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You have an idea. Now what?

Katie Te Nahu Owen By Katie Te Nahu Owen

So you have an idea. You want to build an app, get your systems to talk to each other, or update your legacy systems. Fantastic! We can help you.

When we meet, please bring your business model — your document that shows how your idea will work for the customer, make money, and so on. Bring your business case too — your analysis that shows your idea will work. Your two documents will help us understand your idea clearly, so we can tailor a solution to make your idea a success.

Focus on your goals

Let’s say you want to start a restaurant. You’ve tested your recipes on family and friends (they said your food was delicious) and your pop-up stalls at events have been a hit. Now you’re ready for the next step: to open a restaurant that lets busy people pre-order their own meals, so their food is ready 5 minutes after people arrive. This will give your restaurant a unique selling point. You’d like us to develop an app that sends those orders from people’s phones to your kitchen, and tells customers how long their orders will take.

When you develop your business model, focus on your goals. What do you want to achieve? How will your investment in your business and app pay for itself (the return on investment). Think about these important questions:

  • Has anyone done this before? If not, why not?
  • Who will your customers be? 
  • How will you create ongoing value for your customers?
  • What business processes do you need in place? 
  • Who will you need on your team?
  • How much do you want to commit to your idea?
  • How will you fund the initial development and start-up costs?
  • How will you make money?

Be as specific as possible. For example, rather than saying your customers can be ‘anyone’, can you narrow them down to foodies who want to experiment with food and want fast service? 

Think about how you can make something happen if you don’t already have it. If you need specific business processes for your idea, how will you put those processes in place? Will you need specialised equipment? Will your staff need specific skills?

Explore your options

Once you have your business model, you need to create and validate your business case. A business case justifies the need for a project or product. A robust business case will cover: 

  • options you’ve explored
  • benefits and opportunities of each option
  • disadvantages of each option
  • cost of each option
  • risks of each option.

Do some research

You’ll need to do some research to check the numbers and assumptions in your business case. For example, you’ll want to confirm assumptions about customers and how many there are, who your competitors are, and how many you have.

Get answers to more questions

Then revisit your business case. Check if you still think your answers make sense, and look for gaps. For example, have you thought about: 

  • How many customers can you sell to?
  • What will they be willing to pay?
  • Will this revenue cover your investment costs?
  • What will your potential profit be?

Feedback from friends and family can often be useful. Once you’re confident your idea is feasible, you can develop a prototype or proof of concept and get feedback from a wider group of people.

Let’s chat when you’re done

Let’s discuss your idea, business model, and business case when you’re done.

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