How to get and test start up ideas

startup

Entrepreneurs are constantly searching for the big idea that is going to make them successful. There is a misconception that in order to start a business you initially need a great idea to start with. Rather than looking for ideas, you should be looking for problems and coming up with solutions. Stop brainstorming for weeks for an idea and start identifying problems that already exists. Brainstorming for solutions is so much more valuable and an efficient way to get a startup going. What is even more valuable is if you have a personal connection to this problem. Is this a problem that you, your family, your peers or even your community faces? Having this personal connection to the problem will be extremely advantageous to you. It will give you that drive and motivation that every entrepreneur needs to get a startup going and you’re more likely to offer a unique perspective. By having a personal connection, you will be able to identify if the solution you propose something that is somewhat viable.

Brainstorming

Brainstorming with friends is the perfect opportunity for you to start thinking about cofounders you might want to bring on. Finding people you can effectively trade and build ideas off is the perfect step to finding a cofounder. You will be able to identify how you work with them and if you get along well right away. Ideally, your cofounder should be someone you get along with and share the same values and goals. Brainstorming together will give you a taste of how you can work and build with them. Sharing ideas with friends is not just a good way to find cofounders but also an efficient way to find a problem, hear their thoughts, and get some validation.

Research

Once you have found a problem, try to think what kind of unique perspective you can bring to the table. It is helpful to research what other solutions exists and compare them to any ideas you might have had.  Identify the failures in the solutions that already exist by competitors. Evaluating what possible competitors are out there and determining how their solution can differ from yours can allow you to bring new ideas to the table that nobody else has done. How can you offer a unique perspective from the solutions that are already out there.

If a solution to your problem does not exist, then you should ask yourself why there is not already a solution. It might mean that your problem is not something that affects a big enough market meaning you will have to go back to brainstorming.  This is where having a personal connection can give you another advantage because it might help you look at the problem in a way that nobody else has seen it. What can you bring to the table that somebody else has not tried?

Don’t get Attached

It is important to remember the first solution you come up with or prototype you build is only the first step. Never become attached to your first idea as changes and adjustments are bound to be made, it’s part of the process. Never fall in love with the idea but fall in love with problem and the customers. Know that there is always room for improvement and do not treat your solution as the final product.

 

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About Katherine Korakakis

Katherine has spent most of her life working alongside start-ups in various verticals. For 10 years, she was responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, a Youth Secretariat program of the government of Quebec. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education. Katherine first developed her passion for building businesses when she co-founded Glambiton. She was instrumental in the development of the first National Entrepreneurship Day for the province of Quebec. Katherine has served on the Boards of numerous non-profit organizations and currently sits on PMEMTL Centre-Ouest and EPCA. She sits on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest. These entities are the decision making bodies with regards to business financing with the city of Montreal. She currently is Manager of Entrepreneurship for ProMontreal Entrepreneurs (PME), an early stage VC fund and entrepreneurship program that invests in multiple verticals. The fund has a social business model and has been around for 20 yrs.

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