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April 19, 2014

Hi again…so here’s the second instalment of our starting your own business blogs.

You’ve got your idea right!?

So you’ve got your big, bright, totally unique business idea?  Right!?

I know many people have always known the big idea for their business but we didn’t.  Since I was about 13 I can remember one of my life ambitions was to start my own business, but in what I didn’t know.  To be honest I didn’t know which business it would be until last year!!

As I grew up I thought I was going to open a dance school, a tennis academy, a women’s tennis clothing company and many more ideas, but they were always just ideas.

If you read our previous blog you would know that at the start of the journey we had given up our jobs without knowing what business we were going to start.  We had a few ideas from property to furniture but in the end we settled on glamping.  I know what you’re thinking…no, gourmet ice lollies is not glamorous camping in any way, shape or form. 

 

How do you know if it’s the right business idea?

Ouuu hard question!  I don’t really know the answer but I can give you a few ideas based on what happened to us.

So we started out with a really cool eco glamping idea and in the end we changed to artisan ice lollies.  We came up with a great idea for a new type of glamping that hadn’t been done before and it ticked all the boxes.  The profit projections were good, it changed our lifestyle to something we would love and it was eco-friendly.  However, when it came down to it the business model didn’t work as we had to rely on the people who owned the land to make it work as we couldn’t afford to buy any land ourselves.

It took months of research, some cash investment and most of all our time.  We had got to the point of a fully-fledged business plan and brand when we realised the flaw in the business model.

Lesson?  You have to start somewhere and the first idea isn’t always the right idea.  Unfortunately, you do have to invest a lot of time and effort, but not necessarily that much money to see if your idea is the right one. I’m sure Richard Branson has said this, but I can tell you it is true! Some ideas you can work out that they (delete) are not viable straight away, others take longer as they are really good ideas but the reason why they might not work only comes to you from your experiences and research of trying to set up the business.

When we set up LICKALIX we thought it could be a great idea but we just didn’t know for sure.  We gave ourselves 3 weeks to do research into the idea.  Try the following:

·         Write a mini business plan

·         Research what is already out there like your idea

·         Run the numbers

·         Test the product

We decided all these boxes were ticked for us so we gave ourselves another 2 months to test the idea further (see next blog for what we did).

After we did this we thought…right full steam ahead!

 

How do you find your fantastic business idea in the first place?

An even harder question and this one I definitely do not have the answer to, if not we would have set up LICKALIX a long time ago.  We were basically already making and doing our business idea without realising it.

If I had to come up with another business idea I would ask myself the following questions:

·         What am I good at?

·         What do I love doing?

·         What can I help share and help other people with?

·         What do I already do that people would love for me to share with them?

The answer to these questions could lead you to an idea that is already being done, but that doesn’t matter most of the time.  You need to then ask yourself what can I do differently that will help me stand out?  For example there was already loads of different yoga classes and then Bikram yoga comes along to set off a big new trend in fitness and wellbeing.  Basically, it’s just yoga but with a super sweaty twist to make it different.

The problem is I’m not telling you anything new.  Business books will tell you the exact same thing and I used to ask myself these questions all the time when trying to come up with a business idea and I could never come up with an idea that I thought was amazing.

In the end the idea found us and basically we were lucky that we were able to open our eyes to something cool we were already doing.  But it did stem from my passion and what I’m good at – cooking.  I love making up dishes out of ingredients that I find in the cupboard and that’s what happened with the ice lollies.

 

Knock backs

I can’t even tell you how many setbacks, bad news and falling on our bums we have had…and this is only the start.  If you are going to run your own business you need what I call ‘bounce-back-ability’ and basically a massive positive outlook on life.

You will have setbacks on a daily basis, most of the time it feels like a minute basis, but when it’s only you or a few of you, you can’t let it get you down.  If you can’t get out of a negative state of mind it will affect everything around you and you won’t be able to overcome the hurdles you face.  Luckily Dom and I are good together and we keep each other positive when the other one is down.

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As one window closes all glass double doors with an amazing view will open

One of the big knock backs we had was when a big deal for the glamping idea fell through right at the last minute.  At this point to be honest we felt completely lost and just really upset.  We started to really question the journey we had started out on.

But here’s the positive bit.  The next day we decided to go for a long walk around Hampstead Heath with our dog Kaia and talk about all of our options.  During our hours of walking we decided the glamping idea had this business model flaw but more importantly we didn’t want to be beaten and we still wanted to follow our dream of running our own business.

 The view from Hampstead Heath.

The view from Hampstead Heath.

We then revisited some business ideas we had before to see if we thought they were viable.  It was at this point that we sat down to take a break, I remember this exact moment well as it’s when we saw a nudist, or I think the correct term is naturist, walking with only shoes, socks and a back pack across Hampstead Heath at 3pm during the day!  Anyway...we had read an article in a newspaper about the new trend in frozen margaritas.  This sparked an idea…

 One of our first home made lollies before we started this journey.

One of our first home made lollies before we started this journey.

During the previous summer I had been making really cool flavoured healthy ice lollies with real fruit for our friends.  We said to each other this could be a really cool business idea.  The photo above is a picture I Instagrammed last year when I made them for friends and I took a photo as I thought they looked so cool…and here we are a few months and a lot of hard work later!

 

So to summarise…

1.        Don’t worry if you don’t have a great idea yet…you will find an awesome idea soon.

2.       You may need to research several ideas before you find your gem.

3.       Set yourself time frames and goals to decide if an idea is right or not.

4.       You must have ‘bounce-back ability’.

5.       Doesn't have to be a unique idea but must be different (or...must have a twist).

6.       Always look for the next opportunity and stay positive.

 

Do you have a business idea and have a question about it?  Like what you read?  Please comment and share.

 

In the next blog I’ll let you guys know what we did after we tested our brilliant idea.

 

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