There are millions of small businesses out there. They all start with an idea.

The problem is that sometimes these ideas are thin and the business owner expands and/or launches too quickly, spends way too much money right off the bat, and doesn’t focus on building a proper foundation.

How do you take your new idea out of the fryer and into the crockpot and why should you? Read on to find out.

Write It Out

If you go online to research business ideas, you’re going to find some pretty generic responses. Everything from starting a dog walking business to becoming a consultant will be on the list. Let’s move beyond that. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is my biggest problem?
  2. What do I love doing in my spare time?
  3. What is my skill set?
  4. What about myself gives me the potential to be an awesome entrepreneur?

Start writing. Answer these questions and see what you can come up with and if you can connect some dots.

How do you fix your own problems and how are you better at this than everyone else?

Building a business starts with taking the time to develop ideas. Writing these ideas down will help you to see on paper what’s been floating around in your noggin. Once you can see these ideas with your own eyes, you can move beyond the surface of the idea and into what makes it a great idea and how you can profit from it.

Start Small

Deciding you want to be an entrepreneur is great. However, don’t go running out to rent an office and hire employees. According to Inc, nearly 70% of small businesses start in the home and even after they’re up and running, nearly 60% stay in the home, at least for a while.

Saving money is one of the smartest things you can do, both as a startup and as an established business.

Dealing with investors, banks, and the government is a hassle. It’s a headache that can wait. Sitting in your home and building out ideas, prototypes, drafting business plans, and everything else don’t require any funding. So don’t worry about it yet.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

One day, your new business is going to require funding. While you’re in the ideas stage and piecing your business together like the puzzle that truly is, go to work. Every day. Collect as much money as you can.

Start an emergency fund. The purpose is to have money available for your business. There is always a time between when you quit and when you find investors where there is no cash coming in. You still need to eat and pay rent.

Have cash on hand to get you through until your business goes from an idea to something that’s actually bringing in revenue. As unfortunate as this is, a day job is still the best way to do this.

Having a day job will inspire you to work harder and solidify your ideas and your resolve to turn the ideas into a profitable business. Pay attention to the company you work for. What do they do right and where do they need improvement. Instead of looking at it as work, look at your employment as a learning experience to help you springboard your own business.

You can pick the brains of your employers without spilling the beans on your own plans. There is nothing wrong with being curious and the worst they can say is “no”.

The Importance of Community

There are makerspaces and workshops popping up all over the country. Now is the time to start networking within your community. You’ll be amazed at the support and the help you receive from other entrepreneurs in your city. You’ll get ideas from them and you can help others with their issues and concerns.

Don’t be afraid to give back, either. Creating scholarships and sponsoring charitable events will help to put your company’s name on the local map and this is where every business should start.

When it comes time to start hiring employees, this community is where you’ll start looking for talent. Take care of them from the get-go so that they’ll help take care of you and your business in the long run.

The Bottom Line

Getting your new business off of the ground is just as hard, if not harder, than keeping it afloat and turning a profit.

A solid foundation is key and not building it is the reason why so many new companies and startups don’t make it.

Take your time, especially in the beginning, and love what you do. If you’re already getting burned out and dreading the effort, it’s time to move on to another idea or opportunity.

Matt Ruley
Matt Ruley is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. He's made a lot of mistakes over the years and can't seem to stop writing about them. He's always on the lookout for new opportunities.