You Have A Great Idea For A Product, So Now What?
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Most entrepreneurs have lots of ideas but few of them are able to successfully execute that one idea that makes all the difference. Yet, idea execution has always been the key to starting a successful business.
If you are fortunate to have found that killer idea, these are a few things you can do.
Validate your idea. This is probably the most important step of launching a business. You will be spending years working on this idea or project. Before you even think about how to take that idea and make a product out of it, think about its viability. How unique is your idea? Does it solve a real problem? Will your killer idea really take off as you expect? Before you get too excited and start investing time and resources into any idea, focus on finding out if there is a real need for it.
The way to do this is to share your concept with as many people as possible and request their feedback. And don't just ask friends and family, as they will most likely say your idea is amazing.
Instead, find people who will be honest with you and share the flaws of the idea.
Also consider creating a simple landing page with a company like LaunchRock and request for sign ups. If you receive a decent number of sign ups, you can move on to another step in the process of validation.
Do your homework. Find out if there is a real market for your product or service. How big is your target market? This is important to find out because even if you have a great idea, the market may just not be big enough. Research will help you know if it's worth it your time.
So find out if your idea will serve a market that is big enough with opportunity for growth. Don't underrate opportunity for growth or overestimate the market for your product. Every business thrives on growth.
It is important to realize that your market is a group of consumers who will potentially be interested in your product -- not the whole big pie you want to show investors. So don't be deceived and think everybody is a prospective buyer or user. Really drill down to your niche market.
Hire the absolute best people you can find. Don't comprise on your first hires. Focus on getting the right people who can cope with the fast pace of building a product from scratch -- successful businesses thrive because of the right people.
And don't be scared of hiring employees smarter than you, you want these people surrounding you. So don't just bring on board talent and skill but people with character who can build a great company culture.
This is an important note because people with no passion for what you want to do can easily slow you down and derail your vision. Don't just settle for anybody. The first few employees will create your startup culture. Look out for the right talent and skill coupled with drive, passion, persistence and the ability to solve problems. Things change rapidly in a startup, make sure your new hires are flexible to handle the dynamics of a new startup.
Get to market as soon as you can. When the moment arrives after researching, prototyping and testing, do not hesitate to launch and seek feedback. The biggest mistake you don't want to make is to wait for that moment when you have a perfect product before you launch. If you are convinced about your idea and have taken all the necessary steps to prove that there is a real need for it, launch it and iterate.
Keep in mind a functional product is what you need to go to market, not a perfect one. Most startups are still learning and improving based on how customers interact and use their products. What you need is user feedback. Your customers can help you shape your product as you grow, so take the opportunity to learn from them. The faster you can resolve your product issues through user feedback, the better your product can be to serve a bigger audience.