Every new startup begins with an idea. For some reason, people tend to think that an idea that appeared in their mind between bites at lunch is absolutely breathtaking, unique, and the only true key to success.
But there is something much bigger than just a thought.
To some extent, people never grow up. Even an experienced and respected specialist in their field has something innocent and naive still living within their mind. Sometimes this “childishness” can be seen in people’s attitude towards ideas. Just as children are afraid to share their toys because someone might take it, adults are afraid to share their ideas with others. The explanation usually sounds something like this:
“I’ve got a one-of-a-kind idea that will definitely bring me billions of dollars. If I share this idea with my coworkers, they will steal it, implement it before me and take all my money. No way! Never!”
This happens because most people think like this:
But that’s totally wrong.
An idea by itself, without any solid base, has no value. There are nearly eight billion people living in this world, and every one of them has their own ideas, a lot more than one. People can come to absolutely the same ideas without even knowing each other (great minds think alike, don’t they?). So the uniqueness of an idea is a questionable concept.
As we mentioned before, success implies much more than just a good idea. In reality, the formula looks like this:
The main part of this sum is validation, more specifically, market validation. According to Eric Ries and his book The Lean Startup, the only thing that can truly validate your idea is the market itself. Even the most experienced developer or business-analyst can never be 100 percent sure about an idea’s profitability.
For example, you want to build a CRM app for hair salons. It doesn’t matter how you came up with this idea. You might be a hairdresser yourself and would like to have a tool like that. Maybe your hairdresser friend is always moaning about their difficulties managing customers. Or you were having your hair cut one day when suddenly this thought flashed in your mind. The only thing that matters is that you are absolutely convinced it is brilliant! Making a CRM app is fast, there are a lot of hairdressers in the world, and if you sell your product to at least two or three hundred hair salons, you can easily retire at 30! Millions of imaginary dollars are already burning in your pocket and all you have to do is decide the color of your future private jet, right?
But the market has its own rules and its own questions. The market will ask you:
The deeper you get into the idea, the more questions arise and the more frustrated you become. How do you take everything into account and create a truly successful startup?
You don’t need to rush into doubting your startup idea. The project you’re thinking of could be a big success. You just need to do things the right way.
WRONG: You have a brilliant idea about a CRM for hair salons. You’re absolutely sure your idea is so awesome that every hair salon in the world will be rushing to buy it. You build your project and suddenly discover that no one needs it.
RIGHT: You have an idea of a CRM for hair salons. You create a landing page with some prototype screens and a call to action like “Give us your email and be the first to get a copy.” You see the feedback from your target audience and adjust your project accordingly.
WRONG: You’ve got a million dollars and an amazing idea for your future app. You spend all your money on that one project and it all disappears because the market doesn’t need your app.
RIGHT: You’ve got a million dollars. You split the sum into ten parts of $100,000 each and spend it on ten different projects. One of them finds its audience and becomes a success.
WRONG: You’ve got six months. You spend the entire time building one complete project that gets absolutely no recognition.
RIGHT: You’ve got six months. You split the time and spend one month validating six different projects. One idea turns out to be successful, and you finish development of the full app.
WRONG: You want to create a chat. You build a fully custom chat from scratch. It takes a very long time, but looks just the way you want. You spend weeks figuring out just the button design. You waste both time and money.
RIGHT: You want to create a chat. You build it from ready solutions that cover 80% of the functionality you want and save your resources on more important tasks like testing or analyzing user feedback.
One of the best ways to understand if your idea is valuable is a proof of concept (PoC) — a basic project implementation that verifies the viability of a business idea. One of our clients, an international insurance company, chose that way for their startup — a customer service voice bot. The PoC helped the company understand the necessity of such a voice assistant, and now we’re working together with them to finish developing a full multifunctional project.
As Eric Ries says, a startup is not just a type of business. A startup is a notion, a type of project with uncertain outcomes.
If a corporation tests a new product – it’s a startup. If someone starts a new and unusual kind of company – it’s a startup. If you begin something new without any idea how it will turn out in the end – that’s a startup as well.
To some extent, our life is a startup.
So be flexible. Keep looking. Keep trying. And don’t be afraid to share ideas – that’s the only way we can make the world a better place to live.
Get weekly updates on the newest design stories, case studies and tips right in your mailbox.