So you think you have a million dollar idea?
Well, congratulations – but before you go rushing out to quit your day job, consider that it takes more than an idea to have a successful startup!
Just ask any one of the 14,000 entries to HubSpot’s Summer StartUp Contest – ideas are a dime a dozen, but will that idea turn into something super successful?
Even a fantastic startup idea might not succeed – why? It’s not because the founding idea is out of touch with reality or that the concept doesn’t hold real-world value. In fact, the spark of an idea is inherent upon which everything else turns, but the idea itself will not make or break a startup.
A lot of the best startup ideas have not succeeded because of the intangibles involved in business. The intangibles are like an interconnected web of factors that can help a startup jump from the idea stage to the problem-solving stage.
Do You Have What It Takes?
So, does your startup idea have what it takes to break through to the next level? Here are a few essential components to consider that should make it clear whether your idea will be able to stand on its own.
While many of the conventions around day-to-day operations may be changing in the digital landscape, some of the core principles remain the same. Developing a growth strategy is one of these core principles that will never disappear.
Rob Biederman provides some feedback on how to write a growth strategy for your business, and it highlights all of the key areas. Does your company have a reasonable mid- to long-term strategy that allows for slow and consistent growth? If your MO is to scale up as fast as possible, then it’s probably too ambitious. Keep a close eye on the market and develop a growth plan with a conservative reflection on the consumer habits in your niche.
Finding the money to start is essential to your success. There are literally so many ways to go about fundraising for your business that it’s hard to give a prescriptive assessment of the “right” way to do it. The most successful startups look everywhere for support, from family and friends to flexible bank loans (like a bridge loan), crowdfunding campaigns, and venture capitalists.
There are also a number of business funds and contests available to eager entrepreneurs with the right idea. For example, HubSpot is currently hosting a Summer Startup Contest with the chance to win $1000,000 in venture support. Contests like this are not only great for funding, but it can also be a fantastic marketing tool for your idea because it puts you in front of industry leaders that might be able to provide that little piece of advice you need to succeed.
Timing is Everything
There is always a good time and a bad time to launch a startup.
Brendan Watts on Fast Company recommends “if market research shows that a pain-point exists that your product can solve, and discussions are already bubbling up online around that problem, then now might be the best time to pounce.”
Waiting for this kind of opportunity is not a reliable option as you can never be sure exactly when an opportunity will strike, but a company should be conscious of what is happening in their space. A startup that does not take timing into account risks putting themselves in a hole and forcing themselves to climb out of it.
Defining a Vision
Founders are instrumental in the future success of the company. Do you have a clearly defined vision for your company? Is it easy to convey to your co-workers and customers? A vision is essentially a statement of purpose. It is one of the intangible qualities of a business that crystallize why a company is important and what all the employees are working towards. Without this intellectual mesh, a company is doomed to aimless wandering and eventually puttering out.
Finding the Team
A startup will never be a one-person team. Success is built by finding a team of passionate, talented and ambitious employees that share the vision of the company and carry it with them everyday.
If you want to be a startup founder than you need more than an idea. You need to be dedicated and forward-thinking. You need to be ready for long-days and long-term goals. Startups fail because founders believe that it’s easy to start your own business and that their idea is just a big payday waiting to be grabbed – you need to earn it!
If your idea of being a business owner is spending every day on the beach, then you might want to reconsider before taking a big risk.