Advice for Monetizing an Idea
You’ve just come up with the perfect invention or business idea. It’s innovative, it fills a need in its target market, and you’re positive it will be a huge hit. So now what? Having a brilliant idea is great, but it’s only the first rung on a tall ladder to capitalizing on your idea by developing a profitable business model from it.
I’ll be blunt- an idea alone will get you nowhere. However, great ideas often lead to great profits and great businesses. Mark Zuckerberg formed the idea for Facebook in his Harvard dorm room with a few skeptical friends. The preliminary script for the Oscar-nominated film A Few Good Men was apparently drafted on cocktail napkins.. Do you think these hugely successful entrepreneurs simply came up with the ideas and then stepped back to let others take over the rest of the work? No. An idea is a foundation and it can turn into an incredible profit, but you have to be willing to continue putting in the work to make it happen. Here’s what you need to consider, beyond the idea phase, in order to monetize your idea and convert it into revenue.
Don’t let a failure determine your potential for success- You will almost inevitably experience some setbacks on your path to finding your success with your idea; however, you must stay the course if you ever wish to reach the end of that path. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs have rags to riches stories and experienced major failures (it took Edison over 1,000 tries to get the lightbulb right) before obtaining ultimate success. Learn from your mistakes and keep going.
Know your competition- You are probably not the first one to come up with your idea. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to come up with a truly original idea. You just have to prove that, among all your competitors, you do it best. Look at how existing similar businesses generate revenue from clients and investors. Learn from their strategies and introduce your own differentiating factor to make your business more competitive in the market.
Learn your target market- You need to know the market you’re working in and who your products or services appeal to in order to tailor your offerings to that market, with their unique interests and behaviors in mind. For instance, think about age, gender, location, interests/hobbies, income level, and education level. Once you learn who your target market is, you can craft your strategy around them with targeted marketing campaigns..
Figure out your finances- Getting your finances in check is probably your most important consideration, because if you don’t have the proper funds, you will never get your business idea off the ground. If you don’t have the means to finance your business yourself, look into the various sources of funding, such as venture capitalists, angel investors, a bank loan, or crowdfunding. Also determine your business’s primary means of monetization (where most of your income will come from) and how much your target demographic will be willing to pay in exchange for your goods or services. Obviously, you need to bring in more income than you put out in producing your product, but if you charge too much, you could lose business.
Network- You will need to get the word out about your new business in order to get leads and generate revenue, and in the age of social media, that means having excellent communication skills. Know your business inside and out before networking with others in your industry. You should be able to pitch your business to others in 30 seconds or less.
Never stop working- When you’ve done all of the above and you’ve finally established a profitable business, that doesn’t mean the hard work is over- quite the contrary. You will have to continue providing excellent content and customer service every day to prove why you deserve your clients’ business.