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.