What is the recipe for a startup ?
Usually, friends + beer + chill out + have an idea (or many weird/crazy/smart… really?/very stupid/whatever ideas).
That is the cornerstone of a startup building process.
Think of something, have an idea, good or bad, and build on it.
Then, one question I usually face when meeting with very early stage startups is : is my idea good ?
One point here, if you are an entrepreneur do not even doubt your idea.
Grow it, work on it, build on it and … fail! Or succeed, of course. Whatever your vision of success might be.
When failure is the worst possible outcome then there is no way not to take a step forward.
That is the expression of entrepreneurship at its best.
Now, Europe still suffers from one old-fashion disease, some entrepreneurial black plague having not yet disappeared from these parts : Failure is still not regarded as an option.
Mind you, the examples of the Valley, the mentoring, the incubating, etc … have all helped make failure look better but the extra mile is still missing before people see failure not as failure but as experience gained and a road for success in the future.
That said, it brings me to my second answer to the good/bad idea question.
There is no bad idea (anymore).
Whatever seems like being useless, very stupid, not innovative at all, etc … may be the next rock-star on the market.
Just have a quick look out there.
Facebook basically was an online yearbook (or so).
Instagram looks like an online restaurant menu.
Farmville and most games on FB have the look of those played 20 years ago and do not match the current quality – nor action or story – of the current proper ones (would you play “I do garden” on your latest XBox or PS3 ?).
French “Adopteunmec.com”, yet another website for meeting one’s special half made a difference and strong start out of its look and marketing.
And so on … .
I was recently listening, with a smile, to a business school teacher (specialized in Entrepreneurship) speaking about answering the customers’ needs.
How many products/solutions/ideas out there do answer an actual need ?
Basic needs being food and shelter, those are answered .. or not for quite a number of people out there but that is another story.
Anyway. Back to the “needs” addressed by startups, they are more or less about comfort. Or are not actual needs in the end.
And, at worst, startups actually innovating (real innovation, not renovating existing bits) will be facing a non-existing market.
Novelty has to be discovered and understood.
In both case, the point is the same.
Whatever your idea, in most cases, there is not an actual “need” so the difference will be made by the product/service/etc .. provided and the “selling” of it.
What makes a product at the moment is not (only) its use, it is rather the buzz around it.
There is no need for your product … just create the need – or the feeling of need.
Your product is vulnerable or easily copied … make some noise and be the first out there.
You have just put some fresh paint on a copy of an existing product… Same as above. Just make more noise and/or create niche/focused needs.
One who is driven and convinced he/she is right, who can convince others and who does take risks is an entrepreneur.
That said, no idea can be wrong. The wrongdoing is only what you make of it.
Well then, beer anyone ?