How to find and validate the right idea to start my company?

Now you have made up your mind: You want to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure! As with any big adventure, better be well prepared. If you are not sure where to start from, here are five essential steps to take no chances.

Step 1: Ask yourself the right questions

Before starting off, a small introspection session is imperative. You need to ask yourself the right questions and answer them as honestly as possible. The purpose is to know whether you are ready for such an adventure.

Ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice in order to launch your own start-up. How much time and money do you want to invest in your project? Some coaches recommend that you start by setting a deadline with specific objectives to be met by then. The idea is to minimize losses by deciding, before embarking on the project, when to stop. For instance, you can say to yourself: “I will give myself 6 months and that amount of savings. If by this deadline, I have not accomplished “x”, “y” “z”, I will move on to something else.”

Indeed, not succeeding is very normal: the biggest inventions sprang from repeated attempts and failures. Being intent on embracing an entrepreneurial adventure goes hand in hand with a specific mindset: being ready to fail (provided you have the possibility and means) and not being scared of it, and being fully dedicated to this time-bound adventure!

Step 2: Find the idea: identify a problem to solve!

Very often, the best ideas are born spontaneously, as a response to a problem that you have encountered in your life or that people around you are struggling with. To find the right idea, you often need to identify a problem which really annoys you. Be curious, open, and pay attention to what is going on in your daily life and around you. With every problem comes a possibility for creating a solution and thus, a start-up. Look into the problems that seem the most serious to you, those that arouse the biggest passion and motivation in you. Choose a problem likely to be solved thanks to your field of expertise. In other words, identify a need and rack your brains to find a solution!

Step 3: Find one or more partners in crime!

Do not set off on this journey alone! Surround yourself with people who inspire you, complete you and share your passion to solve the problem that was identified and all the incidents that might come up. The ideal thing would be to find a co-founder who is smarter than you and partners who enjoy skills that you lack in order to form a dream team. (Read our article below on how to find your dream co-founder(s)).

Step 4: Take the time to think about an innovative solution

After identifying the problem and forming the dream team, take the necessary time to gather information on the topic.

Why does this problem exist? Who are the concerned actors? Who suffers from this problem? Why is it that important to solve it? What are the existing solutions to this problem? Why aren’t they sufficient? How can you find an innovative way to improve existing solutions?

Being personally confronted with and suffering from a problem will often cause ideas to burgeon. Don’t think about the solution by staying home. The solution is somewhere out there, with people who are grappling with this particular problem, and with the concerned actors. Go out, ask questions to potential consumers, to partners… Then, organize brainstorming sessions with your partners and jot down all of your ideas, even and – above all – the crazier ones. Give free rein to your imagination and come back a few days later with one of these solutions to test.

Step 5: To validate your idea, you should test it!

You have finally found the revolutionary idea? Your work is only starting! It is now that you are getting down to business. Indeed, what matters most is execution. To this end, be open minded, test your idea on the ground with potential consumers, pay attention to their feedback, improve your product in light of their opinion, then test it again and so on until it is good enough to start meeting the consumer’s problem, even if it is not perfect (this is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) concept). Bear in mind that your first idea of a solution might not be the final one and that your solution will never be perfect, but in constant improvement. This is perfectly normal. Good luck!

Sources: Naila Saba, Project Manager, Nawaya Network and coach, Labneh&Facts

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