Ideas are buzzing and start-ups are abounding – India today has over 4200 startups. Consider this significant statistic – the year 2015 saw $9 billion infused into startups, which is the same as what was invested during the entire period between 2010-2014. Clearly, India is riding high on startup fever and the ball has been set rolling. We will see many dramas, bloodbaths, tragedies, flops and happy endings every year. If you think you have a great idea that you want to take to market, do consider these points before you take the plunge – it can save you some tense moments. As Guy Kawasaki, the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist rightly said, “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.”
1. Validate the idea – while the likes of Steve Jobs defined the marked need, we should gracefully accept that not all of us can deliver that kind of a performance. Instead a budding entrepreneur should read up, talk to experts and not just rely on your close circle of contacts. You may end up hearing what you want to hear and not get an honest view. You should try and talk to potential users and unbiased contacts to assess if there is a genuine demand.
2. Figure out the key proposition – Be clear about what value your idea will deliver and to whom. Will you be able to give a crisp explanation of your idea to both a business stakeholder as well as a layperson? Talking to more and more people will help refine the message you need to convey. This will also help you figure out if your idea is making sense to your audience or if you need to articulate it in a different way.
3. Pin down the business model – What is your business model going to look like? How will you monetize your idea? Do you need to rope in partners to execute this model? Draw up a business and financial plan and test out various scenarios. Also, don’t forget to state your expectations. What are your aspirations from this venture? Is it to do with money or is it about the satisfaction gained in delivering something of value or is it about fulfilling a gap in the market? Your answer to this question will determine how you run the business.
4. Be clear about your commitment to this venture - Entrepreneurship is not a part-time venture for sure. You have to give it your 100% and do whatever it takes to get it going. Borrowing a quote from Jedi Master Yoda that was just apt – “Do. Or do not. There is no try”. You have to be hands-on. It may also mean relinquishing some of the control to others. A successful leader is one who knows that he cannot be a jack-of-all-trades. Are you willing to take the help of experts and more experienced people to run the show and stick to what you are best at? You will need to make several difficult choices and stay true to them. All in all having an idea is great. However, do understand that to make the idea successful, a lot of thinking, planning, and hard work is required. Are you ready for it? If you are mentally prepared, it can surely be an exhilarating journey.
(This post was originally published in LinkedIn )