- What are the key features of the product/Service? What is the ‘Wow’ factor of your service or product and how easy is it for a buyer to get to that point? What makes you special?
- What do you need to launch? Do you need products, retail space, equipment, etc? Think about the costs involved in starting, both in finance and time, that you will need.
- Start networking. Finding future clients is going to be what occupies your mind the most in the years to come. And networking is seriously going to help you with this. Join networks and groups that can be of use to you. There are networks within almost anything; sales, female entrepreneurs, city, marketing etc. So find them and join up. And remember to prepare some professional looking business cards and a good sales pitch.
Try your idea on potential customers
Once you have written down your own opinions and assumptions you will have to test them with potential customers. Now is the time to get out on the street and ask people! Of course you can also save valuable time by getting on the phone, if the customer can be reached easier that way.
These tests should be interviews with potential buyers of your product. You can also test your assumptions by interviewing experts from the industry – people who have been employed by the industry such as consultants or if you are feeling brave – investors. Here is a great link to the questions that you can ask, in order to really get an understanding of your idea’s value.
Don’t forget to contact your own network and the networks of friends, mentors and others, to reach potential customers. And remembert that someone liking your idea is not the same as buying your product!
Tip: Check out the Lunchback – a great place to find these people – feedback for the price of a lunch.The Startupeventslist is another great place to find like-minded entrepreneurs in the Nordics, to discuss ideas with.
Where to turn for advice?
Almi’s vision is to create opportunities for all viable ideas and businesses to develop. They offer advice, loans and equity in all phases – from ideas into successful businesses. It includes both ideas with growth potential in the early phases of existing companies investing in growth and expansion. Almi is owned by the state and is the parent company of a group with 16 regional subsidiaries, Almi Invest AB and IFS Consulting AB.
Go to your local Enterprise Agency, or ”Nyföretagar Centrum” in Swedish, where you can get professional and start-up advice, which is confidential and completely free of charge.
3. Startup Stockholm
Startup Stockholm offers free Startup advice for those based in Stockholm.
4. Business Sweden
Business Sweden can help if you want to export Swedish products back to your home market, for instance.
Here is a selection of other useful contacts:
- The Swedish Hotel and Restaurant Association – The Swedish hospitality industry.
- The Swedish Trade Federation – For the wholesale and retail sectors.
- The Swedish Construction Federation – Trade body for the construction industry in Sweden.
- The Swedish IT and Telecom Industries – Organisation for some of Sweden’s largest and most well-known companies.
- Lantmännen – National body covering agriculture and farmland resources.
Contact each Business Region for further information
- Phone: +46 31 61 24 02
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone: +46 8 508 280 00
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: +46 40 675 30 01
- E-mail: email@example.com