Have you ever had a mindblowing business idea? We bet you have. Almost everyone has been there at some point. In our line of work, we also encounter more or less interesting ideas and thoughts almost every day. They come out of nowhere and can disappear in much the same way. So how do you figure out which ones are viable? What makes the difference between success and failure? What pitfalls should you watch out for? And how do you go about creating a working product or service from scratch?
We know a little something about that, so we decided to share our knowledge with you in this ebook. We have every confidence that you will find inspiration here as well as answers to your questions about business ideas and their life cycle.
How do ideas originate? One's own experience or an unmet need and the effort to come up with a better solution to one's own problem is often the driving force. You probably will not find out right away whether the idea is functional and has business potential. However, the following steps can help you a lot.
Zoom in on your idea
“The first thing we recommend doing is using Lean Canvas. People often immediately focus on execution as opposed to solving a problem.” Jan Minárik
You have an idea. Now what? Examine it thoroughly. Divide it into smaller parts, look at them closely and from different angles. Focus on the cause of the problem, not just dealing with its consequences. A number of tools can help to quickly and easily guide you to the questions you need to answer before you move forward. For example, Value Proposition Canvas and the follow-up Lean Canvas.
We like Lean Canvas because it is an easy-to-understand guide that walks you through the next steps, such as defining the problem users have, its possible solution (your product or service) or key metrics. This detailed (but not complex) business plan will help you organize your ideas, possibilities and goals.
The classic SWOT analysis is another important tool. This helps you analyze the strengths and weaknesses of you and your team. You figure out what skills are key to a successful implementation of your idea, what you can do yourself and what you need help with. Thanks to this analysis, you can put together a capable and effective team.
Problem or solution
“Today, many people are fixated on the execution of solutions. But they are often not able to name the problem these solutions are meant to solve. Because, in fact, they are not solving any problem. They are consumed by this vision of executing an idea in a specific way. But that's not how you create products. It is necessary to think about the fact that users (your target group) have a problem that they need to deal with. Alternatively, there are other solutions on the market, but they are not suitable for various reasons.” Jan Minárik
Many people come up with a solution straight away without verifying that there even is a problem that requires their solution. Which is often the reason for failure. Therefore, it's a good idea to start by defining the problem you want your business to tackle. You don't have to come up with a specific solution right away.
“Case in point: one experienced client came to us with a problem and wanted us to come up with a solution. The product was created gradually and validated regularly--a total of 28 versions were created before we succeeded.” Jan Minárik
No questions asked = a ticket to hell
“You need to be getting feedback from clients from the very beginning. The product team’s mission is to find a way to get it as quickly and cheaply as possible. The vision of the final product often limits our creativity in interacting with users in the beginning. We rarely realize that we can add value for users even without developing a complex system. Paper and pencil or an Excel spreadsheet will do just fine. We can't do it for hundreds of users, but 5-10 users is quite often doable. Actual user interaction with your idea is a great source of information for your product team. At the same time, you can easily compare the expected value with reality. That's why we--together with our clients--always look for ways to get feedback on their idea without having to start developing right away.” Martin Srb
The main takeaways
- Know what problem your idea solves and what it offers to the users.
- Lean Canvas can help with this. You will be able to organize your thoughts and plan the next steps.
- Look before you leap. Leave the execution for later. Organize your ideas and thoughts first.
Did you enjoy the preview of our upcoming ebook on product development?
Don’t miss this practical guide through all four stages of development (shape vision & ideas, validation, build, scale) based on our own experience. Give us your email address, and we will let you know as soon as it is ready.