Got an idea for a start-up? 8 questions you should ask yourself first

Years ago, if someone found out you were a tech guy, you were hit with questions about windows, printers, and the internet. Now, it’s the grand start-up idea that’s going to change the world. The hopeful usually come armed with anything from a grain of and idea, to fully fledged business plans.  Always with a bucket load of passion, but sometimes with some pretty misguided expectations.

​​I’d dare say software and app developers probably bare the brunt of it more than anyone.  They are after all typically the first port of call if you want to get your software app off the ground.  Of the app developer businesses we keep in contact with, most will now not talk to you unless your idea truly stacks up or you come bearing a big bucket load of the folding stuff.

​So you have a grand idea, how do you turn it into reality? Does your idea even have the legs?  Well before you go and talk to anyone, perhaps these 8 questions will help save you a lot of leg work:

​1) Is it the whole problem? 

​What is the entire scope of the problem?  where does your solution fit in that picture? Does it cover all of the problem, or just some part?

​2) Is it the real problem?

​If it’s not the whole problem, is it the real problem?  Or more holistically, is there a more fundamental problem you’re trying to, or need to solve?

​3) Who else has this problem?

​No doubt you’ve looked at how the problem affects at least someone.  Who else has this problem? There are bound to be others and the more of them there are, the better it will be for you!

​4) What is their ecosystem?

​Once you’ve found everyone with the problem, what is their ecosystem?  who helps them manage or solve the problem currently?

5) Is your solution the simplest, most effective?

​Within that ecosystem, is your solution the simplest and most effective?  If not, what reason will that ecosystem have to choose you?

​6) Who stands to benefit? 

​Looking at that ecosystem again, who stands to benefit from your solution and by how much?  who’s going to lose?  Will more people benefit than not?  What new players could be created?

​7) What are you willing to give up?

​And last but not least, what are you willing to give up to get your idea over the line? Perhaps more importantly, beyond your own savings, who of the 3 F’s (Friends, Family and Fools) can you source funds from to get the ball rolling?

​8) Now assume you are wrong.  Is there a plan B?

This should be straight forward.  If any or all of your answers above were to be wrong, how would that affect things? does your idea still stack up?

​How did you go?  Perhaps to make life easy, give yourself a score of 1 to 5 for each question.  If you think you have a strong answer, it’s a 5. If not, it’s a 1, or at least somewhere in between.  Now how does it look?

​It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect score or not.  In fact for many reasons, it’s better that you don’t.  What it might mean though is some or all of your plan might need a little work.  Especially if you’re looking for someone else to give it more than just a cursory look.

​Of course, if you think you’re ready for that next step (or just want to make sure you are) then we’d always be happy to help.