Hopefully you read the previous post “Product Development: Creating A Winning Idea for YOUR Startup” and tried one of the following suggestions for coming up with your personal ‘Winning Startup Idea’.

Just as a reminder:

  1. Product Design New Application: Think of how one product or design can be re-deployed to solve other problems
  2. What If?: How could a great product or business be a ‘world class’ business? How does it need to change or improve?
  3. The Pissed Off Brainstorm: If only X did it this way….why couldn’t they just do Y?
  4. The mashup approach

Great!  Have you found that idea that makes sleep near impossible?

THE idea that is now starting to bloom and grow in your brain whether you want to think about it or not? 

If you are reading this and even now the idea is demanding attention, then maybe you’ve actually found your own Winning Startup Idea. 

Is that all there is too it?  Of course not. This is just the beginning but it is one of the most challenging elements…

The frank reality is that the idea you’ve just conceived is at the start of it’s life and I can promise you that as you move it forward, it will shift and change to the point where when it becomes ‘real’ you probably won’t even recognize it as the same idea. 

That’s OK.

Every winning startup idea grows up eventually when it hits the real world and spends some time with it’s initial customers. These initial steps are what this post is about  — Initial steps to take a fantastic and very personal winning startup idea and make it real and ready to be shared and experienced by it’s customers.

So here it is, your very own winning startup idea – what’s next?

At this stage, I normally take a look at myself and examine whether I’m passionate enough about the idea to really grab a hold of it with both hands and push it forward no matter what. 

Stop there – Its important you consider if you are SO passionate that you will make it live…No matter what!

Any obstacle, any person telling you you’re crazy, that you may as well not waste your time, that you should stick with the safe life…that it won’t or can’t happen – know that you’ll push through it all and nothing will stop you!

There are always people who will tell you 101 reasons why your idea will fail – some of them people that love you, and don’t want you to fail but perhaps they don’t want things to change, or to risk — some might whisper “Don’t do it – play safe” even as they see your eyes glow, like they haven’t in, perhaps years. 

But this is the time when you need to decide if this is going to be the idea that you’ll make a reality.

If you are only half hearted about it now then sooner or later you’ll run out of steam and waste all the time you’ve invested…You’ll have wasted your own time (forgivable) and other people’s time (unforgivable). 

So this is usually the point where you might decide to sleep on it. YAWN!

So morning comes, the cock crows inside your head and your idea smacks it upside the head and tells it to be quiet while it pounds your resistence into mush…

OK, so you e slept on it and the first thought that pops into your head when you wake up is your winning startup idea…if even while mentally sweeping out the cobwebs of sleep your brain starts to turn over the idea and look at it from different directions, then you are well and truly hooked. Sorry and congratulations – your life may never be the same.

As you mull it over you’ll start to see how it can be made better, how it could be not just a winning idea but Great Idea.  Yippee, this is one of those ideas – one of the one’s that even if you wanted to, you can’t push side.   That mental shot of near caffeine has happened again. Isn’t life great?

So next, write it idea down and I don’t worry if its rough…you’re not going to use this document to raise money…just as a tool to develop the idea and test it out.  As you write, the idea will spiral and burst into rainbowed fragments, it will expand and become bigger and better. After time disappears as you write – you’ll eventually have  it down on paper.

Now wait…. promise to give yourself 24 hours before coming back to it.

But you’ll probably cheat…you can’t help it, a few really interesting elements come to my mind an hour or two later so add them to the document in case so you don’t lose them.  OK.  That’s it. 24 hours. Right.  So next day read it through and see what other refinements or ideas come to mind. 

Yep, the idea still makes sense.

So how do you begin to make it come to life.

Answer: by working with other people.

So who do I know that has expertise relating to this type of business or perhaps know someone who does?  Let’s take the drive through whole food deli idea from the previous post.  Who do I know that has some business experience in restaurants?  Scratching my head the honest answer in my case is ‘no one’. 

Damn it I’m screwed! 

No – hold it – there’s that guy I know who know’s someone…and the ball begins to roll forward

You’ve run your winning startup idea by someone who understands the space and if you’re lucky, they’ve given you some more ideas, some contacts, told you about potential competitors and if there aren’t any, have probably told you you’re mad. 

Don’t sweat ‘mad’, so was Thomas Edison and Marconi in their early days. These are your early entrepreneurial days, take pride in mad…mad is better than bored and boring watching TV or surfing the internet. Sorry NBC!

If there was chemistry between you and the person who gave you your initial advice, consider cultivating that person as a mentor.  At least ask them if you can give them a call and follow up later. Be appreciative of their experience, let them know that they could be the key to your success – they actually might be. 

If they have helped you identified similar business models or competitors, make it your first business to know everything about them. What do they do, how do they do it, what do they charge and most important, what do their customers think of their product or service? See any chinks in their armor? If so great!  This tells you what you’ll need to do better to start pleasing your customers, making money and building your market.

But one person, a winning startup idea and a rough idea draft is not a business but it IS a great start – so don’t leave it there…

So what’s next?  Well you’re going to need some critical elements and no surprises what they are:

  • People
  • Money
  • Product
  • Initial Customers
  • Business infrastructure
  • Marketing plan / tools
  • …and on

But securing those particular elements is material for the next few posts…if you have thoughts, questions, comments or rude remarks about the above, let me know.

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