Everyone has had a business idea at some point in their life. Ever since we all watched “The Social Network”, the film loosely based on the life of Mark Zuckerberg and the rise of Facebook, we all (including me) have this picture in our head of creating the “next big thing” whether it’s a website, an app, a service, etc. What makes things worse is that there are a ton of swindlers out there posing in front of swimming pools talking about how they started an internet business, and if you pay for their 3 week course you can be balling like them. Success doesn’t come in 3 weeks so please don’t buy into these guys. I’ll fully support anyone that has a business idea, that’s the reason I do what I do, but in my experience, there are several different factors that cause them to fail. Here are my observations.
What if your idea isn’t that great
You have to think about this quite deeply as it can be subjective. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some terrible ideas out there. Just because you’ve thought of a niche market doesn’t mean that they need what you’re offering them. A lot of people jump on the bandwagon without doing the market research first. Something as simple as asking people in person several questions can go a long way in refining your idea.
You’re trying to create instead of innovate
Nothing is new under the sun. Facebook wasn’t the first social network, Uber wasn’t the first minicab app, and Angry Birds wasn’t the first game that you had to catapult an object to the other side of the screen to destroy a structure built by the enemy (don’t believe me? Check this out). A lot of us have it wrong because we want to create something that’s entirely new, but it’s your chances of success are much higher if you choose to innovate. Uber and Facebook are successful thanks to their constant innovation; making use of what already exists and building on top of it.
You’re starting with the solution before discovering the problem
You don’t start a race at the finish line. I’ve sat down with a lot of people that want to start a company, but they haven’t thought through what they are trying to achieve. Before you decide the outcome, ask yourself, ‘What problem do I want to solve?’ This will have you thinking more realistically about what you want to do, and for all you know you might change your mind and solve the problem in an entirely different way.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Take it slow (#JohnLegend). Don’t be in such a hurry to get your product or service out there and miss out on the journey that will help you build something that lasts. Of course, be efficient with your time, but that doesn’t mean you should cut corners and rush. It’s a “Tortoise and the Hare” thing. Slow and steady wins in the end, and if your idea is so special it deserves more time developing it. However, at the same time, some of us take so long developing a product that we don’t release it in the end. I’m not saying it must be perfect, but it’s got to be usable. And so what if someone else releases the idea before you? Maybe theirs is premature, and all it means is that you can try it out and make yours better!
At the end of the day, ideas are trash
You read that right! I could get a group of men and women together and do a session in problem-solving (I actually do this for groups so if you’re interested, hit me up), and we could come up with some really innovative ways to solve a problem. But will we implement these solutions? Most likely, no. Ideas are just ideas in the end and they count for nothing if the delivery isn’t right. Our favourite services aren’t exactly new ideas, but the brilliant execution makes us wonder what we were doing without them in the first place.