The thing about working in the Silicon Valley is that start-ups are like opinions; everyone has one. At co-working spaces, networking functions and launch parties everyone lays claim to the next Google or Facebook. The unfortunate reality is that not all ideas are created equal. How do you know if yours is a good one?
The Obvious Need
If you’re like me, you find an opportunity in every observation and each interaction. I started peggsit.com because many of my friends were without jobs, but needed a quick way to make money. With the unemployment rate topping 10.1% in October 2009, finding temporary work was an obvious need. Unfortunately most of us miss what is right in front of us. The key is to always remain vigilant.
But looking is not the same thing as seeing. To really determine what a community needs you must observe today, question the past and imagine the future. Every good idea starts with a problem, and it’s your job to solve it.
Either everyone gets it, or no one does
If you asked me if I needed an online community to supplement my real world interactions I would have answered with a resounding NO, yet Facebook has succeeded with more than 750 million members. Before Twitter I had no desire to update complete strangers on my feelings, thoughts and concerns, but there are more than 200 million tweets per day. After finding out what people need, it’s an entrepreneur’s challenge to transform that need into a want. I figure, the best thing to do is ask.
Oscar Wilde once said that whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong. In a similar vein, entrepreneurs must test the waters but not be surprised when an idea falls flat. By nature, we create that which does not exist so you cannot fault people for not seeing. In fact, when they look and do not find there’s an opportunity for your first pitch. How did they respond, were you able to communicate the value and did the light bulb eventually go off? Chances are they’ve heard it all before, or maybe you’ve won your first customer.
I can’t be the only one who has thought of this
You’ve heard the saying that there’s nothing new under the sun, only reinvention. Successful entrepreneurs find ways to solve problems cheaper, faster and to a higher quality than the competition. It’s important to recognize others who are addressing the same problem to gauge what they’re doing right, and what you could do better.
Recognize that every venture is made up of people, and those people drive your competitive advantage. It is the relationships, experiences and skills that we bring to the table that increase the probability our success. Entrepreneurs leverage all the tangibles and intangibles to differentiate the business, team and themselves.
It isn’t you, its Me
Ultimately everything comes back to you as the Entrepreneur. You could have the next big thing, at the right time and the perfect place but you must be able to leverage your resources, assemble a team and execute on a vision. There are no bad ideas, but there are opportunities that are better suited for your skills and background. An idea is only as good as its ability to be executed, and the success or failure of that idea lies in you.
Author: Michael Peggs, CEO & Founder, peggsit.com