Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

Test out that great business idea before you think about risking it all

Asking the right questions before launching an enterprise can help determine the probability of success

In business, timing is key. Entering the market too early or too late could make all the difference. 
In business, timing is key. Entering the market too early or too late could make all the difference. 

Last week, a relative of mine shared a business idea, which to him sounded great, but he was not quite sure if it would appeal to potential customers, or likely succeed.

He asked me if it was “worth pursuing?” This is an important question to ask when you are planning to realise an idea, even if it is a good one. Money is not the only factor to be considered, the time one invests in a potential venture needs to be considered and of course if the level of conviction in the potential of the idea is there.

My relative’s question is what many clients might ask when we first meet. In many cases, businesses may end up taking years of investing time and money to reap results. For one of my ventures, I had to wait four years dealing with an extremely tough environment before I saw tangible results. Had I not strongly believed in the business and its potential impact on the lives of customers, I may have been discouraged and not stayed the course.

So, before you decide to jump on the entrepreneurship roller coaster, here is how to know whether you should pursue a business idea or not.

Timing is key

In business, just as in life, timing is key. Entering the market too early or too late could make all the difference. When I ran my fashion business nine years ago, we were pioneers in the online marketing front. This enabled us to provide products from the region to customers worldwide quickly. Being one of the regional fashion pioneers online meant our business was accessible, and that translated to a good amount of publicity, which helped boost profits. Had we launched this exact business today, we would have faced tough competition, fought to get media attention, and would not have made half the profit we made back then.

Test the market

Many entrepreneurs like to keep their business ideas to themselves until the venture is operational. But, what if people don’t like the concept? As the owner you might like it, but in the end, you’re serving your clients so their opinion is what matters. Test your market idea on your audience and see what they think about it before you pay for that billboard advertisement.

Willing to risk it all

No matter how much time or money we invest towards feasibility studies or market research, a business is a gamble. It could take off for a few years, and then fail, or it may not take off at all. Before pursuing an idea, ask yourself if it is worth pursuing and what it needs? Are you willing to invest time and money, with the knowledge it may not yield results right away? Are you willing to take that risk? If yes, then go for it.

Have a distinguishing factor

Last but not least, it’s very rare that someone will re-invent the wheel or come up with an entirely new idea. If you want to pursue a fashion business, there are thousands of fashion labels out there. But what is it that makes you prefer Costa’s coffee while your friends prefer Starbucks? It’s all about the differentiating factor. What is it that you’re willing to offer that would make people come back to you? That’s your holy grail. Maybe it’s all in the environment you create in a store, or the level of your customer service. Whatever it is, determine the one element your customers crave, and build your business model around that or the unique experience.

Deciding to pursue a business idea is not an easy decision, but keeping certain factors in mind, will ease the decision-making process.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi

Updated: November 10, 2019 11:09 AM

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