Let’s talk about ideas. A question on Quora that I saw today said, “Where can I post or probably sell ideas or some working ideas that I can’t develop on my own due to incapability to do so?” And that’s a good question.
To be honest, I know a lot of people who were more creative or you may say they are kind of dreamers they have lots of faith in some ideas they come up with and they say “Oh gosh if only I had the money and the team and you know the resource and the networks and I was going to make that idea a reality.”.
So, some of those people they want to kind of work as something that you know you may label it as idea generators you know people who come up with great ideas and just sell them and make a living out of that.
But in reality, ideas, you know don’t really matter that much and ideas aren’t worth as much as you can think unless you have the right procedures in place unless you have the right environment, the right context and the right ability to make consequences, pay for that idea and generate the right return on investment.
And I try to answer this question, so I came up with a list of the “10 main things that a startup needs in order to make an idea worth something.”.
10 Things A Startup Needs To Sell Ideas
So, the first line is obviously an idea.
- Solid Founding Team
The second one is a solid founding team. So, which means that without the founders without the pushing forces moving the idea forward there’s not really much value in that right. You need to have the people running the ship you know the captains of the ship really trusting the idea really having the skills the potential the networks everything else in order to make it a reality.
- Market validation
Number three is market validation. Market validation matters for various reasons. You need to know that your idea is worth something, you need to figure out who’s your ideal customer, your buyer persona if you want. You need to validate the fact that your solution is going to solve their problem and they are willing to pay for that.
And on top of that your price range is right on par with what kind of problem they have. What kind of problem they’re trying to solve and how your solution taps into that specific problem.
That’s extremely important because I’ve built some solutions that are niche solving a small problem to 10 customers across the entire universe. So, I can’t charge $50,000 a license right. It doesn’t make sense. And at the same time, it can sell $50 apiece. If I only have 10 plants in the world again it doesn’t. The math doesn’t really make sense. Or it may be a fix that just isn’t worth paying for. That’s also a problem.
- Marketing Channels
Number four is having some at least a couple of decent channels to sell or could be a great sales team, marketing, PR, branding of the founding team. Anything else that lets you scale. For example, you’ve seen some young unbeknownst startups launching on Mashable or Tech Crunch and making millions out of it.
But in order to get featured from Tech Crunch, you have to have a pretty outstanding idea or know journalists to be able to do PR properly or have a Founder that has consecutive successful stories or anything along those lines.
So, without that, this may not work. A sales team is the same thing. If you don’t have the right people you’re not really going to generate to close the deal that you’re looking forward to. Same goes with marketing and so on.
- Recruitment Strategy
Number five a strong recruitment strategy. If your business is successful, let’s assume that your idea is great. You have a product market fit and great founding team and so on. The next step what you need next really is being able to sell that idea and being able to make a lot of money out of it but you still need people whether they’re developers from the market or through sales support.
Anything else that needs to make the idea scalable in the long run. So unless you have a great recruitment strategy unless you know that you can get access to the people in your market to have the right onboarding plan for them, it’s not really going to work either.
- Close Investment Opportunities
Number six is the ability to close investment opportunities. Now I’m going to admit that this is not necessarily important. You know you can bootstrap a business. It happens all the time. One of the Founders may put some money up front you can use credit cards, loans from friends and family. Those are different ways to make an idea worth something without an investment plan.
But, in the long run for a fast paced growing startup you still need some form of an investment and you need to make sure that you have the right skills and opportunities and contacts in your networks who can make that happen.
- Robust Growth Plan
Number 7 is a robust growth plan which means that you can prevent crashes when your business starts growing and lots of businesses actually forget about it. I still remember when we were about five people or so, we had pretty much to Skype group channels for the entire communication in our company.
We had a project management system which was pretty much almost obsolete. We didn’t really pay that much attention to it. Now, you know about 30 people were added to that team. We can’t really live without a project management system, book tracking platform, a CRM and a lot of other tools, we work with HubSpot, we are an agency partner and we do marketing automation with HubSpot a bunch of other things.
We do have managers on site. We do have people leading canter initiatives. We do have QA team and so on because once you start scaling it doesn’t really mean adding more people just to the puzzle. You need more processes in place you need to management procedures in place you need some people who can stick around and so on. So, it gets a little bit trickier.
- Automating Process and Technology Efficiently
Number eight is automating process and technology efficiently. If you run a technological product, of course, the more, you automate the better it gets like for a former client of ours. He had 30 writers of full-time editorial process. And he said, “Well, I really wish there was a way to save some time.” So we did some R&D and so on.
Long story short we ended up building something that saved two hours a week of each of their writers which means 30 people by two hours a week saving 60 hours a week or a total of about 240 hours a month every single month just by building one specific feature. That sort of automation helps you scale, helps you work more efficiently more effectively and generate more in a short amount of time.
- Generating profit
Number nine is generating tons of profit. Of course, in the first 8 steps are a plus, you’re going to make a living and you’re going to grow steadily.
- The Exit
Number ten it’s usually the eggs. So, I’m just going to sum them up once again. So, you have the idea you have the founding team you have a product market fit which is, of course, important, some selling mechanism sales marketing, PR, a strong recruitment strategy, the ability to claw some investment, a robust growth plan, automating process and tech efficiently, tons of profit and exit. So that’s kind of the story of most successful startups that were led to an exit. Right.
So if you think about it and when we get to the initial point of just having an idea the idea itself isn’t really worth anything, but if you have a lot of ideas so if you’re one of those people with tons of ideas you basically have two different ways to make it happen the first one is learning a lot about all the other aspects so you have an idea along but this idea hasn’t been validated with the market. You don’t really think about the founding team about recruitment about sales growth or anything of that list.
It’s not really going to be worth anything right. It’s just not going to work. And that’s extremely important. So, the more you know about the rest of the process the easier it is to create and spark ideas that are helpful and that can fit specific business needs and that’s super important.
Best case scenario, of course, you can just start a startup spend a sh*tload of time on it and make sure it works at the end of the day. So that’s of course number one but number two there is one other hack that kind of like and we do have a couple of clients maybe three clients that actually do that.
They have their own company, but they also do consulting on the side and they do consulting for different non-profits, for private equity firms, for companies acquiring other businesses, for business development firms and so on.
Those types of businesses they need some form of evaluation over an existing company in order to decide whether they need to invest in it, whether they can acquire it and so on. Or you can work directly with clients so if you can analyze the business you still need some extra skills, but if you can analyze the business and find a missing opportunity that can help monetization, that can help bring in more profit and more money on the table.
You may work in that specific ideation department who may be on some form of growth hacker or whatever they call it nowadays and just focus on that idea thing.
But again, you need to understand the business, so you need to go to a company, you need to understand more about their business goals, business development plans who works on what, what are their main problems, how are they trying to compete with their again competitors and selling that.
You can say “Okay, I see a niche opportunity here. You need to do a b c, you need to hire or allocate to people full time on that idea for six to 12 months, invest in this, this, this.”
Those are the opportunities for networking for generating extra revenue or would ever be. So, this is going to be a golden opportunity but if you come with an idea along that’s not really worth as much as you may think, and that idea should be applicable to a specific context.
So you need to find a company that has the same compatible culture, the team the founding members, everything else in order to make that business success.
Just keep it in mind if you’re an idea person, either start a startup yourself. Keep learning a lot about the other stages of the process or try to join an organization that really needs your specific type.