Ideas are a great point A. They are the first draft of any business. A raw reflection of an entrepreneur’s ambition to accomplish a goal. For every billion-dollar idea however, a diligent plan was pursued in order to get it to that point B: an institutionalized business. Indeed, the number of startups does not correlate to a sustainable economy. Ideas without a path to realization can be an important burden to economies suffering from unstable employment rates.

If you happen to be that person with the killer idea, get it up and running by following the 5 main stages it takes to make it a killer business.

Stage 1: Turn your idea into a business concept. Alana Mueller, the president of Kauffman FastTrac in 2012, defines this as “a bridge between an idea and a business plan”. This means clearly, concisely and simply outlining answers to basic questions such as:

  • What service or product am I selling?
  • What is the market I am entering?
  • What makes it unique to this market?
  • What methods will I use to sell it (marketing and delivery)?
  • What legal steps should I be taking to institutionalize my business?
  • Why would customers want to buy it?
  • Who will buy it?
  • Who am I competing against?
  • Who are my potential investors?
  • Who will run operations and management roles?
  • How much money will it take to get my idea up and running?
  • Where do I see my idea in 12 months time?

Essentially, a business concept will allow you to identify gaps, manage potential risks and challenges, as well as focus and detail your idea. Additionally, information delineated in your business concept, will be helpful to acknowledge in your pitch deck to future investors.

Stage 2: Establish a strong legal structure. Register your business with the government. Depending on where you are based, this is both an essential and tedious step. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2014, the number of procedures and time to start a business have been slightly reduced in countries such as Jordan, who’s ranking between 2013 and 2014 decreased from 112 to 117 out of 189. To date, starting a business in Jordan remains time consuming and expensive for the average Jordanian. Nevertheless, it is ultimately an unavoidable step to selling your services and getting your business institutionalized.

 

Stage 3: Get a crew. No matter how small your business idea may be, you’re going to need some help. Your instinct may be to hire technological and technical expertise if you’re relying on for example, social media to attract a customer base. Nevertheless, your idea will never mature if it’s path towards a sustainable business is not managed. In the words of Neil Petch, Chairman of Virtugroup, “entrepreneurship is management”. Consider hiring a sales and management expert to get your idea into an environment where it can start competing on the market. Once you’ve shared your idea and plan with a crew, clearly state in legal contracts what is expected from them. This should include information such as the terms of employment and your start up’s policies on for instance, vacations.

Stage 4: Do a trial run. Get some feedback from potential customers. This will reduce negative customer experiences in the future and will most likely improve the product or service as a whole. Note however, that some advice will be bad. Instead of listening to every opinion and taking it as fact, look for patterns in customer responses. Most importantly, ask them questions: How would you like to see our service improve? What where your expectations versus the reality of your experience with our product? Would you recommend this product to a colleague, family member or friend?

Stage 5: Establish Shareholder Agreements. Once you reach the investment stage, these are essentially a set of agreements between members of your crew and/or investors that legally determine your rights as shareholders. Essentially, who manages and runs what in your start up. According to Mathew Faustman, CEO of UpCounsel, agreements can be about the right to transfer shares, right of first refusal, and redemption upon death or disability. Establishing particular roles for each stakeholder in legal terms makes each relationship in your start up transparent, avoiding any hiccups with state laws in the future.

At the end of the day, keeping happy customers is what will give your idea the financial strength to become a sustainable business institution in the long term. Each stage is hence, a little step taken to fill the gap between point A to point B.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is one of the most promising fields for entrepreneurs to venture in in the future. Did you know that 29% of the United States’ contribution to

Renewable Energy, A Bright Future for Entrepreneurs

global warming is caused by fossil fuels and natural gasses that come from the electricity sector? These gases are called greenhouse gasses. They serve as blanket in our atmosphere, trapping heat on earth, just like in a greenhouse. Fortunately, there is a way to remove a chunk of these greenhouse gases. It is possible to replace the gasses that contribute to global warming with other sources to energy. Contrary to fossil fuels, renewable energy produces little to no greenhouse gas. Renewable energy is energy that is derived from renewable resources such as wind, tides, and sunlight. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), it is possible to cut down the use of greenhouse gasses in the electricity sector by 81% in the US alone through the use of renewable resources.

Are entrepreneurs needed in this field?

Studies have shown that Jordan spends 20% of its GDP on imports and 90% of its energy and fuel requirements. Now they are trying to cut down on this spending by using the natural resources they have (wind and sun) to produce renewable energy. According to expert.gov, Jordan’s goal is to raise their use of renewable energy from 1% in 2017 to 10% in 2020. Additionally, tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Apple have already been working towards goals to replace their electricity driven resources with renewable energy ones.  As an increasing amount of countries and companies commit to making this shift, more businesses focused on developing renewable energy methods will be required. For instance, the use of solar energy faces many obstacles primarily due to inefficiency and costs. Entrepreneurs can help by coming up with innovative solutions that will make it easier to extend the amount of energy that comes from renewable sources. In Africa, entrepreneurs solved the problem of connecting solar panels to individual homes, which without help from the government was going to take decades, by building large solar panels in decentralized areas where the power could be taken directly to the locals.

Why go into this field/what are the benefits

There are many good reasons to enter the field of renewable energy. The world is moving towards extinction and more and more people are realizing that we need to make drastic changes in our lives if we want to remain on this world. As a result, we need more people to work in fields that can limit or stop the production of greenhouse gases in order to prevent sea levels and global temperatures to rise. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the prices of solar panels are decreasing, meaning that it will be more affordable for businesses to invest in a renewable energy orientated vision. Due to the goals several high-profile companies have to increase their use of renewable energy, the market will be flooded with demands for businesses that supply these more environmentally friendly sources of energy.

Not only will it be extremely profitable to go into the field of renewable energy in the future, but it will also be crucial in the process of mitigating climate changes’ impacts on our planet, Earth.

Several internal and external factors go into making an innovative start-up. Some of these are in your hands, whereas others rely on your context and perhaps even, luck. Whatever factors may impact your access to success, this is a guide of standard procedures you should follow in order to run an innovative startup:

  1. Identify your role in the current market and its stakeholders’ perceptions. This means being able to tailor your startup’s growth aspirations to your economic context. For example, in economies where 90% of businesses are micro and small enterprises, the level of experience in that market may not match your startups’ growth aspirations that perhaps, cater to a more developed economic structure. More importantly, identifying your role means adjusting your start up’s vision towards one where intervention in the market is required. Stakeholder perceptions play an important role in understanding where you’ll find investment, employees and an audience. What do investors think of the market you are entering? And the business community? The general public?
  2. Hire the right people. With creative minds constantly coming up with innovative ideas, it is important to include members in your team that can manage visions into a reality. One of the main struggles startups face is attracting and retaining talent. More specifically, hiring sales and management experts, rather than those with technological and technical expertise. An interactive relationship with a good manager can turn your startup into a profitable business. Indeed, startups are competing with large corporate employers that deal with expensive budgets and high levels of experience in human resources. They are under pressure to do more with what they do not have. This requires members of the team to take on great responsibility.                                                            Side note: Consider joining a capacity building program that will provide your team with a skillset to establish respectable corporate governance standards. This will give your startup the structure and ability to be investment-ready.
  3. Create a 12 months action plan. Innovative startups are able to use action plans as tools to turn visions into profitable institutions. This means lasting beyond the one year mark by sustainably growing out of the micro-business stage. Shared responsibility and accountability delineated in your plan, can give your team a transparent structure that through joint effort, can achieve common goals. Additionally, a good action plan is essential to include in a convincing pitch deck for future investors.
  4. Risk management. Risks startups may face are often contextual. How essential you are to the market will determine how resilient you are to economic crises, riling in investment, and engaging with clients who faced a negative experience. Indeed, an economy booming with startups does not mean it is healthy or sustainable. Under-qualified founders may actually have a negative effect on your state’s economy because they offer unstable job opportunities, spend capital in an environment lacking future prospects and waste investment on ideas that never mature. Managing risks through carefully planned mitigation strategies could determine your start up’s fate.

Eighty percent of entrepreneurs fail. Some of the most successful startups are the result of previous failed attempts. Experiencing setbacks, however, often makes entrepreneurs running them grow in resilience and confidence. Running an innovative start-up can be competitive and laborious at times. Follow this guide to give yourself the opportunity your startup deserves to achieve your goals.