Home' Border Enterprise : Enterprise Spring-Summer 2009 Contents 26 enterpris e
WHILE "research" may seem like a boring word ---
and can conjure up countless hours in the library
or on the internet, or days poring over reports
and financials --- this should be the foundation
for many decisions you make in business. While it
may sound glamorous or impulsive to say that you
act on gut feel --- it's even better to combine your
natural instincts with robust research into the issue
Apart from talking to people about your business
idea, you can conduct market research into
whether your product or service will fly. If you have
the funds to engage a market research company,
that's great. But, if not, you can still get useful
feedback on an informal level. For example:
■ Meet with people to gauge their interest in your
product or service.
■ Hold focus groups where you can discuss any
issues associated with your idea.
■ Conduct online surveys or polls. You can
do this easily with tools such as Survey
Monkey (www.surveymonkey.com) or
Ask Database (www.askdatabase.com)
The results from your research may throw up
a range of issues that may impact everything
from how you structure your business, how your
product is delivered, your pricing --- or even
whether your idea is feasible at all.
After you've done the research, it's time to take
action. The good news is that if you've bothered
to do the research in the first place --- an act that
requires some planning and organisation --- you
will probably have the impetus to take the next
step and turn your business idea into reality.
The wheels actually usually fall off in the research
stage. I meet so many would-be entrepreneurs
who continually talk about their Great Business
Idea but never do anything about it. That's often
because the research stage is not the sexy part.
They want to go straight from Great Business
Idea to an entrepreneur living The Four-Hour Work
Week. It doesn't work that way --- and I don't care
what anyone says, you have to put in the hard
yards if you want to experience the pay-off.
In order to motivate yourself into action, it's useful
to break down what you need to do into bite-sized
chunks. The obstacles appears when we have an
item on our "to do" list that looks like: "Research
viability muesli bars for children". That's way too
big. Instead, sit down with a cup of coffee for an
hour and break it down. So your task lists may look
like this instead:
1. Visit Coles to note down all muesli bar brands.
2. Look up Yellow Pages to find manufacturers of
muesli bars in Australia.
3. Do online research for manufacturers of muesli
4. Make appointment with nutritionist specialising
in children's diets.
5. Develop list of "must haves" in muesli bars.
Then diarise each of those tasks --- which are
all small enough to be "do-able" --- and make a
commitment to complete them.
Commitment and belief
If you can be bothered to research and take
action, then the final pillar of entrepreneurship is
an unswerving belief that you can achieve what
you have set out to do. The reality is that this
commitment may sometimes be rocked so it's
important to create a supportive environment to
buoy you through these times. How can you do
that on a practical level?
1. Minimise the time you spend with naysayers.
2. Surround yourself with other enthusiastic
3. Join a mastermind group of like-minded
4. Find yourself a business mentor.
5. Read inspirational business books where you
can get ideas and motivation.
Entrepreneurship is a journey. It's one that can
be filled with challenges but can also be very
Whether you simply want to open a hair salon,
transform the diets of children in Australia (through
your muesli bars) or change the behaviour of some
of the country's largest companies (through your
consulting) --- it can be done.
Just remember: If you believe you can change
the world --- and you act on that conviction
--- then, chances are, you probably will.
Whether you are starting a new business or already running an
established one, there are three pillars of entrepreneurship that can make
the difference between running a business that just pays the bills --- or one
that truly thrives, says VALERIE KHOO. So what are they?
THE THREE PILLARS OF
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