Home Topics Entrepreneurship How do you know you have the right starting idea?

How do you know you have the right starting idea?

Studies show that the more innovative your startup idea, the higher the probability of failure. If … [+] When developing an innovative solution, it is important that you invest your resources in the right idea. Here’s how.


It’s an empirical fact that most startups fail. The more innovative your startup idea, the higher the chance of failure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, two in ten new businesses fail in their first year of operation and six in ten do not reach their tenth anniversary. However, if you only count innovative startups, the number of failed new businesses rises to a staggering 11 out of 12, according to the Startup Genome project.

This statistic makes it clear that it is imperative to find out if you have the right starting idea before fully investing yourself and your resources in order to minimize the chance of wasting your time and effort on something that is just starting out doomed is the beginning.

The problem is, if your plan is to do something really new and untested, no expert in the world can tell you whether it will work or not. Hence, it’s up to you to get the job done and validate your idea as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The so-called validation experiments are so important for early-stage startups that they are becoming the industry standard. Few modern startup investors would pay attention to your app ideas unless you have empirical evidence that you are headed in the right direction toward product market customization.

Your goal is simple: you can determine whether the problem you have solved actually exists and whether the solution you have planned is feasible. And the most compelling evidence of both is the currency exchange – the revenue.

The key is to do this with the least amount of resources, effort, and time possible. Typically, you need to create a testable prototype and try to generate sales. However, even a functional prototype for an innovative idea can be quite costly, and there is a lot you can do to validate your starting idea before writing a single line of code. Follow these four steps.

  • The first step is to define and present your offer. You can create a landing page or presentation if you want to sell in person.
  • Step two is to find your MVS – your minimally viable segment. The people who have the exact problem you want to solve and who can generally be reached in a similar way. You need to be able to sell the same solution to a large enough market segment. Customizing your solution to meet each client’s needs is not scalable – you are a startup, not a consulting firm, and startups need to be scalable.
  • The third step is to do the pre-sale. Reach out to people on your MVS, post on social media groups or forums that those people are likely to be on, and even run small, targeted ad campaigns to gauge interest. If pre-booking isn’t possible at all, try collecting your prospect’s emails with the promise that you’ll contact them as soon as you have a working prototype. However, be aware that people are more likely to give you their emails than their money (especially if you speak to them in person).

If you’re selling in person, it might be a good idea to ask a few customer interview questions before attempting to sell your solution.

  • The final step is to interview your customers for feedback. If your results are not what you expected, depending on the feedback, repeat either your proposal or your MVS and repeat the entire process until you have enough evidence that your solution solves a problem customers need and happily pay for it.

During this process, be sure to question your assumptions. Don’t try to influence your customers too much – don’t push a solution without verifying the need. Instead, act more like a scientist trying to find out the truth by formulating and testing hypotheses.

Equally important – try not to get attached to your original idea. The goal of the experiment is to challenge it and turn it into something that better corresponds to reality.

Before committing to building your brand new innovative startup, review your idea by:

  1. Define your offer
  2. Define your minimally viable customer segment
  3. Carry out advance sales
  4. Collect feedback and rate your results


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