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Do you have a business concept?

Have you come up with an idea that could solve one or more problems that individuals or businesses are experiencing? A well-formulated business concept is the first step towards becoming an entrepreneur and the foundation on which your business will rest.

A business concept starts with an idea. Business concepts are rarely brand new, but are often based on further development and improvement of an existing product or service.

Your company's business concept contains what you intend to sell, how you will sell it, and to whom. A well-thought-out business concept increases your chances of success. The more simply and concisely you can explain your concept, the easier it is for customers and partners to understand what the business is about and how it will accomplish its goals. The business concept should also highlight the strengths of the business and what makes it special. A benchmark is that you should be able to convince someone of your idea in just a few minutes. This is what is known as an elevator pitch.

Use the following as a starting point when writing down your business concept:

  • What do you intend to sell?
  • Is there a need for your services and/or products?
  • Who is your intended buyer?
  • Why should they buy from you?
  • How will you reach customers?
  • How will you earn money?

Your business concept and operations need to be competitive in a sustainable future. It is therefore essential to formulate how your business concept is relevant and can create value from a sustainability perspective. You should also formulate how you intend to tackle any sustainability challenges that arise for your operations.

Sustainability guide

It is important to think early-on about what intellectual property might exist in your business. Such property could include inventions (patents), trademarks, designs, images or texts (copyrights). It may seem complicated and costly at a time when you have a lot on your plate, but if you succeed with your business, your trademarks, for example, can become valuable to you. Not least, they can be a tool in your marketing. In such case, it is an advantage to have them registered.

Think about how others have done it, who your competitors are, and whether you are the first with the idea or at risk of copying someone else. It can be difficult to work out on your own what kind of protection you need.

The Swedish Intellectual Property Office's (PRV) page for entrepreneurs

If you do not have a business concept but want to run your own business, the first step could be to consider what you are good at and what you like to do. Many people start a business in the field they already work in, since they are aware of the opportunities that exist and the shortcomings that need to be addressed.

These questions may help you come up with a business concept:

  • What resources (materials, time, money, expertise) can be found in our society that are going to waste – and what can you do about it?
  • What sort of things do people and companies find troublesome in day-to-day life, and how could they be made simpler with the aid of products or services?
  • What do people complain about today as being irritating or ineffective?
  • What habits and behaviours are changing? What can you do to speed up or assist this change?

By talking to different people and keeping up to date through newspapers, TV, radio and the internet, you can pick up on trends, such as changed behaviour and new habits.

Once you have described your business concept, you should evaluate it. In addition to reviewing it yourself, you can use people you trust, such as family and friends. You can also contact an incubator or advisor to get feedback on your business concept.

Questions that your business concept must be able to answer

  • What is the purpose of your business on the market?
  • Is there a need for your product or service?
  • What market(s) is your business operating in?
  • Who is your target group and how can you reach them?
  • Is your business concept unique? If not, what distinguishes it from the competition?
  • Why should customers choose your business rather than your competitors?
  • What impact will your business have on the environment, the climate and society?
  • What are the fundamental profitability factors for your business?
  • How will your business concept be affected by economic fluctuations?
  • How will your business concept be affected by social changes, e.g. demand for sustainable products/services and the transition to renewable raw materials and energy?
  • How will the product or service be sold?
  • How will marketing be financed and implemented?

Once you have written your business concept and discussed it with family, friends or advisors, it is time to create a business plan. Your business concept is part of your business plan, which is a description of the business and its activities. A well-written business plan will help you to take a long-term view. It serves as an aid when selling your idea to investors, customers, suppliers, banks and government agencies.

How to write a business plan

Almi has produced webinars aimed at those starting a business. The series “Du och ditt företag” (You and your business) covers how to go from idea to business model. The “Tänk tillväxt från start” (Think growth from the start) webinars cover topics such as financing and how to grow your business quickly. The webinar is available with English subtitles.

Webinars on Almi's YouTube page