The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself.-Paul Graham
There are hundreds of great companies today that were started with just an idea to solve a problem. Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator, the popular startup incubator that has funded more than 450 startups including Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit attributes the success of companies like Microsoft and Dropbox to finding what is missing and then fixing it.
If you have an idea already, its important to know if the idea is viable before you dedicate time and resources to something that may possibly not work. Thousands of startups are launched every week, but few survive to tell their story. You don’t want your business to be another statistics of failed businesses. Get the numbers right, find out what can work and what will not work, invest some time to do research about your idea and start it right. These are 29 of the important questions you have to answer to determine if your idea is worth pursuing.
1. Will you personally use you product?
2. Can you find 10+ people who are willing to pay for it now?
3. What do you love to do? How different is it from your idea?
4. How painful is the problem you intend to solve?
5. Is your target market big enough to create a real business out of it ?
6. What is your revenue model and how realistic is it?
7. How well can the founders execute?
8. Can the founders identify what they need to do, beyond the obvious?
9. How does the customer addresses the problem today?
10. What is the recent trends that make your solution possible?
11. what is the simplest version of this idea?
12. How fast can you take the idea to market?
13. How soon can you build version one?
14. What makes your product different?
15. How much money is needed to build your first prototype?
16. Customers will only buy a simple product. Can you explain your product in one sentence?
17. Do you have any advantage over the competition?
18. Are you passionate enough about the idea to dedicate all your time for the next 1-2 years to it?
19. How easily can your get access to 2-3 high profile people who can advise you on how to succeed in that target market?
20. Can you convince 1-2 great people to work with you right now?
21. How soon can the you scale it?
22. How will it make the world a better place?
22. In what way is it creative, innovative and unique?
23. What opportunities and risks do you face?
24. What is the picture on patents?
25. What long-term goals have you set?
26. How is the industry developing (market growth)?
27. What are the key success factors?
28. Why should someone give you money?
29. How will your business survive and grow in the next five years?
Live in the future and build what seems interesting. Strange as it sounds, that’s the real recipe. Paul Grham