The Pacific Business Trust is taking a validation roadshow to universities and polytechnics, to encourage more young Pacific minds to look at starting their own business.
Business Growth Manager Richard Taurima says students often come in with this complicated notion of what it takes to start a business.
“One of the main questions we get is whether you have to have a full blown business plan to start a business. My response is no, you don’t.”
Having worked extensively as a business strategist and mentor, Richard has designed the validation roadshow model. He’s confident the model will open up young Pacific minds to taking their own ideas and hobbies, and capitalising on what interests them, to start a business.
“All it takes is the spark, an idea which you then need to validate. You do that by conducting research on your target audience to see how they react to your idea, service or product. Is there a demand for it? “You want to determine whether this business will grow.”
Validation centres on whether your idea caters to a gap in the market, or discovering what you need to do to fill a gap.
“A lot of people come up with products and services that they want to do, but no one wants them because they haven’t done their research or even asked the market- ‘Will you buy from me?’”
Kick-starting the process is the focus of the validation roadshow. In Richard’s opinion, the most important part of the process is formulating your idea and finding out how to implement it.
“If they can see that it’s not complicated and it’s just a way of formulating an idea, the wheels start turning in their heads and they realise it doesn’t need to so complicated. “A lot of people get these massive business plans, pay $400-500 to create it, then realise they haven’t validated their product and no one wants it.”
Richard recently oversaw a successful validation roadshow at Southland Polytech. “Running this validation workshop gave the students an idea about what validation is and how it works, getting that ‘big business plan’ out of their heads and creating something more tangible to work on.”
There is no shortage of ideas, says Richard. One young woman had just graduated from fashion and design and was a vegan. She was inspired to develop her own line of vegan clothing to compete in the growing global market. Other students wanted to go into business with social service providers, with ideas for health and fitness services coming to the fore.
Richard can’t stress enough how easy it is to get started in business. “Most people come in asking about financials and the IRD, but it doesn’t need to be so complex at the beginning. The product or service needs a profitable financial model and market scale to be worth pursuing, but validation is a vital first step. “The roadshow is about telling students business isn’t designed to be difficult, people make it difficult. Do your research so you can go out and validate your idea. That’s where it starts.”
In the new year, the Pacific Business Trust will take the validation roadshow to Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology – formerly Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic – and Otago University, with other universities and polytechs set to participate.