Have you found your killer idea? Some people come up with potentially-profitable business ideas on daily basis but implementation has always been the problem for many. “ideas are dime a dozen”, and “it’s all in the execution”. If you have managed to land on a great idea, this will be useful for you.
1. Start discussing your idea with people you respect. Make sure this isn’t just fishing for compliments to help build up your confidence. Instead, ask for all the reasons this idea won’t work. Validate the idea with as many strangers (who can actually give you feedback) as you can.
If someone else is not as excited as you are on the idea, there is no business plan, no patent. This is the hardest pill to swallow. People fall in love with their idea. Find out if others feel the same way.
2. As you listen to people, keep iterating on a lean canvas (lean startup methodology). Hockey stick graphs are cliche. Assumptions will change and so will the business plan.
3. Find a co-founder who is inflicted with the same disease or better still shares your passion. Often this is a strong vetting point. If a developer can’t convince a sales person to join his/her team or a sales person (sometimes euphemistically referred to as “business person”) can’t convince a developer (sometime euphemistically referred to as a “technical person”) to join then figure out why and fix it. Is it you? is it the idea?
Use this information to:
A) Figure out the core value of the idea (which often gets confused with the package the idea comes in, e.g. product features)
B) improve the idea through others’ reactions and suggestions
C) reframe each challenge that goes unresolved into a hypothesis that needs to be tested. Read this guide to minimal viable products.
4) Test your willingness to stick with this idea. If you still are excited after getting beaten down, you may be on to something
Don’t burn your money on a product no one will want to use. Get creative and think hard about what is the minimum thing you can do now to make sure you don’t waste money on something that may not scale, be useful to potentially millions or solve a real problem.
Here is what Amy Dubin (Entrepreneur and Business Development Director, Propeller3D) expects of you before you get ahead of yourself. Amy originally shared this with the FounderDating community.
“I’m a big fan of stepping WAY back, before you spend any money or invest any time in business planning (time is money) and ask yourself:
1. What kind of company do you want to run? Do you really want to be responsible for the livelihood of 50 people? 200 people? Just you? Can you REALLY run a company alone?
3. Do you have any business experience whatsoever?
4. Do you have time in your life to commit to building a business; it’s akin to having a baby. So if you already have a real baby and are a single parent and are working full-time, the answer is possibly no. So, start to look at what you can do.
5. Do you have any management experience? Most people leave jobs because management is poor, but this comes from a lack of training, so do you have what it takes to manage other people and projects? Have you even ever seen a policies and procedures manual?
6. Is it more important that you get the idea out into the world (license it and let someone else produce/market it) vs. make your actual living doing it (you keep all the money but you pay for everything).
7. Are you in a job where your idea might be of benefit to them or you can see them adapting/adopting your technology and might help them grow? Are you willing to approach them?
8. How much money to you reasonably have in the bank to play with? Don’t quit your day job and don’t bet the farm.
9. Think about your strengths and who can fill in the gaps for what you don’t know.
10. A product is not a business. A business is built on solid business research and planning, legal, insurance and accounting. If you don’t want to deal with these things, you don’t want a business. You want a product and you should sell that product prototype to an existing business who has the operational capacity to produce it.
Essentially, an idea is only as good as your ability to make it happen. If you want to open a pastry kitchen and hate getting up in the morning, maybe that business isn’t for you, even if your pastries are killer.
Get advice and don’t spend any time or money developing your idea until you know for a fact your life can handle it. I hate seeing businesses fail. The ones that succeed can successfully marry business, technology and design and individuals who have the know-how to manage/guide all aspects.