You know you’ve had at least one, maybe twenty, those ideas that could change the world for thousands of people, and subsequently put a ton of cash in your pocket.
Every time I hear of a new ‘disruptive’ tech start-up earning a $20m valuation out of the box I’m like “Are You SERIOUS?” I thought of that 5 years ago!” Okay, so maybe that’s not always the case, but you know the feeling. We get these great ideas, and we hold on to them, chat about them with our friends, etc. We literally have a cache of millions of dollars in our cerebral storage that we’re hobby-ing.
A couple weeks ago, a good friend of mine, whom I love chatting about ideas with, shared with me his GoDaddy account with me. It was filled with dozens of domains for business concepts and ideas he’s had over the last few years. While he works for a dynamic start-up, he hasn’t had the opportunity to develop any of his brilliance. (My personal favourite idea of his was a solar powered lawn mower that operated similar to an iRobot Roomba vacuum, which was already invented by Husqvarna. While the idea was already out there, his originally sourced concept was incredible).
Having attended and competed in several ‘business concept’ competitions at the University of Toronto, and having the opportunity to consult and work with some incredible start-ups, I’ve discovered a few key points that have helped me figure out what I need to do with my good ideas, and hopefully they’ll help you figure out what to do with yours!
1. A Good Idea Solves a Problem
It can even be a trivial problem, but make sure your idea solves a ‘problem’ or else you will run out of audience very quickly.
You took the train downtown but need a car to get to x asap and there are no cabs on your street; Uber, Zip, RideShare, Lyft…
You take frequent business trips and fly United who constantly lose your luggage (or you just hate packing): hello DUFL (love this one)
You want to unwind on your commute home and just want to mind numb a bit while crushing candies…
It doesn’t matter what problem is solves, just solve something, for someone.
(Also referred to as ‘pain points’ – thanks Dr. Chattoe, I was listening)
2. Good Ideas Need a TEAM
Unless you’re a developer, marketing genius, networking professional, patent lawyer, accountant and a few other roles, your idea is going to need a team to make millions. Working in teams can be great fun and stressful. The success of any start-up genuinely starts with the idea, but it’s the team that makes it happen. In a team environment, concepts have the opportunity to grow as each person adds their skills, expertise and ideas to the base concept creating something even more amazing than you initially envisioned. However, a development team can cost upwards of $1million / year, so building the team can be a stumbling block or a great reason to pitch for funding.
3. Good Ideas Need to Be Shared
Sharing your idea can give it the greatest possibility of it becoming a reality. If you think you may have the capacity to develop your idea, this could be sharing it with a group of colleagues who may have the connections to make it happen, or sharing your idea with a development group like MarsDD or other incubator. Or, you could just give your idea away to see if someone can make your idea a reality (yikes!).
Being honest – this is one I’m jumping into for the first time today. I’ve been sitting on what I feel is my best idea to date for almost a year. It earned an “A” in my Technological Entrepreneurship class and a $19m hypothetical valuation at a recent business competition from a TED speaker, however I don’t have the team or capacity right now to develop it. So this afternoon I reached out to a local start-up CEO in the field who has the potential to make it a reality as an extension of their current business and am excited to hear their feedback.
4. Keep Creating Good Ideas
Now that you’ve either built a team for your idea, or shared it with someone who can, it’s time to double down on that idea by either thinking of new iteration for your concept, or develop a new creative idea with the motivation that you just gave away a million dollars. If creativity breeds creativity, don’t get stuck on an ‘old’ idea, keep pushing forward for the billion dollar concept.
If you hold on to your ideas; I’d love to hear your plans on ‘getting them out!’ Of if you want to be bold and share an idea in the comments section you haven’t shared out loud before… maybe you can start building your team right here!