How to turn a big idea into dollars


TURNING a big idea into a money-making success requires passion, persistence and patience.

But before would-be entrepreneurs put their plan into action, they should ask themselves a few key questions.

Naomi Simson, founder and CEO of RedBalloon and a resident shark on Channel Ten’s Shark Tank, said the first question was whether you wanted to be a business owner and be responsible for your own financial viability.

“This is not a journey for everyone,” she said.

People should also ask themselves if they could test their idea with potential customers before going into full production, and question if there were other businesses that could be potential partners.

media_cameraWho are your customers, asks RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson. Picture: Richard Dobson

Ms Simson said the most questions were about customers — who are they, how many are there, where do they hang out, and what will they pay you.

Ruslan Kogan, the founder and CEO of online technology retailer Kogan, said no big business idea could be successful without customers.

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“It’s all about the customer — every decision needs to be all about delighting your customers,” he said.

Mr Kogan set up his website within five days of his big idea in 2006, and has built it into a $165 million online department store that listed on the Australian Securities Exchange last year.

media_cameraRuslan Kogan, founder and CEO of Kogan, says you should do what you love.

He said would-be entrepreneurs should ask themselves what would separate them from their competitors. “Make sure your business has a competitive advantage and work relentlessly to flaunt it,” he said.

“Do what you love. If you love what you do, you’ll be able to dedicate yourself to your business for 80 hours per week and it won’t even feel like you’re working.”

Ms Simson said persistence and patience were critical in creating business success. “There is a difference between persistence and ‘pig headedness’,” she said.

“Persistence includes listening to customers and stakeholders, not necessarily family and friends, and adjusting the approach based on customer feedback.”

She said attracting an investor — such as the sharks from Shark Tank — was not necessarily the right move, and bank funding might be better than having to give up equity in your business.

“An investor for early stage businesses should bring more than money. You want them to bring expertise, networks, contacts and mentorship.

“No matter what, have a plan. Know what you need to get done every day to move your game forward.”


Originally published as How to turn a big idea into dollars

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