I am currently in the idea stages of my business and have a rough draft business plan typed up. Where do I got from here. I am kind of new to the business world but have an idea I believe could be successful. I have done research on the market and asked my peers for their opinion and they also agree it has potential. I am planning on starting a type of insurance company to a specific target audience at first and could expand in the future. I have written a business plan but I feel like I could possibly be missing a few numbers or other legal roadblocks that I dont know about. Im also afraid of sharing my plan to a lot of people in case someone can steal it and get a head start on creating it. Where should I go from here? Thank you!
Matt, now that you the business plan written up and idea ready start the implementation.
Purchase a domain name and hosting- get a website created (I can help you with that)
Set up social media profiles on all platforms
Set up a marketing budget for fb ads, google ads per month ( I would advise start off with $150 - 200 for each of them)
Market the hell out of your business.
Stop being afraid of telling people your idea. People are lazy and always hesitate to start something new. I am sure nobody is going to steal your idea.
Even if they did steal the idea who cares. Watch what they do, learn from there mistakes, change your idea around and make it better. Its easier to learn from the competition then being the first one in the market.
Depending on what kind of insurance it is, there could be a ton of legal requirements that you have to meet, and these could vary by state (if you're in the US). I would definitely consult with someone who is familiar with the insurance industry, if you yourself are not. You don't have to share your entire plan, but instead ask questions that would be relevant to your product.
You also want to be sure that you've done your risk and price calculations right (maybe you have already). What are the expected payments you'll have to make? How much will you need to cover the 99% worst-possible claim scenario? How will you check for and handle fraudulent claims? How will you set the price? What assumptions are your calculations based on and how can you verify that they are correct?
You can ask that they sign a Mutual Non-Disclosure before you share your plan, but it's necessary to share and get feedback from advisors and experts.
How much investment do you need to get your idea off the ground and market it? If you need outside investment, you may need to spend more time on your business plan so that investors know you've thoroughly thought through what you're selling, to whom, the value, what makes you different from competitors, how you will market your solution and support customers.
I have experience in the insurance industry. If I were you I'd be seeking advisors who have experience directly related to the lines you want to launch and market. Peers are good. Advisors are smarter and more experienced.
No, I'm not asking to advise you. I've got my own companies to attend to.
Matt, congratulation to your first step.
Assume you understand business and have met all the legal requirements to serve customers (otherwise, you must heed advices in this thread to get these done), then THE NEXT STEP (BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE) IS TO FIND A HANDFUL CUSTOMERS TO SERVE.
If your business plan requires development of a mobile app, a complicated website or 10K fans on facebook to find and serve a few customers, you are on a shaky footing.
The best example to highlight this: eBay started as a mailing list: the founder solicited "For sale" items from sellers then sent daily "For Sale" emails to potential buyers. If he started with a website or "having marketed hell out" of him, we probably don't have the eBay as we have known.
My business started as one html page for each customer (hand crafted) and emails as the communication vehicle. Although the business is still struggling (sad), I have no doubt that I did right thing at the beginning.
At certain point, you may need appropriate infrastructure (be it website, app etc) and/or well planned marketing. None of them should be your next thing. If they are, you'd better think the plan again.
I'll be happy to go details of my experience if you want to know more. The eBay story is from "eBoys: the first inside account of venture capitalists at work".
Great!! You have the idea and the target audience. Then you begin conveying the idea to your audience . Firstly by Content - Driven strategy.
Content –Driven Marketing is a commitment to using content to reach and engage with the audiences that are important to your business, including customers, prospects, employees, investors, and more. It’s a commitment to give first, before you get. It’s a commitment to educate before you sell. It represents an understanding that consumers are intelligent, discerning people who are going to choose your product or service only if it’s the best option, and not because you had the most money to spend on a fancy advertising package.
One of the most important keys to a successful content marketing strategy is to identify the niche your business occupies. Many companies make the mistake of trying to fill several niches, believing that a broader appeal will bring them more customers. This type of general thinking dilutes your marketing message and makes your business less appealing to your target customers, with little if any advantage to winning over non-target customers.
The best way to define a profitable niche for your business is to look for an area with an unmet or undeserved need, and then fill that need with your products or services. You may have specialty products or services that already appeal to a specific audience, or you might find that your business can be better at a certain aspect of the customer experience than any other business in your industry or area.
An in-depth understanding of your target market can help you create and deliver highly effective content. With your business niche and USP in hand, you can develop a profile or profiles of the perfect customer for your business-and you'll understand not only who would buy your products or services, but why they would buy them.
At the heart of content marketing is the idea that it's all about the content-not the marketing. In order to be effective, content marketing must be passive.
With content marketing, you can dramatically increase your online visibility, expand your audience, reach new customers and generate fresh leads, and develop a loyal following who will go on to market your business for you.Build a strong foundation for content marketing, and focus on generating quality
There is a lot of encouragement in the comments, but little practical understanding of the insurance industry that is highly regulated in every state with myriad requirements that vary by state and can change from administration to administration. A good use of time is to go to your state insurance regulator and sketch it out for them to get their input on the issues you may not have thought of. Your plan, as with most FinTech, is to succeed locally. If you get traction, an investor will know the variability of regulation state by state as well as high value markets. No matter how well you have written your plan, until and unless you have regulatory expert input, you will have missed more than a "few" numbers and roadblocks.
Meetup.com will have startup meets in your area, wherever that is. Attend every single one you can. Meet every person you can. Ask to present your idea as if you're pitching directly to investors, and at the end of your pitch state with precision what people you need to join the team. EVERYONE there is looking for something. I've met some of the best marketing and sales professionals I know by attending meetups and pitching businesses.
Websites like this one are a great place to find technical co-founders. I'm on here looking for good ideas that I can code out all the time, because going to upwork means I'll have no creative input but being a CTO means I get to influence the "how" of a project (and sometimes contribute to the "why" :D) Social venues like CoFounders can introduce you to the C-suite you need to execute on your plan.
Above all, pitch constantly. Pitch to friends for practice. When someone asks "what do you do?" tell them you're starting a business. Pitch it at the buss-stop during small-talk. Develop your understanding of the difference between an elevator pitch and a presentation by *actually doing them.* Doesn't matter that the folks you're talking to are laymen - people love talking about things you're passionate about. It lifts the spirit no matter what it is xD
I would get some advice on the legal aspects you are worried about. It may not even be possible if there are legal issues. You need to validate the concept with possible clients and not only your peers. Many times it is a great idea that nobody will actually pay for. Sharing your idea is needed. I know it can be scary. The people you just have to worry about are within the industry, who have the resources to get the idea to market faster then you. A simple NDA will cover you. You are missing some numbers and there are roadblocks but who cares. The concept of creating a perfect and bullet proof plan is crazy. Keep moving forward. It is a continual learning journey.
Your next steps also depend on whether you are bootstrapping or you rely on external funding.