From time to time a friend or colleague of a friend will ask me, “how did I get started with a previous project or mobile app?”. It’s simple really, I had an idea and started pursuing it, not to say that any of them launched or turned out the way that I wanted to them, but I did something about it.
So first off, if this is your first idea that you are deciding to move forward with or you’re a successful entrepreneur, I am happy to connect and collaborate with anyone. So let’s connect! For those reading on, it’s for everyone but primarily targeted for those getting started for the first time.
So let’s get to it.
You have an idea or business you want to start! Great, you are working towards creating something for yourself. Don’t give yourself a pat on the back just yet, the next part is “just” the beginning. Some say ideas are a dime a dozen, well that’s just a saying, they are really like a 1/10 of a penny a dozen. An idea without action is simply an idea that collects brain dust. So get out there and do something about it.
My Initial Disclaimer – “Solve a Problem”
Whether it’s a simple personal problem, something local in town, or even on a global scale, SOLVE A PROBLEM OR NEED! Too many times I see or hear about some new business that is “brand new” or “innovative” but really it’s been done before and someone slaps a different name on it. In my past, I have attempted to create a blend of several apps into one and thought the user process would be easier but ran into barriers to entry as the differentiation factors were not strong enough to convert people over to a new app.
If it’s a personal problem, odds are there are many others that have that exact same problem, so do your research. If it’s something local in town, odds are there is another town somewhere that has the same or similar issue. So again, do your research and solve a problem. If you are aiming to create something for fun, it is possible that it goes viral and becomes successful, but it’s more likely to never make it to the mainstream.
Do not Reinvent the Wheel
Obviously, competition is healthy and is what makes the global markets great. However, if your idea directly resembles another product and there is NO REAL competitive difference or experience, take a step back and think about what you are doing. Of course, we all think that we can do it better, so maybe you can, but think about the barriers to entry, time, market change, timing, cost and so on. I am not saying it can’t be done, a well-known example, “MySpace & Facebook” I think that makes my point. Facebook offered enough of a competitive and user difference to be seen as a new platform that offered a clean and new user experience.
So Here We Are – Getting Started
Like an idea in your head, it requires a plan, research, and validation. If you simply go online and search for “free business plan templates” there are many to select from. What I have found during my first venture is that when writing your first business plan is that it will be ever changing. Be prepared to rewrite this plan several times over. The more that you rewrite it the better you will understand it.
Next, research, research, research, research and then some more research. Understand the market you are going into, this will greatly help when networking and speaking to possible co-founders or investors. The big one – VALIDATION. Moving into development and spendings thousands of dollars and hours creating something that you don’t even know if the market wants or might possibly accept is extremely risky and highly advised against. This part of the journey will take time.
At this stage, you need to think smart and have tough skin. You want unbiased feedback about your idea so asking friends and family is great but will not produce accurate results that you really need. They will tell you what you want to hear because they care about you. This being the case, I still encourage you to pitch and sell it to your friends and family, it never hurts to get some positive vibes. However, it is important to remember that the real world can and will have a variety of feedback. Below is a quick Instagram post from Daymond John briefly explaining this, I would suggest giving it a look.
Now that you have some of that entrepreneurial excitement flowing through your blood, go out into the world, network and pitch your idea to random people that have similar interests and even those that don’t. Obviously, this is your idea so you think it’s amazing, but some people might hate it and others might love it, but take their feedback with a grain of salt. Consider them the end-user who you are aiming to one day have on your platform, or wearing your brand. Think about how you could, later on, sell them and have them become a client. Their advice while amazing or harsh at times will help guide in later steps.
YES!!! …. tell the world about your idea, odds are, they will NOT steal it
This is another one of those things that I hear/read far too often, “I don’t want to tell people about my idea because they might steal it”. Let me be clear, if your idea was so easy that someone could steal it and have it up in a day, they would. Other people have their own jobs, obstacles, and businesses in life. Odds are, it’s going to take some time, money and strategic workings to create whatever it is that you are working towards. This said, do not be afraid to share your idea when attempting to get validation, collaborate, network and so on. Obviously, being a little reserved is normal but just use common sense when sharing. For example, maybe provide the core details of the business and maybe add the “butter” in there, but not the “bread”.
Everything is about timing! I’m not saying that once you’re ready to launch, hold off. If the markets are trending in another direction, create a marketing strategy that somehow relates to the market and release with those tactics in place.
Off to the Races
You’ve launched your business, FANTASTIC!
Every day, week, month and year are critical, but the first 6-18 months really set the tone, so kick it into high gear and get it done!
As I said, this post was really for those just getting started but I hope that everyone enjoyed the read. While this post did not provide exact steps and details for a specific industry or topic, I am happy to connect with you if you have any questions. This post was really to let you know that starting a business and being an aspiring entrepreneur is great, but the road is not an easy one. However, this should not deter you from taking the journey, because the journey is what being an entrepreneur is all about. The journey is what makes the entrepreneur and allows you to grow as a person.
More to Come!