With the ever increasing focus on entrepreneurs, startups and reality TV shows trying to find the ‘next big thing’, it’s worth asking what it actually takes to build a viable business.
Many people have a romantic view of starting and running their own company but it’s important to remember that building a successful new venture isn’t just about having a killer idea but it actually all comes down to the execution.
Many budding ‘entrepreneurs’ believe that all they need to do is come up with the idea for the next Facebook, Pinterest or Whatsapp and it will be an instant success. Unfortunately, in reality over night successes normally take years and only take off after a huge amount of effort and commitment from all concerned.
Ideas on their own are pretty much worthless. That is why when you’re worried about your next door neighbour stealing your best ideas, go and tell them your next best 10 ideas, and see how quickly they become instant hits… they probably won’t.
If you’ve been involved in building a business from scratch you’ll know that success is rarely about the breakthrough idea. You need to take that idea and create a viable business plan around it, demonstrate to potential investors that it can scale and be monetised, create a minimum viable product (MVP) or prototype and start testing with real life users. Then keep testing and refining until you have developed something unique and of real value.
It will take time and you may find that your original killer idea has morphed into something completely different, but that’s ok as long as you’re guided by your customers. That’s what happened at Flubit, my ‘incredible, brilliant, ground breaking idea’ that I sat in my room and planned, ended up not working at all. However, we found one small, yet highly significant part of the idea that was working – so we built that out instead. You need to create something that is unique and better, it needs to solve a specific problem and it needs to be something that people love to use.
The key thing is not to get too emotionally attached to your original concept and become protective. Take advice, actively seek out constructive feedback and keep iterating and improving until you have a world class proposition. This is very important as the ‘big idea’ is unlikely to be as good as you think it is from the outset (this applies to all of us) – but it could well be with the right input.
There are lots of business ideas out there, and some really great ones, but the reality is that only a fraction of them will be a success. Not because they weren’t good ideas but because they weren’t executed effectively.