Page last updated at 22:28 GMT, Wednesday, 6 April 2005 23:28 UK

Is your business idea good enough?

Would your business idea actually make any money?
Are you always thinking about possible business ideas, but fear of failure forever holds you back from starting up your own company?

Help could be at hand.

Here Paul Lynam, chief executive NatWest & RBS Business Banking, looks at how to best evaluate whether your business idea could be a success.

QUESTION Bimal Gohil, UK
I have a wealth of ideas and am good at spotting new opportunities for growth and development.

So much so that my wife has asked me to stop coming up with the ideas as I only get upset when a couple of years later someone else comes up with the same thing.

What is the best way of assessing the viability of a business proposition - as fear of failure stops me from putting my neck out?

ANSWER Paul Lynam, chief executive NatWest & RBS Business Banking
It's great to see that you have thought about unique business ideas.

Coming up with a suitable idea is one of the biggest struggles that potential entrepreneurs face, so you are already one step ahead.

My initial suggestion would be to prepare a business plan, which will put your business ideas into a format that can help you decide how viable your business proposition is.

This will prompt questions around the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the potential business.

There is a wide range of business literature and software available that will assist you with both the planning of the business and the key stages that you will need to follow.

Often this is available free of charge from the internet sites of major banks.

I would advise that you ask yourself the following questions to determine whether going it alone is the right path for you:

  • How will this fit in with your lifestyle?

  • Do I have the right qualities?

  • What is my Unique Selling Point (USP)?

  • How will I sell and market my product/service?

  • Will I make a profit?

  • What will my cashflow be like?

  • What are my set up costs?

  • How will I fund the business initially?

  • Will I need to employ staff?

    I would also recommend that you approach either a local enterprise agency or Business Link, who will be able to evaluate your idea and give you a steer in the right direction for more information and guidance.

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