The final five checks to complete the due diligence on the idea before spending your life savings (and others) to roll out a solution:
- Do you have intellectual property to defend against competitors? Maybe the solution hasn’t yet been commercialized, but a patent has been submitted by someone else, putting your idea in jeopardy. Another series of searches on Google Patents and the US Patent Office site and Free Patents Online is in order at this point. Of course, you could pay a Patent Attorney a few thousand dollars to do the same search.
- Can you build a motivated and qualified team? It’s hard to build a business as the Lone Ranger. You need to assemble, motivate, and manage a team – development, sales, partners, and customers. Startups are tough on even the most dedicated and passionate founders – others will likely fail, and definitely be unhappy. Headstrong introverts probably won’t don well here.
- Have you looked realistically at the costs? Passionate entrepreneurs tend to develop rose-colored plans, over-estimating early sales and underestimating costs. To convert your passion into tangible business value, write a business plan that makes financial sense for the needs and future goals of your startup, and have it checked by an expert.
- Do you have stamina and skills? As a startup founder, remember that the buck always stops with you. There is no room for the blame game. Contributing factors aside, most startups fail because they just give up, not because they run out of money or time. Focus on building personal staying power, maximize learning, and improvements. If you have had problems with several companies, you may be part of the problem.
- Going “from” rather than “to”? If you are desperate to get out of an existing role, you may just be lurching into entrepreneurship, only to find it more stressful and unsatisfying. People who feel competent but unsatisfied or bored in their current job make better entrepreneurs than people who feel overworked, under-appreciated, and over-stressed. Remember, the grass always look greener on the other side of the fence. I tell new entrepreneurs not to quit their “day job” until they have real revenue from the startup.
I’m sure that many of you could add additional “idea due diligence” items, from bitter experience, that I’ve neglected to mention. By the way, if team experience and resources are the only limitation, it is better to give your idea away to a qualified group, rather than selfishly sit on it, or run it and yourself into the ground trying to make it work. Nobody wins with that approach.
In case you are wondering what happened to this recipe idea, try the search I suggested and you will find a dozen sites that already claim this capability. Needless to say, after I did the work, my friend decided to quit talking about this one.
But he will be back, he always is, and one of these days he may find an idea that someone can make a reality. It won’t happen for him, because just talking about an idea doesn’t start any business. Am I the only one with a friend like that?
Article by; Martin Zwilling