So you have an idea for a business – fantastic. What a great place to start?

Then, you have another small business idea, then another small business idea, then another small business idea.

Before you know it you a book of small business ideas. You feel amazing.

What is this incredible energy and this abundance of inspiration?

Oh oh. Then reality hits. Your book of great small business ideas is full – but you haven’t made a bloody cent!

I suggest as many business coaches do, that you always carry a notebook or recording device. These days, most of us have an iPhone or other smart phone that we can record record and take notes with.

I have lots of small business ideas – some of them I’ve tried, others are in the ‘maybe’ pile and some will never see the late of day because they were bloody stupid to start with!!!

Not everybody can be Richard Branson and have a gazillion successful business ideas. Don’t forget the reality for him and Virgin is that they haven’t all been successful. What sets Richard Branson apart from the average person is action (ok so there’s probably more then 1 thing that sets him apart – anyone been to Necker Island yet?).

What do I mean by action?

Well you can’t have an idea, register a business name, company or url and hope it all happens. You need a business plan for starters. I don’t mean the huge tomb that you needed back in the day to get bank finance. I’m talking a 1 or 2 page mini plan (which I can help you with by the way) to see if your business idea has legs.

I suggest setting aside a few hours to work on this (and do some research). Remember this is a ‘legs’ test, not your new business bible. The you need to ask yourself the following 8 questions to work out if it is a great small business idea.

  1. What makes me Passionate about this idea?
  2. Where does this fit into my grand Plan?
  3. What is the actual Product I will be offering and do people want / need it?
  4. How much will it cost and will I make a Profit?
  5. What People do I need on my team in order to make this happen?
  6. How do we set up the Production of this product or service?
  7. How will I Promote it?
  8. How will my Performance impact in it’s success (who do I need to be, what do I need to do)?

Now as you can see this is by no means a full Smart Business Plan. What this is, is a guide to see if you want to take it to the next step. I can tell you from experience that lots of people stop at question 1 (including me). When they realise that it’s not all about the money for them and they really couldn’t give a flying who flung dung about selling ergonomically correct back scratchers they will generally move on to the next idea.

One day maybe I’ll write a list of all the crap ideas I’ve had….no I might get depressed when I realise someone is actually making money out of doing some of them!!!!

So what do you do when you see that your small business idea is actually a great small business idea?

Then and only then, do you take the time to really work on your Smart Business Plan. Then and only then do you take action to make it all happen. Some people do this by giving 100% energy to each idea as it comes along and others (like me) like to dip their toes in the water and see if anybody will have a nibble first.

If this fills you with dread and you think ‘no, people will see me as a failure if I try something and then stop it’, you need to get over yourself. As I’ve said before, most people don’t give a shit or remember what we have done on our business journey. Till you’re as big as Richard Branson, then someone will write a book about it and they will bring up those back scratchers!!! By then, will you really care what people think?

Good luck with your ideas. You have NOTHING to lose and EVERYTHING to gain by giving any idea a go. Just take it slow, see if your small business idea has legs and then see how far you can go.