From Idea to Business Step 1: Solve a Problem

Until we can put the coronavirus crisis behind, working from home, social distancing, online business, and disinfectants will remain at the top of our priorities. In times of crisis, there is always room for opportunity, and when the opportunity arrives knocking at your door, you have to be ready to seize it.

“There’s always an opportunity with crisis.” – Judy Smith

Small businesses are the backbone of the nation. Anyone with the passion and drive can become a successful entrepreneur as long as planning and execution complement the great idea.

Yes, you have an idea, you have positive feedback and seems worthy enough to make some money (which is a good thing), but is it the right idea to open a business? You can be passionate about your idea (been there, done that, and failed epically) but without proper consideration to four key questions, your vision will die before writing it down.

I’m not melodramatic, just realistic. So, before jumping into a business plan, you must take some time to deliberate why the idea is excellent and what results you expect from it:

  • Your idea must solve a problem.
  • Your explanation must consider what it is, how it is made, how will you deliver it.
  • You must have a competitive advantage.
  • You must have a starting price.

Introspection gives you the perspective.

more than 50 % of small enterprises fail in the very first year. more than 95 % of small startups fail within the first five years

Your idea must solve a problem.

Every business needs to solve a problem that its customers face. You must explain what the problem is and how your product or service solves it.

  • What are its benefits, features and unique selling proposition?
  • Are you targeting a customer base your competitors are ignoring?
  • Does it have some other characteristic that gives it a competitive edge?

Your explanation must consider details.

Include details of relationships with suppliers, manufacturers and/or partners that are essential to delivering the product or service to customers.

  • What do you sell?
  • How is it manufactured or provided?

You must have a competitive advantage.

A successful idea has proprietary features that give you a competitive advantage like patents, exclusive agreements or licenses.

  • Do you have a patent or a patent pending?
  • Do you have the license for a product, technology or service?
  • Your idea targets high demand and/or short supply?

You must have a price structure.

Describe the pricing, fee, subscription or leasing structure of your product or service. Include prices from competitors in your spreadsheet and compare.

  • Are you on the low end, mid-range or high end?
  • How will that pricing strategy help you attract customers?
  • What is your projected profit margin?

more than 50 % of small enterprises fail in the very first year. more than 95 % of small startups fail within the first five years (1)

Startup Stories

The Math Teacher and Mom. For many kids, math is boring, it is challenging for teenagers and a headache for moms trying to help with homework. Angela McIver, channelled her (and ours!) frustration into an after-school program called Trapezium Math, making math fun! You can use her brain teasers card set for Friday boardgame.

The Problem: Math is stressful, and students sometimes hate math for the rest of their lives.

The High School Seniors. A group of high school students in Houston offer grocery delivery services for those stuck at home, including speciality supermarkets only found in neighbouring areas. Contactless, secure, and with great potential, these High School seniors focused their last weeks of school helping their community and starting a business.

The Problem: Need to offer a contactless, secure and fast grocery delivery services for speciality products you can only find in neighbourhood stores.

more than 50 % of small enterprises fail in the very first year. more than 95 % of small startups fail within the first five years (2)

Refugees Startups Stories

I want to share with you startups changing the lives of refugees and displaced people.

The Stay-at-home Mom with a kitchen. Oum Ali has her own kitchen, she works from home preparing Syrian food. Her customers call a day ahead with the orders, which she delivers along with her eldest children. Oum Ali fled Syria with her six children, needed a way to help provide for her family while still remaining at home to care for them. Her business idea flourished after she started cooking for other refugees in the camp where she lives in Lebanon. Soon enough, Oum convinced other women who have fled their home country, to work from home next to their children. Their niche markets are restaurants and working wives who don’t have time for cooking. Her goal is to help other women to earn an income and not ask for money as a refugee.

The Problem: She needed to earn an income working from home and provide a sense of home to Syrian immigrants.

Tech guys creating a non-profitTechfugees “was created in September 2015 following a call on Facebook from Mike Butcher, Editor-at-large of TechCrunch in Europe, in response to the picture of Aylan’s lifeless body on a Turkish beach. A few days later, 300 people were brought together in London for a first conference, followed by a hackathon.” Techfugees is global organisation nurturing a sustainable ecosystem of tech solutions supporting the inclusion of displaced people.

The Problem: displaced people need skills to gain access to jobs.


Don’t miss next week’s post.

  • From Idea to Business Step 2: Find your Niche


“You have to understand the problem, the issue and the landscape. It’s like a chess game, you want to stay several steps ahead and anticipate someone else’s position.” – Judy Smith


B2WM Events, Webinars and other stuff.

Last Tuesday, May 12th, I had the honour to share the “screen” with three amazing speakers about career transitions and startups for moms, a webinar hosted by General Assembly. You can watch the full webinar here. 

On Wednesday 05/27 I’ll be having a Coffee Talk Webinar with amazing ladies entrepreneurs, and as usual, I’ll share my notes with you!

Lastly, I’m still working on the membership site, it is a slow process.

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