A common question I hear among aspiring entrepreneurs is “I have an idea! Now what?”. Below I’ll detail the 3 steps that are important in getting your idea from your head to useable product.
First write down your idea in a short paragraph and tuck it away somewhere. Done? Ok good. I have a sketchbook full of ideas that I jot down as they pop into my head. Over time your idea is going to morph and evolve and it’s good to have a baseline to see where your original started. Maybe you strayed too far from the original idea (which is usually the case) or the new idea is more focused and refined! (Awesome).
Second, talk about your idea to people. Choose people you know who will shoot you straight and give you honest feedback. (Don’t ask your mom about the idea; she thinks everything you do is the bee’s knees. Including that time you wanted to be a motorcycle racer because going fast is life!…love you Mom!). Read their reactions when you layout your idea. Are they confused? Do they really like it? Do they care about what you are saying? Reading someone’s body language many times will tell you more than what’s coming out of their mouth.
Third, and this is usually the biggest hang-up, get something tangible built. If you’re a developer, then this will only take some time investment to do and is the best scenario. If you don’t know how to code, then find someone who shares the same passion for your idea and strike up a deal or learn how to program yourself. There are many resources online, free and paid, that can teach you, all you need is the determination to do it. Hiring an outside firm to build your idea is going to cost quite a bit. Once you have the means to develop your idea then build the simplest version that makes it useful, test it out with people, and then iterate on the feedback. Repeat this part until you have a product that sells.
Ideas are a dime a dozen and chances are, your idea isn’t unique, but that’s ok! Execution matters most. I like Dereck Sivers view on this. He said:
“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.
AWFUL IDEA = -1
WEAK IDEA = 1
SO-SO IDEA = 5
GOOD IDEA = 10
GREAT IDEA = 15
BRILLIANT IDEA = 20
NO EXECUTION = $1
WEAK EXECUTION = $1000
SO-SO EXECUTION = $10,000
GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000
BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000
To make a business, you need to multiply the two.
The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.
The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.”
Remember that an idea only in your head is useless and talk is cheap.
P.S. I talk with my mom regularly about stuff I’m working on. She keeps me encouraged as only a mom can. Feel free to contact me on Twitter @noaheverettor by email firstname.lastname@example.org Noah Everett is the founder of Twitpic and recently launched his latest startup, Pingly.