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Will your start-up idea work? Of course

by Roger Pierce

Patience and planning are required for small business success

By Small Business Expert Roger Pierce, Pierce Content Marketing

Over the past 22 years and through the course of my 13 small businesses, I’ve been very fortunate to work with thousands of start-up entrepreneurs.

Naturally, new entrepreneurs have plenty of questions and I do my best to answer them. But the most common question is, “How do I know if my business idea will work?”

I don’t have a crystal ball, so my response isn’t what these new entrepreneurs want to hear. I tell the novice business owner that a start-up idea won’t work – unless they do.

If you are planning to start a new business, you can make it a success by following these roll-up-your-sleeves tips:

Work smart

Any fool can sit behind a desk for 12 hours a day. It’s not the amount of time you spend at your business, but rather what you do with that time. Do things that add value to your business – like building customer relationships, sourcing amazing products to sell to your customers, or developing systems for your future employees to run for you.

Start cheap

If your idea requires you to spend tens of thousands of dollars before you make one dollar, it’s probably the wrong business idea for you (unless you have money to burn). Most service-based businesses can be started for less than $1000. Aim to build and launch a “minimum viable product” – which means a business with bugs – and work quickly to make improvements. Just launch.

Be patient







Despite the best plans, your new business will take longer to succeed than you had originally hoped. Set aside some extra funds to weather any delays. And take a deep breath and keep going.

Be great

It’s not what you do in business but how you do it. Beat your competition by offering a twist on an existing business idea, or doing something really innovative with your marketing. For example, Toronto menswear retailer Harry Rosen offers free lifetime alterations so your suit will always fit perfectly.

Test it first

Too many entrepreneurs get over-excited about their idea (saying, “I just know this will work!”) and jump in without doing any customer research or completing a simple feasibility study. Before you spend one dollar or one hour building your new idea, test it with your prospective customers.

Admit you don’t know it all and find advisors

It’s impossible to know everything about running a small business. Reach out to your personal or professional network to find an experienced entrepreneur willing to volunteer an hour a month with you.

To succeed your business idea must be written up in a proper Business Plan – that’s a step you don’t want to skip. Keep your plan simple and to the point, with no more than ten pages. By committing your idea to paper you’ll be forced to think about what you need to do to make it succeed.

Need a small business laugh? Enjoy more Sully's Startup here. Attract business owners to your blog, website, or newsletter with our slice-of-small-business-life comic strip. 

(Image courtesy of Flickr)



Roger Pierce is one of Canada’s top small business experts. He’s the founder of 12 businesses, co-author of the book Thriving Solo, and a writer for leading business publications such as Star Business Club, PROFIT online, YouInc and CBC’s Dragons’ Den website. Articles, blogs and videos produced by Pierce Content Marketing are used by national brands to win small business customers. LinkedIn





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