You had a great idea. It can become a business but it is still not.
An idea is a start (without it nothing can start) but it is not a point of arrival. To develop an idea and making it viable and profitable (which means transform it into a business) you need a plan. Don’t think the plan is something you need to give to others, the plan is something you need to order all the crazy (and probably creative) ideas you have in your mind. Because until you are not able to create an order in your creativity, you have no chance to realize really what you thought.
A lot of times in our experience they ask a business plan to get a loan, to present to the bank, to support an investor and so on but mostly of the times we answer that the business plan is needed for the entrepreneurs because it helps them to have clear vision on how, what and when.
How: it means the way you can realize what you thought. We want to create an Italian fast food able to serve fresh pasta in 1 minute. Wonderful idea! But how do you think to cook a pasta (that needs 5 minutes) in 1 minute. So you need to specify how you want to do that
What: it means the exact thing you want to realize. It seems strange asking yourself what but sometimes the idea is a dream and when you awake, you find out you were thinking something different
When: we can have the idea to go to Jupiter, it is nice but when is this possible? Probably in 100 years so our wonderful idea is useless. Timing is important
And most important of all: for whom?
I had the idea to create a pen for Asian people that use the left hand but lives in Western countries (because they write with Western alphabet). Nice idea! But how many customers can you get? And how easy is reachable your target?
This is a simple summary of what a business plan must be able to focus and describe. More will follow
Creativity is intelligence having fun
Lately everything seems to be social. Many companies (especially small businesses) understands that social marketing is crucial for them.
They are still thinking how to improve their websites and now it seems that corporate websites are old and social media are the new frontier: is that true?
Should I trash my company website and do everything social?
First of all there is a big difference between the corporate website and the social networks. Corporate website are top down information channels. They are perfect channels to be found (and for this reason SEO is so important), the best way to show your products/services and the perfect approach to attract potential new customers.
Corporate websites must be updated regularly but they are not a way to dialogue with customers
Social networks are really different: the communication channel is down-top and also top-down (customers they do questions, they do comments, they participate to the published content), they are not showrooms, they are frameworks where companies can connect to their customers and potential customers. They have the potential to start viral mechanisms (websites don’t): we underline potential because it is not true that you do a tweet and that becomes a trend….
Many customers think that going on social is easy to do (even easier than publishing a corporate website) and doing that they will become popular, they will create a community without no effort: big mistake!
What do you need to be effective on social?
- Content is different: corporate websites they need a clear, understandable content because there is no dialogue with customers. Social need a content that is interesting, easy to share and able to create questions. If a customer read your content and has nothing to say, he will say nothing…
- Viral is only potential: you cannot control the viral mechanism, users do. The content and your presence can help you to go viral but don’t think it is easy. Luck has his role here
- Customers ask questions and they expect an answer: websites are static, social networks are not. You need to dialogue with your audience otherwise you can lose them.
- Negative feedback is allowed: website is like your store where you reserve the right not to serve someone. Social is a public place where everyone should be allowed to say their thoughts. You can limit your audience freedom but this could be like a boomerang because closing the communications means that customers don’t feel free to speak and they don’t communicate with you anymore. Ready to manage a negative feedback?
Social marketing has a huge potential but it needs really more daily effort than the corporate website and a different mental approach.
Social marketing is therefore more human intensive: managing your social networks need more time (and sometime money) than finding the best web design agency to publish your awesome corporate website and then update it sometime
It is someone weird that sometime a new technology framework increases the need of human capabilities and resources instead of adding more automatism: this is the reason why we have not been replaced by robots so far
Regardless the advertising company budget, each dollar spent must have a return. Sometime it is better to spend more because saving money could mean losing it and sometime spend more it is useless. Choosing among traditional media and online it depends only on your product and business plan, nothing else is important
- The cost can be controlled
- It is more textual than visual
- It requires a visit from the user
- It requires a simple message
- Message is logical
Traditional Media advertising