I have an idea mapped out but no resources and no money. How do I get started?
I'm currently in school for my masters in health admin because that is my stable career-line of choice. However, I always have idea brewin in my head. I write things down, I plan them out, but theres always a hurdle that I can't get passed. The most common amongst all my ideas is money. I don't have the money to put my ideas to work or to hire people to help me. Another problem is the skill. Two of my best ideas require some specific skills that I do not have and are pretty hard to come by. What would you guys suggest to get started. I know they're both brilliant ideas and I've done so much research on both. Another thing I can not estimate is possible costs associated with starting up the ideas because I don't know what they would entail.
Appreciate the help!
In our area people with great ideas, such as yourself, use accelerators/incubators to test out their ideas and get sound business advice. "Accelerators/incubators" also help you get access to seed money or Angel funding to start your business. These programs are usually attached to universities. Check out on line to see if there are any of these programs in your area. These types of programs used to be in Silicon Valley, only, but with the spread of entrepreneurship all over North America, you may find something closer to home.
I totally agree with Tyler Philipi here, Harnish! In my opinion "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries is a great place to start. It can help you validate idea pretty much before you spend any money. I participated in a program based around it and one of the first things we did was "get out of the office". It may seem a little odd for a founder of a company to stand outside with a survey, but it's a great start and can help you determine if your idea really is something people want or if you need to "pivot" (you'll learn all about that if you read the book). I haven't used them but apparently 99u.com and askyourmarket can be used to gather data for a small cost.
I would also recommend networking in person. It's amazing how much free information and help people are willing to give. MosaicHub is a great start but you should also check out meetup, eventbrite, and join networking groups on Linkedin.
It sounds like you are really an "idea person"! I would suggest either getting some additional education in the field of business, or finding a partner who has strengths in business. Once you do that you'll need to consider a lot of things to create a full fledged business plan. One of the key factors that determines whether or not your business will succeed is branding and marketing. So doing things like creating logos and signs are extremely important in getting your name out there.
Harnish, I agree with Dino's comment. People never have all the resources or money they want. The successful entrepreneurs figure out how to make it work anyway. Here's an exercise you might find helpful:
Sit down with a blank sheet of paper and your favorite pen. Write across the top of the page "How do I solve this with no resources or money" Ready? Now spend five straight minutes where your pen never stops moving writing down every idea you have. Do this exercise every day for a week and let your innate creativity solve this challenge for you.
Let us know what you come up with!
First, do a Google search of similar businesses check out their set up and prices/fees costs… etc, if listed on their site... Call up some of them and pose as customer... this is the best way to know costs and fees... Observes their equipment and other furnishings and go back to the Internet for prices… Works everytime…
Next, schedule an appointment with your SCORE, SBDC, SBA, or other small business resource partner (if you don't know where they are located, do Internet search)... They will point you in the right direction plus give you any needed training... Be sure to let them know that your big hurdle is financing so they can make recommendations... Seek out and join as many business and industry (your particular industry) associations so you are with like-minded people who really have answers since many of them have "been there done that"... Check out meetup.com, one of the many ways to search for, join or setup specific business network --- attend the meetings! At these type of events, you are bound to meet someone who knows someone… who knows someone else… who has just what you are looking for... Keep writing down the ideas, but definitely make strides to making it materialize... otherwise its wasted ideas... Good luck!
Depending on your location, there are different associations/groups offering meetings for to be entrepreneurs looking for partners. The Dream Team is an important element to raise money from Venture Capitalists for example. Consultants helping entrepreneurs to meet VCs and pitch their ideas to investors are also multiplying if you really want someone to accompany you.
Hi Hamish, the best thing to do is to get a mastermind group together to assist you in the skills and knowledge you think you don't have. Do this by creating a list of people who can help you 9with no judgement on whether they will!) and then set about finding ways to get them into your group, either physically or virtually be reading their material etc. The second key thing is to establish the feasibility of your idea with your trusted group members to establish where your market is for your idea. Then you can concentrate on getting some sales and financing the building of your idea/concept.
I suggest that you get some experience first.
Focus on your career.
Work on your ideas, part-time.
Participate in Start-up Contests.
If you ideas involve Hi-tech, do get some experience in that field before venturing.
Ball--park estimate of costs is a must.
So is profitable sales.
Have you ever read "The Lean Startup"? The crux of his thought, and what I have seen works VERY well, is to boil your idea down to the most simplest nugget. The smallest piece. If your idea is to build the worlds most extravagant luxury beach with great big plans for it's construction and execution, try to arrive at that first grain of sand which is at the bedrock of that beach.
Once you have that most basic idea, find a way to test that theory, that idea, in a way that doesn't require you to build anything or pay anyone.
Example: My theory is that people want a hat with a propeller on it. I don't start contacting Chinese manufacturers, or even prototyping that hat in CAD, I find a photo online of aaaaalmost what I'm imagining. Write out a simple amount of info about what I want to build, but phrase it as if I have already built it. Build a webpage that basically sells that product, with some great marketing imagery and wording around it, in a very cheap or free URL / content management structure like blogspot, weebly or wordpress. Then have a button on there that says "BUY NOW!" Then promote it all over the web using free services (facebook, twitter, many many more). Once I see a good amount of people have gone to the page I see what the ratio is between the people who hit that page and the people who click 'Buy'. If it's a good ratio I know people want that and then I turn around and test the idea more (play with pricing, color, size, etc.) and then when I feel comfortable that people will buy it then I build it.
I know that is a physical good I'm talking about, but any startup idea, concepts, theory can be boiled down to it's most basic and then tested without ANY engineers or money being spent. If this concept if foreign to you or you think that I don't know what I'm talking about keep clicking around your favorite new sites or services and look out for the "This feature is coming soon" pop-up when you click something. That is them testing if they should even build that feature, they probably haven't even started building it yet.
Good day Harnish,
There are actually a few ways to get your idea and/or product out. Acquiring seed money through various sources is one way and I would be more then happy to discuss this and others with you. Send me a message and I will be glad to connect with you.
Udacity.com is a great free resource for lean start-ups. Crowdfunding is another great resource, especially if you alreade have idea validation. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com to discuss the crowdfunding option in more detail.
First, you can do funding like in Crowd Funding ( Kickstarter, IndieGoGo ... etc ), but you have to expose the idea to the world.
Skills wise, once you have the funds, you'll find people with skills.
I'm just taking a wild guess ... you lack Project Management, Operations, Business process Analysis and Management.
I'm very confident you can do great, especially if your ideas are related to hardware ( building something from scratch/parts ).
Crowdfunding also helps you validate your idea ( if market would like it or not ).
Harnish, This is something I see all the time. An idea has no value until it is brought to life. Sometimes a plan is built that hasn't asked the right questions. Here is one for you...How could you do this business without resources or money? This question may help you look at the situation differently. Remember there is always more than one way to solve a problem!!!
Almost everyone has some good ideas and very few are executed. No clue what you have but there are plenty of free online and other resources to find answers to the questions you pose - so my impression is that you are not serious. Educate yourself on how to do a start-up, develop your product/idea, validate the market, and write a business plan. Mentors, advisors, partners, etc. can be found, but, your lack of experience makes it even more important that you have something more compelling than an idea with potential.
Hey Harnish, there's good news. Since you didn't mention what business you want to start, I can't be very specific as I'd like to be. Do you have the skills/expertise to do&/or create what it is you want to do? If not, partner w/someone who does. Use college interns whose majors match what you need help with, & train them well. Go to Internprofits.com to help keep you legal. Google "how much does it cost to (fill in the blank)?" to help you w/pricing. Let the SBA help you if you're in the U.S. http://www.sba.gov/
I've created many strategic marketing plans for my clients (http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/tmsilvers) who have seen amazing results. Many started out with financial situations very similar to yours. Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
First re-search your idea ti insure there really is or will be a market for this. Just because you think it's a great idea doesn't make it so. Talk to people in any related industries or services that might dovetail with your idea. See if they would use your product or service.
As part of your re-search, you may also want to talk to a patent lawyer. if you truly have a great and especially unique idea, you need to know how to protect it.
I f you can't afford a patent lawyer, I had one tell me of a simple way that could preserve your idea. Write down your idea as clearly and completely as possible. Then mail it to yourself via registered mail and once received, keep it in a safe place and do not open the envelope.
This is important for the second part. If you can't afford to develop your idea's, you will need to find partners with money. if your idea is truly great and you can sell it, then some Venture Capital fund might fund you, but they will ask for a lot if you have no money.
Harnish, Hi! Be creative in your fundraising. If you have your idea sorted out ( which means you can articulate what it is your are selling/doing; who will be involved; what it is going to cost you; and how you will pay for it ) you can use websites like http://www.crowdfunding.com and http://www.indiegogo.com to make a public appeal to raise funds for your cause. Depends on what you are planning to do and what you think it will take to bring it to market. Other factors like knowing who your target audience is are critical.
The main thing is to go do it! Don't let anyone tell you it's not worth it. Start now even if you don't have it all figured out.
At http://www.goaheadlaunch.com we offer some free resources you can use to create your business. We are always available to discuss your idea and talk about your options. Feel free to go to our site and send me a note if you want to discuss further how we might be of service to you.
Go Ahead Launch, LLC
Forming an alliance with someone (or multiple someones) who can help you flesh-out an implementation strategy, help you with their resources, be a partner in getting you past your roadblocks, and holding you accountable to action will help. The money picture can be helped through finding a sponsor or crowdfunding efforts. You're stuck in what I call "decision collision" in my workshops and advisory programs...so much research and so deep into details that you're stuck. Alliance partners can help you reach your target markets and complement (rather than compete with) your knowledge and skills sets.
Harnish, firstly, ignore the previous comment from some guy in a white shirt.
Considering your age, situation and your own honest evaluation of experience I would say talk to the people you & your extended family know. (You must know someone who has run a reasonably successful business.) After that .. talk to a head of business faculty from your current college/uni (you are a student?)
Finance is a hurdle ... but actually you just need someone to tell you if your idea has already been done/has competition and is there any money in it.
As a starting point ... Google "SWAT Analysis": you can fill this out youself with some reasonable research and then decide for yourself if you need more help.
All the best
You could run a crowdfunding campaign at www.fundageek.com to get seed money for your ideas.