I have a business idea that I’d like to get off the ground but have no previous experience in business. Where would it be best to go first for advice, planning and development of my idea?
The success of a business rarely has to do with the novelty of an idea. Rather, it more has to do with whether or not the management team is able to execute on the strategy and goals. Luck and “the big idea” are factors, but they are not nearly as important as execution. I would encourage you to gain an understanding as to your ability to execute on the idea. Specifically, to determine if this idea is worth pursuing.
What you really need is advice and guidance from someone who has already done what are you are planning to do. Research online and on LinkedIn and create a wish list of seasoned veterans in your industry that you think may be able to help you and possibly become advisors for your company. Once you have your list, review your professional and social networks to try to identify common connections for an introduction. If you can’t seem to find any, then you’ll have to try calling or emailing cold. When you do this, don’t just pitch your product, but rather discuss how you can work together on something that can be a game changer in the marketplace. You may even need to attend a few conferences that you know they might be attending.
Try to broaden your network by joining business community workplaces. There are still several incubator and accelerator programs for companies that sell both online services and physical products. I would recommend going through the directory listed on the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). You can also utilize several other nonprofit resources such as the SCORE association, which comprised of 11,500 volunteer business counselors throughout the country. It’s a free resource, and it’s fairly easy to book an appointment with one of the local mentors. Another resource is the Small Business Development Centers, which have mentors and workshops to help with the development of your business.
Best of luck with your business idea and let us know how it goes.