Congrats you’re part of the generation who has endless ideas. We see this all the time, people have an idea and they jump to the make, and of course you need someone to help you make your idea real, and we can do that.
But let’s just slow down a little bit here.
Consider doing a bit of research before going all in. There’s always a few different things you can do and its always expanding. But once things are in motion its harder to steer the ship.
Competition is an interesting thing. One school of thought says find competitors first and then adjust what you do as if competitors is a bad thing. The web presents you with many places to spot like minded ideas- Product Hunt, AngelList, Google itself.
Don’t let a competitor wig you out. Actually competition is a good thing. Competition helps you frame your understanding around how they market, how they position their offer, how you will need to differ and you can go further analyzing how they spend advertising dollars online and more.
Try tools like SEMRush to analyze a competitor.
So yeah that initial feeling of a competitor seems like a drag at first but its actually good. It informs you. It should not lead you, merely inform you.
Now here is a key tidbit.. its when DON’T see a competitor you are either on to some notion of greatness (which is like 1% of the time) or more so you don’t know where the bodies are buried. No competition to us usually means you’re on a fringe trend like concept which could be good or its really bad. Like you can’t find the companies who tried and died doing the idea.
Get some data.
Figure how to validate the idea without spending any money on making something first. Note this isn’t a pitch deck. That comes later. You need to get crafty, you need to get resilient, you need to get better at proving what you’re about to do has real merit.
Now one way to approach this is simple, talk to people. Yep thats it. However make it structured.
- Make an interview sheet, 10 questions.
- Identify 30 people to talk to, note how the differ, age, sex, social economics (how much they make etc)
- Interview them, on the phone, in person
- Always, always, always, always – stick to the same 10 questions. This allows you to compare answers later nice and easy.
- Go fast, do this like in a week or less.
The end result will net you data around your idea.
The kind of questions you ask need to be free of bias like.
“Don’t you love this idea?” is a biased question, you’re applying the bias of “love” on the idea and most people will feel compelled to agree with you just to be nice. This sucks, and will skew your data set considerably.
“What do you think about this idea?” is a non biased question. Its neutral. Your goal is real data. Real input vs biased is so hugely critical at the start of anything.
Work on 3 ideas at the same time
Another method I really love is tripling the load. We all see folks focused on one idea these days but that idea is still likely to be true or not given the situation you’re in and the focus you’re applying on it.
In alot of ways, every idea you have has a chance. But you only have so many chances in you. Meaning, you’ll burn out faster than the idea will. Like hover cars, thats gonna happen, but how many people are going to kill themselves trying to bring that idea to light?
So this tripling concept is to force you to do 3 ideas at the same time. Here’s how ya do it.
- Pick 3 ideas
- Write up what each idea is
- Do the 10 question thing for each idea
- Work on each idea in parallel with each other for 90 days
- Do as much as you can to learn about each idea, talk to people, research competition, refine each idea
- At the end of 90 days interview yourself, which idea is more you?
Notice this is less about the ideas and more about which idea is right for you. This is the key to this exercise. A little know fact about Facebook is that it was 1 of 4 ideas Mark Zuckerberg was working on at the time. It was the one idea that got traction, that seemed to net momentum faster than the other ideas and it was the one idea that Mark liked best.
That is the test.
So there you have it. Next up we’ll get into the art of listening to your startup!