If only entrepreneurship relied simply on conjuring a great business idea. Sadly, not. In a competitive business climate, ‘great ideas’ don’t always translate into scalability, profit and enterprise success.

It’s what you do after the ‘eureka moment’ that separates the successes from the ‘what might have beens’.

How to turn a great idea into a business

Once you’ve had your brilliant business idea, it’s worth considering at least some of the following ideas, which include mentoring and advice, market research, prototyping, raising funds and, now more than ever, leveraging tech to ultimately reach the masses.

Step 1: Discuss and get feedback

It sounds obvious but the old cliché of ‘two minds are better than one’ stands true when it comes to start-up development. No matter how convinced you are that your big idea is a certified hit, it’s always important to get a second pair of eyes to give it a look over to unearth an unthought-of aspect.

Seeking out entrepreneurs in the same space, already established companies, or sector experts to pinpoint errors and areas for improvement will only help in the long run.

Step 2: Is there a market?

With the rise of digitisation, there’s seemingly a gap in the market for everything and it’s much more possible to squeeze into a niche with a slightly nuanced variation of an existing theme. But is there a market in its own right ready and waiting for your particular idea?

Conducting market research is a natural follow-on from the feedback obtained in step 1 and will hopefully allow your proposition to hit the ground running and scale-up more rapidly upon inception.

Step 3: Plan and prototype

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. An idea is all well and good, but a tangible example is likely to hold stronger sway with potential investors and business partners.

More than that though, it gives you a starting point from which to develop and refine before taking said product through fundraising rounds, or even to market.

Step 4: Raise funds

There are said to be four Ss when it comes to raising funds; proposed by a fifth ‘S’ in the form of multi-award winning strategic and fundraising consultant for non-profits, Sally Anne Hunter.

Alongside clarity of mission and vision, when it comes to accessing funding and scaling, Sally pinpoints:

STAGE: Making sure you have accessed all potential avenues of funding from the stage you’re at, before going to the next level of pitches.

STRUCTURE: “The choice of legal entity has a profound impact on the ability to access funding,” she explains. “For example, limited by shares gives you access to equity-based finance which means risk is shared between you and the investor; limited by guarantee means you have no shares and therefore cannot access equity-based finance.”

SOCIAL: The ability to view your business through a social lens to more personably appeal to customers, employees and of course investors.

SEX: Challenge stereotypes, buck trends, and remain loyal to your idea as a female entrepreneur, even in the face of skewed statistics.

Step 5: Leverage technology

Speed is of the essence in the early stages of business development. Fortunately, in the era of digitisation, there are a host of technologies on hand to ensure you’re working smart as well as hard.

Our DocuSign Agreement Cloud offers a wide range of digital tools that can improve the speed, accuracy, security and visibility of your important business communications, especially once your big idea has passed the funding stage.

DocuSign Agreement Cloud

Summary: Next steps for business ideas

Having a big idea is the easy part, it’s presenting it to the world that can prove hard. taking the above ideas on board will help contribute to a sustainable, yet fast-moving and hard-hitting business strategy. But remember, every great idea needs a sounding board and outside opinions, so try not to think of external outputs as a sign of interference or idea-dilution – it isn’t. Intellectual support is every bit as important as financial support, and in striking a balance between the two, you’ll be on your way to turning your business idea into a market-driven, market-ready, market-attractive success.