Featured photo credit: Kristin Smith
When you have an idea for a new startup, it’s tempting to do some quick research on Google and then jump right into coding.
That’s a bad idea if you want to be sure you are on the right track. Launching a product requires a lot of effort, and it can be difficult to determine whether your idea is workable.
By following the steps below, you can greatly improve the odds of success when deciding what you should and shouldn’t pursue.
First, ask yourself these questions
Before building out any business idea, consider the following questions as you evaluate your startup idea:
These questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to conducting market research for your business idea.
But if you can’t answer those fundamental questions early on, it’s a sign that your idea may not be worth pursuing.
Examine these sources of rock-solid intelligence
Postmortems and case studies
In any area of entrepreneurship, failure tends to be viewed as a rite of passage to running a successful business.
It’s true that many lessons are best learned firsthand, but by examining case studies and postmortems (analyses of failed projects), you can avoid reinventing the wheel and hitting the same roadblocks others faced. And conversely, case studies can provide a wealth of information on techniques that can help you succeed.
While a Google search will likely turn up many useful sources, you need to assess the credibility of each. Before believing everything in the reports, make sure you consider the following:
To learn more, read the rest of this article on Sitepoint
Building software for the web is different from many other fields because it’s possible to create a revolutionary product with nothing more than an idea, a computer and a bit of time.
You don’t need millions of dollars for real estate, permits, lawyers and other bottlenecks.
Just sit down, write your code and success will come.
Or so it seems…
As we’ve discussed previously, venture capital and entrepreneurship is a complex field where you aren’t the center of the universe.
One of the biggest traps that entrepreneurial software developers fall into is failing to factor in the opportunity costs of pursuing a misguided idea against their productive billable rate.
Put simply, if you are billing $100 an hour and you decide to spend 100 hours on a side project, you are potentially missing out on $10,000 of revenue.
The solution to this problem is simple.
Lean development teaches how to break your ideas into manageable chunks and validate each portion before moving forward with your project.
While Agile development methods have helped developers slash development times while improving quality, Lean development principles are much easier to embrace while still delivering significant benefits.
For those unfamiliar with the term, Lean principles are based on the idea that
“an imperfect something is better than a perfect nothing.”
By building a basic prototype of an idea, you can at least determine if there is a market for your product and how best to target it.
In the past, companies often went all-in on projects, spending millions of dollars to construct online stores and other ideas. While this approach made for great headlines, it ultimately led to the demise of many businesses.
Today, in an era of limited budgets, developers need to prioritize development such that they are only focusing on features which add immediate value. By focusing on constructing a “minimal viable product” (MVP), Lean principles help to cut down on uncertainty.
In Lean development, projects are built over multiple stages, and each stage is tested to ensure the project is headed in the right direction.
By only continuing with the project if there is demand for the product, you can improve your success rate while also simplifying the product development process.
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With the success of Mark Zuckerburg and many other entrepreneurs, forming a startup is no longer limited to college students looking to change the world. The technology is available today, if you have the right idea and are determined, you can build the next big thing.
Unfortunately, the journey from idea to marketable product is challenging. For a rookie entrepreneur building your network and knowing how to determine if someone is taking advantage of you are two of the toughest lessons for anyone to learn.
In light of the increased interest in entrepreneurship, many investors, businesses—and other relevant parties—have begun forming accelerators as a way to help aspiring entrepreneurs rapidly execute their ideas in sheltered environments. Although the concept is novel and in many cases entrepreneurs greatly benefit, accelerators aren’t for everyone.
In this guide, discover the evaluation process, and key considerations, to determine whether an accelerator is a good fit for your startup. If it is, I’ll also have some tips on how to increase your chances of getting accepted.
One of the hottest topics in the entrepreneurial space today are accelerators because they are associated with providing aspiring entrepreneurs with all the resources they need to get their projects going, without requiring the individual to build up their own networks over an extended period of time. The most common characteristics of accelerators are that they provide participants with: capital, mentors, a community of like minded peers, and much more. As the name implies, accelerators are intended to help entrepreneurs from day one ramp up their companies.
Accelerators are intended for startups to achieve rapid growth—with most sessions typically lasting either three or six months.
Read the rest of this guide at Envato Tuts Plus Business
Recently Fast Company posted a short blurb claiming to provide tell startups how they can validate their startup in one day. The solution – before you go out full force putting together a business and assembling your venture, pause and make sure you ask your potential customers for their opinion on your concept and figure out the weakest link of your idea a.k.a. “riskiest assumption.”
While this is good advice and is on the right track, I’d have to add that based on my experience working with startups, when I first hear a client’s idea, the question, “What value does your product bring to the market?” Does wonders in throwing even the most prepared entrepreneur off his game. Sadly, upon asking that question, the entrepreneur will usually be at a loss of words or will simply reply with a less than stellar assumption such as, “We allow this person to do [whatever] on their smartphone but no one else does,” or “Our social network doesn’t exist anywhere else.”
Well, when it comes to ventures such as those, usually it pays to ask “Why isn’t anyone in this space already?” Sometimes the answer is obvious, sometimes it isn’t – either way, “Well, we thought of this first!” Isn’t a valid answer in my book.
The accessibility of technology today is a double edged sword where people are often coding pointless apps and wasting hours of productive time on dreams that will never be achieved – all because they’re constantly flinging crap against the wall and seeing what sticks. Although I’ll only speak for the software sector because that is my specialty, there is an epidemic today where people code first and ask questions later.
Sure, development methods such as Lean and Agile emphasize developing a product rapidly and then refining it, but there is a big difference between actually making a legitimate attempt and simply shooting blanks. If you’re doing the latter, I highly suggest you choose a different career now because you’re not likely to get past destroying relationships with friends and family when you borrow cash from them and fail to pay them back.
Charles / Business, Startups / Activision, agile, clients, customers, development, EA, failure, franchise, game studios, gaming, kickstarter, lean, management, marketing, Microsoft, pivot, PlayStation, series, Sony, Valve, video games, Wii, XBox / 2 comments
Last month the tech news website Read Write Web published an excellent article titled ReadWriteWeb DeathWatch: Electronic Arts which provided an excellent summary of the many mistakes game studio Electronic Arts made which started its demise.
Since then, things have not improved for the high end game studios, which have been on a seemingly endless spiral. A recent announcement from crowd funding site Kickstarter declared 63% of all projects that crossed $1 million dollars were games. In all, the games category of Kickstarter leads the way in funding with $50 million pledged for various projects. Additionally the games category has jumped from the eighth most funded category to the top spot in just one year. A more complete overview of the statistics can be found at the official post.
Going back to the main issue of the demise of major game studios, the reason behind the demise of the giants is primarily because studios are ignoring the wants and needs of their customers. By constantly cranking out sequels with little added content, gouging customers with ridiculous pricing schemes, and also making games difficult to play on average computers (due to high resource requirements) the game studios have alienated customers and backed themselves into a corner which will be hard to get out of.
Indie studios have been picking up the slack in game production mainly because distribution can be done via the internet, greatly reducing costs. Additionally games today do not require top of the class graphics for success. The unexpected success of Minecraft and the long lasting success of the Half-Life series, first released by Valve in 1997, of which the game engine is still used to date for various mods and even recent releases by the company.
Sure, graphics can be important for gamers, but the cases mentioned above show that the biggest factor in a game is having a solid story and decent gameplay. Companies such as Activision and EA have made the mistake of latching onto a few franchise games – and then rehashing the same old concept but in different packages. This is especially shown in the sports games released by EA, while Activision has taken criticism for milking their Call of Duty series dry.
While the big name studios have millions of dollars in legacy costs due to the structure of the corporations; indie studios have the ability to be agile. By operating on modest budgets and only using resources they need, they are able to focus on quality rather than paying for the fluff that comes with being a large conglomerate. Just like the tale of David and Goliath, size does not determine the success of a company any more. In today’s economy agility is key, and indie studios and emerging developers are going to be the ones who best fit the bill.
Additionally with the advent of the Android based Oyua gaming console, many developers will now be able to deliver their games to a TV without having to deal with the licensing hassles associated with traditional systems created by Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony.