We talk often about how your startup brand must be built upon something you love to do. You've got to be excited about getting out of bed every day, or your business won't last.

However, there isn't always a market for that one thing you love doing more than anything else…at least in its current form.

As an innovative entrepreneur, it's your job to find an audience for what you're offering and then create a startup brand that's not only desirable, but marketable and likely to generate profit.

How will you know if your product or service is perfectly saleable, as it is? And how will you know if you've got more work to do—to turn it into something that people will buy?

I have built a checklist of sorts, so you can gain laser-like focus into what you're about to do…so you can build your startup brand right, the first time.

Your Startup Brand: Marketable Business or Bad Idea?

I have developed this startup brand checklist after a series of trials and errors—experienced by myself and other brand-builders I've worked with. Follow it to build a startup brand that becomes established and scalable faster…so you can put it on-track to become a legacy brand.

  • It Solves a Problem. Every great business has identified a problem that either hasn't been solved, or hasn't been solved well enough. Pinpoint that problem, name it, and then offer a solution that not only utilises your unique talents, but satisfies your ideal customer's needs.
  • You can Identify a Market. This has a lot to do with the previous point. If you can't find real people with the problem you've identified, then maybe that problem doesn't really exist. Or, if your ideal customers don't want to admit they've got this problem, you've got some legwork to do in order to create that market. Niche markets are small; however, one customer does not make a market.
  • startup-brandPeople are Willing to Pay for it. Lots of business ideas are attractive and gain lots of attention…and yet, it seems that few people are willing to lay out the dough to have their problem solved. Maybe their problem isn't all that serious (or they don't know it is). Maybe they can't justify the cost. Or maybe something else is holding them back, like shame or a more convenient option. Find out what is at the root of your audience's reluctance, and then tweak your brand or affect their view.
  • There is Discernible Value. If your customers don't feel like they're getting more than they're giving, you have a problem. It's your job to either make them see the value you're offering or add more value to tilt the scales in a positive direction. Value can be added in a number of ways. Interview your ideal customers to learn what they'll appreciate most.
  • You can Maintain Energy. How many times have you stayed up at night, excited about a new business idea you had, and in only a few days, your passion for the idea fizzled? Instead of thinking up wild and crazy ideas, focus on the thing you've always loved to do. This thing hasn't changed, so you're likely to maintain excitement for doing it every day.
  • Test Subjects are Thrilled. I would never suggest jumping in head-first with any startup brand idea. Instead, test it on a few subjects who have the problem you're proposing to solve. Ask them for honest feedback, and make adjustments in this experimental stage—rather than after the brand is launched.
  • Your Goals are Both Realistic and Challenging. Where do you see yourself in five years? How about in ten years? Your business is the thing that will get you there, if you do it right and set goals to keep yourself on track and motivated. Choose the lifestyle you want first, then build your startup brand to support that lifestyle. If you crunch the numbers and they honestly work, then you've got a viable business plan.
  • You can Pitch your Idea in Less than One Minute. If your business idea isn't simple enough, or you're struggling with putting it into words, it's not ready for primetime. Keep working, to sharpen your focus and create something that can be easily communicated. This could be a simple case of word choice, or it could be a case of bad business. Your decision will determine its future…and yours.

You're probably entertaining a number of business ideas right now—and most of those ideas are impractical as they are. However, with some focus, some added value and a slant that appeals to a niche audience, one of those ideas can put you in business.

What's your startup brand idea? And how well does it stack up to the checklist above? Let's talk about it in the How to Build a Brand group on Facebook—where entrepreneurs like you are gathering to learn to build their brands with expert advice and live, interactive Brand Breakthroughs sessions. Join today. It's FREE!

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