How to Determine if Your Business Idea is Viable

The thought of starting your own business is both exciting and a little nerve-wracking. You've been mulling over an idea and even created a vision board for your business. But how do you know if your idea can turn into a thriving business?

Is your business idea viable?

According to The Balance Small Business, "the viability of a business is measured by its long-term survival and its ability to sustain profits over a period of time." 

This can feel a bit intimidating, but don't let your fears hold you back. Information is a valuable guide for your entrepreneurial journey. Take a deep breath and let's dive in. The answers to the following three questions will help you determine the viability of your business idea:

1. Is there a market for your business?

Your business can only succeed if there is a demand for the products or services you offer. If your idea is ahead of its time, or if there's a lot of competition, building your audience will be challenging but not impossible. Determining what differentiates you will ease the process. To learn more about the market for your business, use the U.S. Small Business Administration's SizeUp tool. 

2. What is the long-term outlook for your industry?

Is your industry growing or is it in decline? If it's growing, is that growth expected to continue? We've all seen businesses skyrocket in their first few months only to close their doors a year later. The Small Business Snapshot, a free market research report from the SBDC National Information Clearinghouse, is an excellent way to get a sense of the trends in your industry. Identify the needs of your business by asking your peers and even strangers you meet while out.

3. Do you have the support of your family and friends?

You can't build a successful business in a vacuum. You'll need your family and friends to keep you on an even keel. You'll also need to grow your professional network as you build your business. Your network can also offer you a unique perspective, so share your idea with them and ask for their advice. Critical to success is knowing when and who to ask for help.

Should you discover that your business idea is not viable, don't give up. You may just need to make some minor modifications to make it viable, or you might need to envision something bolder than you thought possible. Starting a business is not easy, but you don't have to do it alone. If you'd like to join a supportive group of women dedicated to helping you succeed, even if it means coming up with a "Plan B," consider joining my virtual MastHERmind group. If you're not sure what steps to take next, contact me. I'm happy to help!

Andrea Silvershein