We all have many ideas. No matter what position we have, or in what industry we work in. The problem arises when we try to decide what to pursue, and what to burn? It’s also one of the reasons why we stick our ideas in the drawer. So, how to recognise worth pursuing idea?
I’ve done some tough thinking and here’s the set of criteria I’ve had success with.
Does the idea solve the problem I have?
This is very common wisdom at this point, but I find it necessary to point out.
You are user no 1, and empathizing with the user is key to building a successful product. So building something you’ll use first and foremost is important.
Solving your own problem provides motivation and conviction to keep going when other markers aren’t there.
Worth pursuing idea vs stupidity
Don’t go for “good idea” syndrome. Don’t leave up your idea to your own instincts only. And it’s hard to trust instincts if you’re so close to the case. I hope that I don’t need to remind about market research. Search for a similar solution that already exist and alternatives your potential customers have.
Is the idea quick & cheap to develop?
Life is short. No one wants to spend time on projects that aren’t going anywhere.
Preserving time and capital are the two most important things you can do. What’s the size of the opportunity vs costs.
TIP: If you believe you need to spend meaningful marketing dollars to get initial adoption, the idea is likely not worth pursuing (or it’s being thought about incorrectly).
Is there a community that can act as a launchpad?
This isn’t a necessity, but it’s worked for me well in the past. And it connects to the first criterion in this list.
Are you familiar with the topic itself? Did you reach the target market already?
Polling a community to validate the problem before you start building, to test is truly invaluable to a fledgling side project or company. And it’s as simple as finding a Facebook Group filled with your target users.
TIP: validate your ideas on the early stage with low or no costs involved.
Is the path to monetization clear and immediate?
You don’t want to keep investing in your idea at start, because typically that means it’s not a particularly good idea. “Build first, monetize later” is not working anymore! The worth pursuing idea is the idea that creates results immediately.
Again, there are obvious exceptions to this rule, but for the average person looking to find a profitable project or create long-term valuable, it’s just so much easier if you know how you’re going to make money before you start.
ATTENTION: There is a very real “trap” that exists that doesn’t get talked about enough. What if your project becomes profitable, but requires your full time and attention without strong ROI? Are you willing to sacrifice opportunity cost out of passion for the idea? If not, are you willing to shut down a project that’s making money?
PLUS: If your product becomes a market star don’t get lost. Success doesn’t last forever. Keep improving the product or build a new one.
AND ONE MORE: If you want to raise venture capital. Is the idea big enough to use venture capital to finance it?
VCs won’t invest unless they believe you have the ability to return their fund several times over. Otherwise, they won’t invest. It’s not like you will get the money from VC for any idea at any time just because you want to. Many early entrepreneurs get this mistaken so I wanted to make it clear 😉