Anyone can have a great idea, but only a few can turn it into a successful business. We talked to Fred Cary, CEO of IdeaPros, about the steps you have to take before you jump into the adventure of making your idea a reality.
Before you get to the idea, you need to ask yourself, if you are up for the journey. Do you have entrepreneurial qualities and a positive attitude? Because there will be many dead ends and roadblocks. You have to be willing to get up and smile every morning, no matter how bad it was the day before. You need to know it will get better. If you don’t have that resilience and that never-blame-anyone attitude, you’re not going to make it.
“It doesn’t matter if the idea is good, great, bad or indifferent, what matters is the character of the person with the idea.” – Fred Cary
Companies like Google or Airbnb have taken a decade to become successful. Although it may look easy now, it is never easy. Arm yourself with patience, willpower, a little craziness, and be ready for anything.
Once you’re established, you have the character needed for the journey, go on and understand the marketplace. A lot of people have ideas they think are amazing. Usually, it is something that solves a problem they’ve had for a while. But you should ask yourself…
- Is there a market for your solution, and how big is it?
- A good idea in a tiny market is probably not worth pursuing.
- Is the market growing or is it dwindling?
- Are you trying to sell typewriters just before computers appear?
Understand the overall macro position of the market. It needs to be a good, big, and growing market so your idea can flourish.
“Every single marketplace that you go into is cyclical and has a life and death to it.” – Fred Cary
A Piece of The Market
So there is a market for your product, but can you get a significant piece of it? People tend to look at a hundred billion dollar marketplace and say: “If I get 1% of it, I would be making a billion dollars a year.” Well, it doesn’t work like that. Nobody gets 1%.
“If you are looking for 1% of a gigantic pie, you are going to get crushed.” – Fred Cary
Competing against big players is not sustainable. Maybe you will make a tiny dent for a few months, but then you are out of there.
Look at who your competitors are, how well armed they are, and how well they provide the services to their customers. There are big players with tons of money, staff, and the ability to grow that are not doing things right, so you have a chance to revolutionize that space.
The first thing you do when you get an idea is Google your competitors and their one-star reviews. If you can attract their customers with a better product or service, it is your chance to play. Information about your competitors is available. You can see what they are doing on Facebook ads, how much they are spending in advertising through tools like Semrush or Ahrefs, or quarterly reports if the company is public.
“If you don’t know who you’re playing against, you’re not going to know how to win.” – Fred Cary
Understand your customers’ needs and frustrations. Figure out how to address those frustrations. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much are they paying for the solution right now?
- How much would yours cost them?
- How are you going to get them to come and stay with your brand?
- What do you offer that will make them give up what they already have?
“If you don’t know how to reach your audience and convince them to buy your product, nobody’s going to buy it.” – Fred Cary
If you have a solution better than the existing one, but ten times more expensive, nobody will buy it. Make sure what you have is buildable and protectable and whether or not your customers are willing to pay that amount of money. Customer surveys come in handy for understanding that landscape.
Remember a not-so-great idea can become great if you open your mind, stay resilient, and ready to welcome change.
The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.