Everyone has ideas. Everyone has ambitions too. But it is very unique for entrepreneurs to have both in their system. That’s what makes them different from others. But not all ideas work out the way you want it to. Ideas and ambitions do go hand in hand but not success does not necessarily follow them. For that to happen, we may have to validate your ideas and have some very good research done. This would help your unique idea to be unique and not to start with a chance of failure.
As per Sujan Patel, there are some questions you can ask yourself for easy validation.
- What problem are you solving?
- How have others attempted to solve this problem before, and why did their solutions succeed or fail?
- How many specific benefits for your product or idea can you list?
- Can you state, in clear language, the key features of your product or service?
- Does your idea already exist in the same way you were going to create it?
- Who are your potential competitors?
- What key features does my product or service have that others will have a hard time copying?
- Have you done a SWOT analysis?
- Do you have access to the various resources you need to launch a business?
- Do you have a mentor or industry advisor that you can call on?
- Can you name somebody who would benefit from your product or service?
- What is the size of the market that will buy your product or service?
- Have you reached out to potential customers for feedback?
- Can you set up a landing page and encourage interested people to sign up for more information?
- What would it take to build a minimum viable product to test the market?
- Can you get paying customers from your target market to pre-order based on a blueprint or mockup?
- Can you produce the actual product yourself, or do you have a partner who can?
- Do you have distributors or partners to help you scale your business?
- What will it take to break even or make a profit?
- How can investors in your idea make a profit?
Although he had mentioned what should be your approach to each of these questions while answering them, it is better if you check out the approach later and try to answer them based on your understanding. This method will help you to not only judge your idea, but also the depth of the idea you have and how you’re going to communicate it with others while validating it.
Related Read: How Can You Fund Your Minimum Viable Product ?
Need to know more to make informed decisions?
There are some more guidelines which you can use to make a more informed decision,
- Start with the goal of testing as many ideas as possible, NOT validating one solution
Running lots of experiments gives you more chances to be successful. No matter how smart you are, this process takes practice and your hypotheses (aka ideas) will likely be wrong. It may sound like a farfetched idea of paradise, but all this “hard work” can help you understand your own product much better.
- Talk to your customers (or even would-be customers)
Leading Questions are most commonly “yes or no” questions or questions that start with “Would you…” Customer interviews are not about feedback when you are exploring the problem space. It is about getting data behind people’s real world problems. You want to know specific examples of their biggest problems and when they most recently happened. Do not talk about your solution, do not talk about your company. These things bias the people you are talking to.
- Date your ideas and don’t get married until you’ve validated it’s THE ONE
By far the biggest mistake every new entrepreneur makes is falling in love with their idea. It’s natural, we all do it. But it will really mess you up. First of all, most of the ideas we think are good are not actually good in reality. I’m saying this because 90% of the ideas people test in LSM are proven not to be good. It has nothing to do with how smart you are it’s just the level of uncertainty involved in these things.
- Remember these words from Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet once said, “I do not look for five-foot bars to jump over. I look for one-foot bars to step over.” Too many entrepreneurs ask me something to the effect of, “This has been invalidated here, but could it possibly work somewhere, somehow, sometime?” This is not pragmatic thinking.
Related Read: Do You Think YOu Can Start A Startup?
The question you should care about is not what the best idea is, but what the best idea for YOU to execute on is. Warren Buffet prefers ideas with a lower return and a guaranteed chance of success (from his analysis). The most successful serial entrepreneurs I’ve met instinctively think this way. They have a formula and they apply it quickly and ruthlessly to achieve a guaranteed outcome. Unless you are smarter than Warren Buffet, I urge you to focus on having a vision you can pursue with ruthless pragmatism.
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