Business concept

illustration: business concept
Starting your own business is both exciting and challenging and may be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.
To succeed, you need to have a good business concept, but your personal characteristics and motivation are just as important.
  1. Are you passionate about your idea?
  2. Do you have the necessary expertise?
  3. Are you willing to work hard and a lot?
  4. Do you have the stamina and will to stick with it?
  5. Have you thoroughly considered what is required?

1. What do you plan to sell?

After you have decided on your general business concept you should ask yourself a number of questions about the essence of the idea. The questions will help you determine whether you have done a thorough enough job and you should be prepared to answer these questions in a number of different contexts.

  • What do plan to sell?
    It is a good idea to ask yourself what need(s) you plan to meet in the market. Will you be selling something people need and are willing to pay for? The answer should be yes! If possible you should test the product on an actual customer. Pay close attention to the feedback and make any necessary adjustments. Consider what it is about your particular product or service that will get people to open their wallets.
  • Who do you plan to sell it to?
    Who is the real target group for what you plan to sell or offer? How big is the target group? It is sometimes possible to increase the size of the target group by means of minor adjustments of the product or concept. More customers means more money, which in turn means fewer worries. Keep in mind that to begin with Apple sold computers almost exclusively to people in the graphics industry. Or maybe you need to make the target group smaller? Sometimes businesses bite over more than they can chew and consequently end up lacking a clear profile.
  • What prices will you charge?
    Price is often the deciding factor for whether or not someone buys a product or service. At this stage, it is good idea to decide how you plan to price your product.
  • What will make people want to buy your product/service?
    Do you have specialist expertise that needs to be cultivated? Would that or something else about your product/service make people willing to pay extra to be customers of your particular company.
  • Who will be your suppliers?
    Good business associates and suppliers are crucial for the success of a business. You need to establish a network of people you trust. Listen to your gut  and do not hesitate to take steps if it turns out that something will be totally wrong for you. It is okay to be egotistical in this type of situation.
  • Should you protect your idea?
    We will revert to this in section 3.

2. Start up by yourself or together with someone else

  • Are you willing to go it alone?
  • Do you need more capacity than you have by yourself?
  • Do you need someone else whose skills complement yours so they can cover the areas that are not your strong points?
  • Do you want to share the responsibility with someone?

3. Non-disclosure agreement

One important criterion for success is that you are not afraid to share your idea. This is not generally a problem but in some cases it can give rise to fear that someone might steal your idea. There is no set answer with respect to how this problem should be handled.

A good tip
Use common sense when deciding who you can or cannot trust. There are also ways to protect your idea or product and now is the time to do so.

Non-disclosure agreement
If you feel that simply saying "I promise not to tell anyone" is not sufficient, you can ask people to sign a confidentiality agreement. This is sometimes called a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in the business world and is often demanded from parties that are given access to competitively sensitive information.

4. Does your idea need to be protected

Get protection through "Patentstyret" (the Norwegian Industrial Property Office) so no one can take your idea. You can apply for the following main types of protection:
  • Patent protection
    In order to be patented your invention must constitute a practical solution to a problem. The solution must be of a technical nature, have a technical effect and be possible to reproduce. You cannot patent an idea unless you can explain or show how it can be carried out in practice.
  • Trade mark protection
    Trade mark protection is the way to go if you want to protect the product's or company's name, logo or motto. Check "Foretaksregisteret" (the Register of Business Enterprises) in The Brønnøysund Register Center to see if the name already exists or check the Norwegian Industrial Property Office's database to see if the name/logo/motto is already trade mark protected.
  • Design protection
    Design refers to the appearance and shape of a product or product component. Both tangible and intangible items can be protected, e.g. graphic symbols or the interior of a café.
Before applying you should check to see whether anyone else has already protected the idea. The Norwegian Industrial Property Office can help you with this.

Relevant link:
» The Norwegian Industrial Property Office:  www.patentstyret.no/en/
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