Startup culture is going strong, and new businesses are sprouting up every day in Melbourne. In a business community crowded with up-and-coming companies, how can you know if your exciting idea can translate into a sustainable business?

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help determine if your idea is worthy of investing time, energy and resources into.

Does it solve an existing problem?

Before organising funding or picking a name, the first step to determine if a startup idea is sustainable is to ask yourself whether it fills an existing need. Whether you meet with a business consultant or do independent research, you need to find out if there is a market for your product or service.

The basic law of supply and demand governs all business transactions. You might provide a ground-breaking product or service, but if no one wants it you aren’t going to succeed.

How unique is your idea?

Check out the competition. If the local business community is already crowded with startups doing the same thing, you might want to reconsider your purpose. Standing out from the crowd is already difficult enough without competing with a bunch of businesses already more established than yours.

If there are a couple of other businesses out there who had the same idea as you, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it means there is a pre-existing market for your services. With effective marketing, you can easily establish yourself as a leader among the competition.

Can You Sum Up Your Concept Concisely?

If you can’t define your concept and describe it to someone who is completely uninitiated in a couple of sentences or less, that is a warning sign. Either you don’t understand your concept yourself or your startup idea lacks focus.

In order to effectively sell a startup plan to others, you need to have a firm grasp on it yourself. You might think you understand what you want to do, but give yourself the text. Get out a piece of paper and describe your business idea in a short paragraph. Now a sentence. Narrow it down to a single phrase that defines your mission and your new company’s identity.

Do You Have an Advisor?

Networking is key. Having a trusted advisor or mentor within the industry can mean the difference between failure and success. Someone with inside knowledge and connections that is willing to help you is an invaluable resource.

Regardless of whether or not you have a mentor within your industry, it’s also a good idea to have a business consultant to discuss plans with and develop a strategy. A good business consultant can not only advise you on your startup strategy, but also help you get started with financial advice and planning.

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