How do you know if your startup idea is the next next big thing?
It’s easy. It isn’t.
Most Great Companies Started With Bad Ideas
Most great companies started off with very different ideas that were either not very good or impractical. Very rarely does a startup actually start with the idea that makes them the next big thing.
Here are just a few examples of successful companies that had very different and troubled initial ideas:
- Initial idea: Allow groups of people to band together to accomplish a goal called ThePoint
- Eventually: Groupon
- Initial idea: HTML5 supported location-based service
- Eventually: Instagram
- Initial idea: Web-based massively multiplayer online game called Game Neverending
- Eventually: Flickr
- Initial idea: Compare two people’s pictures and rate which one was more attractive
- Eventually: Facebook
- Initial idea: People to share photos and get grouped based on locations in an app called Color
- Eventually: To be determined
At Yipit, our initial idea was a local search site focused on furniture in New York. Today, we are the leading aggregator of daily deals like Groupon, LivingSocial and the 485 others.
What Does This Mean For You?
When you stop expecting that your startup idea has to be the next big thing, you can draw some valuable conclusions:
- Stop waiting for the perfect idea. The perfect idea isn’t coming. You just have to pick a problem you are passionate about and start working on it. Over time, you will evolve your startup into the next big thing
- Your idea isn’t the real value, it’s you. The value lies in your ability to learn from potential customers, iterate based on those learnings. Those iterations will determine whether or not your startup will be successful, not the initial idea
- Don’t worry that your first idea will fall flat. It falls flat for almost everyone. Your idea is based on so many assumptions, it’s bound to be full of issues. Figure out what’s wrong and fix it.
- Get your prototype out there as soon as you can. Don’t spend six months releasing your first prototype. It’s going to fall flat. Instead, get a prototype into the hands of your potential customers as soon as you can. You need to learn as quickly as possible what’s wrong with the idea so you can fix it.
- Don’t write a business plan. Within a month, your business plan will be irrelevant. Instead of spending that time writing a business plan, spend it getting your prototype into customers hands.
Your initial startup idea isn’t the next big thing and that’s okay. Just get out there and start working on a big problem that you’re passionate about and you may eventually turn it into the next big thing.