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 find what is missing and then fixing it.
If you have an idea already, it’s 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 stories. It pays to know if your idea is worth pursuing.
Your first priority is to arm yourself with as much information as possible about the idea, the market, size of the market and the need for your product. Share your idea with as many people as possible to gather feedback. Even a brilliant idea can fail if the target market is saturated or not big enough to help you build a growing business.
You don’t want your business to be another statistic 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.
1. Will you personally use your 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 address the problem today?
10. What are 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 you 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 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