Questions

I finally found my billion-dollar startup idea. Now what?

This is not a naive, general question, at least I hope it's not. I've been passionate about entrepreneurship, especially products and services, since almost 5 years. I have been thinking about different ideas that ranged from web apps to mobile applications and SaaS ideas. I guess all of these ideas sounded great to me and some of my friends, but I have never actually worked on them. I'd rather do something else, like learning general business skills or working on side projects for the purpose of gaining experience and promoting my personal brand. Last week, I've been offered a job. It will be a daunting one but it will pay off well. I will relocate from my hometown and work in a friendly environments. I said yes, and decided to relocate and organize my time between my regular job and the side online projects I'm working on. Until today. I was randomly daydreaming and checking the ceiling, when it suddenly hit me: a million-dollar idea. No, actually a billion-dollar idea. This doesn't mean I'm 100% sure of its success, but I was so excited about it to the extent that: 1) It gave me goosebumps. 2) It made me visualize the startup's mission and impact on people. 3) Possibility of my potential product's failure scared me, but it made me very determined to pursue it and see for myself. 4) It made me smile. So, in order to begin working on it, I have to learn web development and develop a prototype, as well as gaining advanced business knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, I won't be able to work on my idea and stick to a 9 to 5 job. I'm afraid I'll lose the vision I have when time passes by without working on it. I'm confused. Can you awesome people help me find the right person to consult and gain solid advice from? I trust Clarity!

8answers

The idea is a very small fraction of what it takes to earn the first million. Certainly billion. What actually matters is your ability to *execute*.

Entrepreneurship means "having the talent of translating opportunities into money". Or, as Alexis Ohanian of Reddit said, "entrepreneur is just French for 'has ideas, does them'."

As much as it may seem that transitioning off your 9-to-5 is the biggest hurdle, it's not. If you can't "get out of the gate" then you're also not ready to deal with the real challenges of business, like "competition that has 1,000x your funding" or "suppliers that jerk you around" or "customers who steal your intellectual property".

It's easy to have a "billion dollar idea". I'd like to mine gold off of asteroids; I'm sure that would be worth billions. I'd also like to invest in Arctic real estate that will become coastal vacation property after fifty more years of warming. And, of course, to make a new social network that everyone loves. But saying these things is very very different from accomplishing them.

Prove your concept by first taking a small step, such as making the first dollar. (Maybe try Noah Kagan's course at http://www.appsumo.com/how-make-your-first-dollar-open/). If you can't figure out a way to "make it go" without a giant investment, then you're kidding yourself about your ability to execute the business. If you *can* figure out a way to get a toehold, then by all means do it now!

Happy to advise further, feel free to contact me for a call.


Answered 5 years ago

1. As of today, what's your core competency and capability?

2. You need not be a truck driver to start a truck manufacturing company. Likewise, you need not learn anything and everything to convert your idea to prototype. I believe you know it isn't much challenging to get a prototype developed.

3. Entrepreneurship isn't just about quitting a job and starting with one of your own. The opportunity cost may last longer than you can anticipate. Are you geared up enough for that roller coaster ride?

4. Show me an entrepreneur who doesn't believes in the billion dollar potential of his/her idea. But, reality happens to be different from wishes. If wishes were Horses, beggars would ride. Have you got your idea and model around it validated? If not, then that should be your first step.

5. There's nothing called good or bad idea but, inadequate planning and poor execution. Have you given a thought to either of above?

6. If getting funded is at the top of your mind then I would say "Beware". It takes time for an idea or business to reach a scale where it develops momentum with investors. That period may last much longer. Have you planned your bootstrapping model?

There could be various such parameters to give a second thought. In entrepreneurship, you measure twice, cut once. Do feel free to reach out if I could be of any help.


Answered 5 years ago

Hello,

I'm serving as startups' mentor for some years now, and an entrepreneur myself.

The key word is validation.

What you need to do now, in order to support your decision, is to test your assumptions with potential customers.

First have a short time dedicated to defining your idea in the following way:
1. Define the customer, the "job" this customer wants to get done, the hassle the customer is suffering from today, and the gap in the market - how do current solutions fail short. Make it clear for yourself - why this gap in the market really important for your customer.
Note that all of the above is just a collection of assumptions , until you validate them with customers.
2. Think where can you find customers (specifically early adopters, the ones that suffer the most today, with the maturity to get on board since they are really looking for a change).
3. Prepare your pitch for the problem, the root cause and the "so what".

Then get in touch with potential customers, go out of the building and try to validate your assumptions, in a way the customer really "pays" as an indicator for a stong, positive validation. Payment can be with a pre-order but can be other things - e.g., additional time allocated to you - setting up another meeting.

If you validated the problem and customer assumptions, even just with few customers, you may be up to something.

This process can be very fast, if you do it right.

Do it before you take any decision. Good luck.

Call me for follow up questions.

Rami


Answered 5 years ago

So exiting to see new entrepreneurs sprouting every day!

First off...
you didn't share with us what your idea is so the response to your question will be somewhat broad.
{entrepreneurship 101: never be afraid of sharing ideas. Trust me when I say that ideas are rarely unique and by the time you have it others have already either tried it and due to bad timing, lack of insight, pride, or just laziness passed on it. But if you want your idea to succeed the first thing is share with others. Be careful maybe but share}
The primary reason why is ok and encouraged to share your 'original' idea is because is not about ideas but in the execution.
...Moving on...
Assuming you have no experience in the field of your idea, not just in lack of comp science, go out and meet people who you feel can provide you with guidance and get yourself mentors. Look for open collaborative workspaces such as Gangplankhq.com and share your idea.

Learn to code. Trust me, now a days is a lot easier and saves you time if you try to learn to code and hack your way into a mock up or prototype instead of looking for a good programmer(s). Programmers are in super high demand... From everyone and so you either have to be an amazing pitch man to convince them to join your idea, or you'll have to pay a lot. (The typical app or in depth platform goes for $40k).
Learn to code through sites like Edx or One Month (which I belong too myself) here: http://mbsy.co/c6bPT
OneMonth does a great job in simplifying things.
Edx is great and free but a bit more independent and no real pressure to finish.
Learning gives you value to yourself and those you pitch to, and is def. a lot cheaper than paying north of $40k and saves you the time of looking for a programmer for possibly months or year(s).

...Also read:
Entrepreneurship cannot be thought but it can be crafted. Here is my blog list:
http://unthinkeverything.blogspot.com/2015/04/crafting-entrepreneur-mindset.html?m=1

If you are feeling goosebumps is probs a great idea but remember is in the execution.
Here are some tips:
-Make prototypes on paper.
-Keep an organized thought journal
-Don't pitch people until you have something to follow up with. No worse way to burn bridges and look like a horrible newbie than to pitch when you just though of something.
-network a lot. Make friends first. Offer a value to them. As you work on your thing you are building a professional network who are befriended and hopefully will be there for you when you finally do ask for a favor or pitch.
-don't get trapped in busy work. Often times one item off our checklist requires more items added to our checklist... Learn to delegate and avoid doing dumb "busy work" that ends up being a waste of time.
-learn a bit of finance/accounting. YouTube is a good source of that. So go get YouTube certified!! {a joke me and my wife have in this} lol.
- don't be afraid to ask ever.
- call businesses and ask for opinions - people get flattered when you considered them as mentors and will often agree.
- your newbie entrepreneur... So once thjngs get hard accept it and keep pushing. Entrepreneurship is a badge of honor that not everyone wears because is extremely hard to execute. Even if you fail is something to be completely proud of.

Give us a call, if you feel like i provided you with good insight don't be afraid to call me directly :)
Thank you!

Humberto Valle
#unthinkme


Answered 5 years ago

As Rami mentioned, the key thing many new entrepreneurs forget (or refuse) to do is prove that someone (in numbers) will pay for you to solve their problem, make them happy or entertained, or increase their capabilities.

Many ideas are appealing to your target market but they may not see enough value in them to actually lay out cash and pay for that value. Part of building your business model is connecting value propositions to customer segments, and communicating these to your "sample" customer segments. And LISTEN HARD. If you hear a bunch of "yeah, maybe..." or "no", chances are you may have identified something with value but you are communicating the wrong value proposition. Or to the wrong customer segment.

Do not skimp on this step. Before you invest any more time in your product development or skills development, PROVE that you have customers that will pay. AND THEN, you still have work to do. You need to prove you have a business model that will work - channels for finding these customer segments, revenue streams that have the potential (realistically) to cover more than your costs (which you obviously need to have thought through as well).

Start with the Business Model Canvas and force yourself to be disciplined and honest. You may need to pivot until you have the results you want but that's WAY cheaper than trying to pivot after you have invest thousands of hours and dollars in building your "best best" product. A sketch on a napkin is enough to demonstrate the concept to potential market segments.

My final thought is don't forget about your operations. Eventually you will have to learn how to run a company. Get on top of your foundational stuff sooner than later because if you do have the billion dollar idea it's going to take off quickly and if you haven't put the building blocks in place to help you grow quickly, you may find yourself in hardship. Get a mentor who can carry you through those steps and help you plan for growth.

Let me know if I can help you further. Good luck!


Answered 5 years ago

After 5 years of being "passionate about entrepreneurship" and coming up with many ideas, you admit that you have "never actually worked on them".

That says a lot.

Now that you've been offered a promising job that requires you to leave your hometown, the latest and greatest idea comes along. Sounds to me like a case of cold feet.

Listen, you've been daydreaming for years. But when did you ever buckle down and work at your daydream?

Take the job. Concentrate on learning to WORK. That seems to be something you're missing about entrepreneurship.

I understand your concern about not being "able to work on [your] idea and stick to a 9 to 5 job". But that concern is probably unfounded.

An 8-hour job leaves 4-8 hours each day for work you're "passionate" about. Plus you have weekends. Pursue your startup idea then.

My guess is that you'll lose your enthusiasm for this new idea after a single Saturday of actual extra work. Then again, you might prove me wrong and pursue your idea as a side project using your time off.

Honestly, though, it sounds to me like you're using this novel daydream as an excuse to avoid the work involved in relocating for that 9 to 5 job.

Take the job! If you're still passionate about this idea in a month or 2, then you'll see for yourself whether you work on it in your spare time. The proof is in the pudding.

There's nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying a good daydream. You're not obliged to follow them. But don't let a daydream hold you back!


Answered 5 years ago

Hi.
Super cool that you're passionate about your idea.
Many good answers have already been given, so I'll be short to the point.These are first stages that you need to do to:
1. research your idea (how it will be done, costs) and the market (potential customers, competitors etc)
2. Share your idea with friends and get feedback (yes, I know that entrepreneurs are always scared that their idea will get stolen, in reality, this almost never happens). An important point for this stage is that you avoid the ugly baby syndrome (if you show someone the ugliest baby in the world and say: "this is my baby, what do you think?" they will of course say that it's the cutest baby ever" because they don't want to offend you). so don't tell them it's your idea, just say something like: "my friend has this idea he wants me to work on with him, I think it isn't such a good idea, what do you think?" - this way, they will feel more open to tell you the truth.
3. Validate your idea - see how in this Clarity answer: https://clarity.fm/questions/596/how-do-you-get-access-to-the-right-people-to-validate-an-idea
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs. I'd be happy to help you.
Good luck


Answered 6 months ago

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