You have a million dollar idea and you have already planned what to do, when you become a rock star entrepreneur whose story inspires a million others. But there is a small problem – there are tens of thousands budding entrepreneurs who think quite the same way as you do and have their own million dollar ideas! Nonetheless selling your ‘million dollar idea’ isn’t going to be a cakewalk and you will have to break loose from the crowd of young entrepreneurs and create your own separate space. The moment you differentiate yourself from others you gain a much needed competitive edge.
If you were to ask seasoned investors what they look for most in an idea, the reply would invariably be a Team and the Execution with a capital T & E! An average idea (if we have the liberty to call it so) can be turned into a great business with proper execution while a great idea can bite dust if there is no proper execution plan. The moment you have launched your product or have started looking for investment, the ‘idea’ is then a mere starting point for the business. Now you need to solely focus on execution of the idea and start looking for solutions to all challenges that you are likely to come across. So here is how you can go about executing your idea –
The Initial Preparation
- Is There Something Similar In The Market?
Before patting your own back and your genius idea you need to figure out if there is something similar in the market? A lot of StartUps’ have heartbreaks when their potential investor makes them aware of the similar idea and this also makes you appear like an idiot. You need to look beyond your vicinity for similar ideas. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work on something that is already there if you have an idea that offers more incentives than what is existing in the market.
- Is There A Market For The Idea?
An idea is as good as the revenue it would be able to generate. Let’s say you have conceptualised sending people to space and plan to charge $100k for a trip from your clients, do you have the market for it? Will you be able to grow your market in the future? You will have to take note of the local factors that dictate your target market. A $100k space ticket may find few takers in the developed world but not so easily in the developing countries. Irrespective of how good your idea is it should have a decent market to be explored.
- Do I Have a Viable Business Plan?
Have you developed a viable business plan for your idea? No, we aren’t talking about nicely prepared PPT, Spreadsheets and Word Files but something that defines the trajectory of your business. How do you plan to launch your products or service? How do you plan to price it? How will you acquire new customers? How would you retain your customers after the honeymoon is over? You need to know all these before you meet a potential investor who would ask you the trickiest of questions that actually matter more than the idea.
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The Funding Stage
- Get The Facts & Figures Right
Your rich uncle or a friend may be willing to invest money on your idea but before you reach the next stage of Angel or VC funding you should get your facts and figures right. What they would look for is the practicality of your idea, the intellectual property behind it, the size of the market, demand such an idea and if the timing is right. Investors also take note of the competence of management and the team. They won’t necessarily see your idea on paper as a ‘million dollar idea’ like you do but will judge it purely on the ROI perspective.
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- Team & Commitment
Do you have an enthusiastic and well-groomed team who share the same vision as you do? If you don’t have the right team or no team at all you aren’t likely to attract investments. You may be a genius in your own right and have the most impressive CV, but that’s not enough. You can neither run the show all by yourself nor can pull off something spectacular even if you micromanage every aspect of your business. So even before you look for large-scale funding you need to build a team where the top management complements each other. Strike the perfect balance between youthful energy and experience.
- Show Them The Dream
Going by the trends in the startup ecosystem you won’t be able to raise huge sums at the idea stage as most Angels and VCs would like to have a look at your products, service offerings or at least a prototype that you may have designed to show them the potentiality of the idea. This is one stage where you will have to sell them the dream that you are living. You need to demonstrate your uniqueness, the potential of profitability, scalability and also the fact that you have made the right moves in every aspect so far. Angels and VCs won’t babysit you and they expect you to be rational in managing your business and most importantly have your feet on the accelerator pedal.
To sum up there are thousands of million dollar ideas taking shape in the minds of entrepreneurs. But to encash the idea and earn your millions you will need to approach it strategically, and even more importantly, methodically.