Is your idea viable? Test the waters before jumping in
BY JACEK GREBSKI
This may be largely dependent on industry but, if you have the possibility to actually test out a concept before going into full scale business plan writing, development, quitting your job, do so.
Clearly if you hold in your possession intellectual property (IP) that will cost a few hundred grand to develop, then by all means start writing that business plan, get that executive summary ready, and go put a team together, but in the event your idea is something niche, has a specific market segment, is a B2C business then start testing the waters.
The best way to go about doing this, is to simply involve yourself in the community for your business subject online, whatever it is. We, for example at f3fundit.com, started looking around the startup scene here in Europe, and we noticed that there was nothing that really brought it together, there was an old expired EU initiative that was now defunct, there were tons of resources, but they were hard to find. Simply put we thought there may be a market for a site that brings all this info together, so we thought about putting up a database of all relevant information, a Wiki of sorts, but that’s just boring. At this time, I was working on another project, and started collecting information and writing basic articles for my own – now defunct – blog, that for lack of time, just never saw the light of day.
Put one and two together, and the next thing that we know we’ve got a blog, with some info on it in the resource area. Now time to see if this thing is going to even make an internet blip – seems it did, this site’s been growing, and best of all organically, no marketing, no adwords, so now we’re actually working on a few things behind the scenes that should bring added value to our visitors and likewise the European Entrepreneurship scene.
What I’m getting here at is, it costs us a total of what, a domain name, and hosting that we already had to see if there was any viability behind f3fundit.com. And there evidently seems there is – then I recall another project I was a part of back in 2002, no market research, no feelers sent out, the idea was launch now because someone’s going to do what we’re doing. The thing was rushed out the door, we ordered volumes of the stuff that just sat in inventory for god knows how long, and could have saved a lot of money and made a lot more money later by not learning form our mistakes and instead preparing ourselves adequately.
Remember, entrepreneurship is not just about the idea, it’s also about “smart” execution, an intelligent strategy where you, your team, and your product are ready to launch, and I mean truly ready to launch.
Remember the saying 1st impressions last a lifetime, the same more or less holds true for products. If you launch something which will be received as crap,your company will be seen as just that. Image may not be everything, but it’s a lot. Test the waters before you hop in, make sure that there exists a need before you start planning for the whole thing.