Design a Winning Business Based on Your Idea
 Email from Susan
 About this assignment
 What's involved in refining a business concept?
 What does a good business concept look like?
 What do the experts have to say about refining business concept?

About this assignment

What is your role?
Susan Carlson is highly regarded as one of the top dog groomers in Empire City, and spent several years at Care n’ Clip. Around the start of this year, Susan decided it was time to strike out on her own. With her children headed off to college, she believes she can earn more by devoting her time, energy, and expertise to running her own dog grooming business.

Susan is hoping you can help her get the idea off the ground—and possibly run the “business” side of things. She expects that you can earn roughly $70,000 per year for a twenty-hour or less commitment per week. She knows she has a good idea, and that she’ll need to find some financial backing to get started, but she doesn’t really understand how to get from “here” to “there.” She's interested in mobile pet grooming—where the groomer travels to the customer’s home in a customized van. It’s a new trend that’s catching on fast, but that hasn’t really yet “arrived" in Empire City. Susan knows the grooming business well and she’s really excited to take advantage of this opportunity.

Susan discussed the overall terms of your partnership and she plans to prepare a written partnership agreement before launching the business. In her email, Susan said that the first thing you’ll need to do is help refine her business concept. You need to start thinking in terms of exactly what service she’ll offer and exactly whom she’ll be able to sell that service to.

Why is this assignment important?
In this course, you're going to focus on moving a business idea through step 2 of the Business Lifecycle.


Successful businesses are founded on a lot more than a good idea. The flash of insight scribbled on a napkin, or dreamed up in a conversation over cocktails, is just the beginning. In order to turn a good idea or a long-time dream into reality, you need to start thinking in terms of the viability of the idea. Can it be successful in the real world?

The first step of testing the viability of a business idea is to take your vague business concept and flesh it out with specific details. These details will allow you to start doing some substantive planning and analysis. We call this step of the process refining the business concept.

For instance, let’s say that your idea is to sell custom uniforms over the Internet. Would that business likely be successful? How could you know? How many customers would be interested? Who would be your competitors? A vague or incomplete business idea is very difficult to evaluate. It’s the specifics of a business idea that help you assess its viability.

Let’s imagine that you’ve spent some time refining your business concept. You anticipate selling custom uniforms to youth and high school sports teams in your metropolitan area. You’ll reach uniform buyers through local schools and city park district programs. Now how would you begin assess the quality of your idea? You could probably contact schools and other youth programs to tally the number of sports teams, the number of participants, and the types of uniforms they use. This would give you an idea of your number of potential customers and of the volume of uniforms they purchase annually. You could also ask school and sports organization officials where they currently source their uniforms. You could then research these other companies and consider how your product will be better or different.

Refining your business concept will help you optimize your business idea and increase your chances of success.

How will this assignment work?
In this assignment, you will:

  • Review information that Susan sends you.
  • Answer some questions that help her to refine her business idea.

These questions will help you develop a more specifically defined business concept for the mobile dog grooming business, from which you and Susan can start doing a market analysis.

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