Entrepreneurship – turning a bright idea into a successful business

Find out what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and the steps for setting up a business.

We often hear about successful Kiwi entrepreneurs like Sam Morgan, founder of online trading website Trade Me, but what does it really take to turn a bright idea into a successful business venture? 

Find out here what makes an entrepreneur, how to generate ideas for a business, and where to go for advice on setting up a business.

Hamish Pinkham talks about what it takes to be an entrepreneur – video

Hamish Pinkham, founder of Rhythm and Vines, reveals the secrets of entrepreneurial success. (Video - 3.21 mins).

Read a transcript of this video

What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is someone who:

  • can identify what's missing in the market – an entrepreneur can spot business opportunities that will fill gaps in the market
  • can identify key people to help achieve goals – nobody is an expert in everything!
  • takes risks – even if you have carefully researched the market, there's always a chance that customers may reject your product or service
  • shows drive and initiative – if you are launching a business you need determination and energy to overcome any obstacles
  • is resilient – all entrepreneurs have failures and successes. Your ability to learn from mistakes and move on is key to the success of your business.

How do I come up with a bright idea?

Different ways to generate ideas include:

  • lateral thinking – solving problems through an indirect and creative approach. Often referred to as thinking outside the box
  • blue-sky thinking – open-minded thinking where everything is possible, and you are not restricted by realities
  • gap analysis - problem solving by finding the gaps between what people need and what is actually available

Where do good ideas come from? - video

Steven Johnson explains where those good ideas come from. (Video - 4.06 mins).

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Checking out the competition

Once you’ve gone through the brainstorming process and come up with or refined your business idea, it is time to check out the competition. All trading companies in New Zealand are required to register with the New Zealand Companies Office. You can search the office’s website for company details.

Choose a business mentor

A business mentor is an experienced business professional who provides you with advice, guidance and support as you launch and maintain your business venture. Having a mentor will boost your business’ performance, and increase your chance of success.

A mentor will:

  • help you analyse your bright idea to see whether it is viable
  • connect you up with key business people and customers
  • provide a fresh perspective on how to grow your business
  • be a sounding board when you need to discuss difficulties you are encountering
  • challenge you to set goals for your business that may achieve better results.

A number of organisations have business mentoring programmes. 

Choose a business incubator

Some organisations offer business incubators or accelerators. These help businesses that are starting up by providing services such as business advice, finances and access to shared premises.

The value of mentors - video

Jeremy Moon, Kathryn Wilson, Shelley Campbell, Antony Healy, Mahe Drysdale and Sarah Walker discuss the value of mentors in all stages of your career, and tips for the best ways to find a mentor who is helpful and inspiring. (Video - 2.08 mins).

Read a transcript of this video

Create a business plan

Once you have come up with an idea for your business, and done some research and planning, you need to write a business plan. This should outline:

  • your key business objectives for the next three to five years
  • how you will achieve these objectives
  • the date when you will achieve these objectives
  • how you expect to run day-to-day operations, and make business decisions.

Find out about your obligations as an employer

As your business grows, you are likely to hire staff. It’s important that you have a good understanding of employment relations, and health and safety requirements for businesses.

Updated 20 Oct 2016