Business Loans

How far can a great idea take your business?

Belinda Wan
April 16, 2021

Although a good business idea is a great start, it is crucial to adapt your idea to what the market needs. Photo credit: Pexels

The biggest of trends often come about through the simplest of impulses, which then turn into ideas.

For instance, if someone had not thought: “I wish I could buy anything I want online” and taken steps to make it possible, we would not be doing our grocery shopping online and fuelling the e-commerce boom that has all but taken the world by storm.

Ideas are big…

In the corporate world, good business ideas — often the first step to entrepreneurship — are worth their weight in gold too.

Take, for instance, Enterprise Singapore's Startup SG Founder Venture Building, which has had more than 300 participants since its launch six months ago.

The programme, which encourages entrepreneurship as a career pathway, has had almost 150 participants graduating from it since.

Search online, and you can find Singapore-based accelerators and incubators that aim to help local SMEs break out of the mould and develop an idea with business potential. Some welcome start-ups from all sectors, while others focus specifically on fintech, blockchain technology and even agri-tech.

Some even run hackathons, or three- to six-month boot camps for aspiring start-up owners and entrepreneurs to learn the ropes.

…but execution is key

Yet to Mr Julian Low, a great business idea is just a point of departure.

The self-described “wearer of many hats”, Mr Low is an advisor to Majuven, a venture capital (VC) firm based in Singapore. The firm is an early and growth stage VC fund founded by experienced business leaders in Singapore.

“As the name suggests, we help our companies progress,” says Mr Low.

Often, this involves a fair amount of trial and error, and tons of experimentation.

“A great business idea is utterly meaningless. An idea is nothing without the execution and adaptation to the circumstances around the business,” he adds.

“Ideas evolve over time and I would suggest that founders constantly test out and experiment on their ideas using the Lean Canvas framework to test out their hypothesis.”

The Lean Canvas is a business framework that was inspired by the Business Model Canvas, which was developed by Dr Alex Osterwalder.

In the words of its creator Ash Maurya, the Lean Canvas is “a one-page business plan template that helps you deconstruct your idea into its key assumptions using nine basic building blocks”.

These nine blocks are: problem, solution, key metrics, unique value proposition, unfair advantage, channels, customer segments, revenue streams and cost structure.

Mr Low also highly recommends that aspiring entrepreneurs read Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup handbook, which has “a clear methodology on how to find your product market fit using a scientific, rigorous method”.

Do your research

“The key thing is to achieve product market fit with your intended product or service,” he explains.

“The execution of an idea is paramount and one would need to study the market in-depth to understand if there is first even a market for one.”

Owing to the way the pandemic has changed just about everything in its path, rigorous business research has become more pertinent than ever.

“The pandemic has expedited technology adoption in a way that no other crisis had allowed. This is exactly why good ideas should adapt accordingly to the new normal that we have,” he adds.

Stay nimble and flexible

Lastly, don’t be afraid to pivot, or to change your business direction if things are not working out.

“A pivot is nothing but a strategic retreat and must be planned accordingly. First off is to understand your current human resources make-up. Prepare them for the pivot and re-orientate your team accordingly.”

“Next, cut your losses as soon as possible and re-invest in the new direction with clear key performance indicators or objectives and key results that the organization should achieve.”

This is the shortened version of an article that was first published in Lendingpot’s April 2021 newsletter.

Leading digital loan marketplace Lendingpot connects SMEs to its network of 45 lenders comprising relationship managers from banks, financial institutions, and private and peer-to-peer lenders in Singapore. It aims to help SMEs overcome the information asymmetry problem and lack of transparency prevalent in the SME financing sector by offering SMEs financing options such as business term loans, property loans, revenue-based financing, credit lines, working capital loans, bridging loans, invoice financing, and more.

About the author

Belinda loves thinking about random stuff, and collecting useless bits of facts and trivia. She often roots for the underdog, and believes the world needs more happy endings.

business idea
SME owners
Ash Maurya
Dr Alex Osterwalder
Business Model Canvas
Lean Canvas

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