There is a growing trend in the startup community. It often times goes undiagnosed because we are so distracted by the “cool factor”. The trend is the development of a cool idea versus developing a business. People come up with intriguing ideas all the time but all too often these ideas are not a business.
Brent Beshore, a successful and well established entrepreneur from St. Louis, recently wrote an article for Forbes expressing his disgust with the growing trend of the word “cool” in the startup community. Beshore expressed that “cool ideas” do not address a market need, do not solve a problem and, most importantly, “cool ideas” do not generate revenue.
While not quite as frustrated with this trend as Beshore, I completely agree. West Michigan entrepreneurs are not immune from this trend either. There are a ton of people with cool ideas that can make something with alternative materials, connect people in a new way or some new technology app. Those are not necessarily businesses though. Beshore says that once you move beyond the cool factor and start to focus on creating something of substance is when you truly become a startup. This transformation involves identifying your market, generating revenue and developing a business plan.
Identifying if your idea has potential to become a startup is important to accomplish early. This allows you to plan how much time and money to invest in your idea. You will have a clear path to accomplish your goals. Some ideas might not be a future sustainable business but once developed, there might be other uses for them. Maybe there is a larger business these developed ideas can be sold to or maybe there is a collaborative project that they fit with. Knowing where you are going will allow you to identify how much you are willing to invest.
Every entrepreneur has some level of fear of failure. And while failure is not a bad thing because of the lessons you can learn from it, it can be a hard lesson to learn if you put all your eggs in a basket that is nothing more than a “cool idea”. Meeting with someone or a group that can ask the tough questions that you might be avoiding will go a long way. That information can help put together the best strategy possible for your idea’s future.
Source: “Your "Cool" Startup Sucks” by Brent Beshore, contributor for Forbes.com