Have you spent months thinking about whether you should pursue your idea and still not sure? You’re not the only one. If you’re eager and entrepreneurial, you know that this internal debate can be exhausting. On the one hand, it’s important to think and evaluate your endeavor. After all, you will be committing the next few years of your life to your business. On the other hand, it can feel like an endless thought process.
Bad timing is one of the most common reasons entrepreneurs delay pursuing their startup ventures. It can feel like there is always something more important to focus on. This is not to be confused with market timing which is an important execution factor that every entrepreneur should evaluate before starting. Timing and prioritization are just two examples why the decision making process to start a startup can go on for months and sometimes years.
Some will say, if you’re a real entrepreneur, you wouldn’t even think about it, you start. The truth is, if you’re not going to commit to your venture, it’s better not to start it. The worst decision an entrepreneur can make is to invest in a startup and quit before even taking the product to market. Unfortunately, this is a common example of wasted resources when, halfway through, founders realize they need to spend more time or money, or lose interest in the startup. This can be easily avoided.
The first step is to set a brainstorming deadline. This will not only push you to find answers but also make a decision within a predetermined period. Deciding not to pursue your venture today doesn’t mean you can’t start it in the future. This timed brainstorming phase will help you give a definite answer to whether you will begin now or not. If not, it’s important to free up your mind to focus on what you wanted to prioritize. If you decide to start, you will truthfully and confidently commit to turning your idea into a successful startup.
Having set a brainstorming deadline, the second step is to run your idea by these two evaluation stages.
- Internal Evaluation
This is the time to be honest with yourself. You know that building a successful startup is not a comfortable journey. It is risky, but very rewarding. This is the time to put all of your cards on the table, and you only have to answer three questions:
- Do I really want this? This is not a question about whether or not you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s a question about your belief in your idea, its potential and importance for you and your life. This question will also help you understand your priorities.
- Why do I want it? There’s no shame in building a startup for its financial reward. If you are self-funded and making money is your goal, what you need to think about and ask is if your idea will allow you to build a profitable and sustainable business quickly. If you need to raise funds, the question is, are you willing to fully commit to your venture and let go of any other jobs and responsibilities?
- Can I do it? There’s no doubt you’re going to need help, but the question is, can you hustle and find a way to overcome challenges keeping in mind that it won’t be a three or six months project but a long-term commitment?
If you sort of want to launch your startup, don’t have a compelling reason why you should start and not sure if you want to live its ups and downs, there is no point from moving to the next evaluation stage. Those questions would have helped you set your priorities so you can focus on what you believe is more important. And if you really want it, have a strong reason, and willing to go above and beyond to make your startup successful, there’s one more evaluation stage I highly recommend you go through.
2. External Evaluation
External evaluation focuses on the initial validity of your startup idea. This stage answers, is my idea as promising as I thought? Do people need my solution? And, is it really worth the commitment? There’s only one way you could answer these questions: talking to future buyers.
Building a startup is a process. One of the key stages in this process is idea validation. As an entrepreneur, you’re always testing, iterating and validating hypotheses. Let the hard work of testing your idea start after you’ve decided you will pursue your venture. For now, it’s just a matter of speaking with a few potential customers, possibly users of competing products, to learn about their needs and expectations from a new solution if there is a problem worth solving.
For another layer of external evaluation, share your idea and plans with mentors and experts in the space. A quick chat will provide you with invaluable insights and an opportunity to run your decision to start a startup by people who can help you predict the future so you can make an educated decision.
Microsoft, Twitter, Instagram, PayPal and every multi-billion dollar company started with just an idea, and so will the next success story. If you were given unlimited shots at becoming the next success story, will you take any chance? How many shots are you willing to take before giving up? Even if success rates are low, remember you have unlimited shots.