Business plan · Entrepreneurship

I have a business idea, where do I start?

Candace Sparks Single Mother with an idea

November 8th, 2017

Mainly an application idea. Anyone with experience with a "from business idea to finish roadmap?" Thank you in advance.

Abdulhaqq Sulaiman My background includes branding, web/app design, interactive and digital design.

November 8th, 2017

Having helped build more than a hundred apps (as a Mara Mentor - link is best viewed on desktop) from categories ranging from social networking, utility, entertainment and lifestyle, I get asked a lot of questions by entrepreneurs and businesses on the entire process of building and marketing apps.

I'll say; start by putting your idea down on paper as clearly as possible. Look for prototyping tools on the Internet and create a detailed, screen-by-screen mock-up/wireframe of your app (I recommend Figma - it's FREE). Once you’re clear about your requirements, look for a company or technical co-founder that can design and develop it for you (if you're not a techie).

NEXT! Get to the market fast with a prototype (MVP - minimum viable product). Don’t wait to create a complete app with all the features. Build only with the core proposition of the app and see if the users pick interest. Once they do, you will get a lot of important feedback from users.

Some of the most popular products today were outsourced in their initial days, including Alibaba,, Digg, Skype.

When creating the first instance of your product, keep the costs low and go with an outsourced provider that understands your requirements best. The most important thing for you at this moment is to get your product in the hands of the users. Fast. Once you see a real demand for your product and continue to see traction, you can then take over the development and maintenance in-house.

But of cause, if you can find a dedicated co-founder to handle the development, then awesome.

Let me know if you need any assistance fleshing out the idea or building the app.

Morgan A Serial Entrepreneur lives to innovate new ideas. I design systems for FUN ;)

Last updated on November 12th, 2017

Hi @Candace, the answers are all great. I would like to add 1 further step if you want to have a clear start or conversion from you idea to product or at least an MVP. Start with the "Business Model Canvas", this model will show you the market for your project, the connection, competitors, segmented users and your core value proposition. This is the first step we use to convert an idea to something more solid, an accelerator will not accept an idea. You must have an MVP with some traction to be enrolled in an accelerator, you might look for Incubator these accept an idea stage but with more and solid market studies.

Most of the answers and reply talking about an MVP and having your product, there are more important steps to think of before this stage, putting down the business model canvas and business plan for the business first will give you a clear vision whether to go for the product and there is a valid market for it or just let it go. The 1st question will be asked by any incubator or accelerator is the Market how big it is.

Here this is the link to the best "Online Business Model Canvas" I found, it helped me a lot during my startups early stage.

have fun.

Candace Sparks Single Mother with an idea

November 15th, 2017

Hello Everyone, I am keeping up with the updates. I am so grateful that you all are taking the time to respond. No answer is unseen or read. You guys rock! I am taking steps forward. You all are truly amazing. @climblean @sapir @chura @steve @bill @sandeep @cristea @all others

Steve Owens Startup Expert

November 8th, 2017

An idea is not worth much. Most people/companies have many more ideas than they can work on.

The ability to turn an idea into a profitable business is what is valuable - a very complex set of talents and skills. I have been learning for 30+ years, and still have a lot to learn.

Babson has the best entrepreneurial program I know of, and I think you can do it online.

Bill Flynn Catalyst Growth Advisors - We help startups and scaleups with People, Strategy. Execution and People

Last updated on November 15th, 2017

Candace - Lots of good advice here. I would recommend that you take a step back to make sure that starting up a company is really your thing. I have helped start 10 different companies and have advised dozens more. I have written a series of blog posts about going from startup to scale-up starting with this one.

If you find that you are up for this crazy rollercoaster ride, I recommend you read the other posts. They are each 4-7 minutes each and distill the entire process (experience and research) at a high level into the steps and tasks you need to take from a business perspective. I leave software development to those who are better suited. I also have several books I recommend on startups on my website.

Good luck.


Monir Hossain Noyon Digital Marketer

November 17th, 2017

It would be better if you tell us more about your idea. However, I think at first you need to do a Market Research so that you can get an insight about your idea is feasible or not? You need to find out is there any demand of your product/service? And then Brainstorming your idea (Marketing Plan, Financial Plan etc.). We Gallant Marketing team can help you regarding this.

Yuriy Lozinsky True Nerd @webinerds (MCSE, CSM, CSPO)

November 10th, 2017

Hi Candace

User experience (UX) is a king. Your offering should be clear for end users.

1. Just open your note book and try to sketch shortest path to your product's main valuable feature. I mean mockups and screenflow (UX diagram).

2. Show it to someone who is not engaged to your idea and ask a question "What is it and what for?"

3. If you receive the answer that is exactly you was trying to sketch, you are lucky :) Start to prototype it.

Iterative approach will save your energy and resources if you will set metrics and "definition of done" for each of your goal. If you on the start of your way, you have maximum of entropy, so start with no longer than 5-day iteration.

Best regards


Candace Sparks Single Mother with an idea

November 12th, 2017

@Morgan Thank you so very kindly for the clarification as I have no idea about any of the stages. This gives me a clear view and will definitely be a great start. I really appreciate your taking time to respond. I will take a look at the canvas and the verbage so far from you all in order to assure that I start on the right path and am more inclined. Thanks again.

Zee Wu Traveler

November 14th, 2017

Enroll in this course. I am not ashamed to promote this course. It helped me understand how should I think about customers, charging money and others. It has a great community to keep you accountable, and if you get stuck you can even contact the master himself... Anyway, best course ever.

Charu Kalia Co-founder | Business Development | OUTDESIGN.CO - Industrial Design & Product Development

Last updated on November 14th, 2017

Hi Candace,

I am putting down some basic info here that I hope you find useful.

Have you validated your business idea? Does it solve a real need and will therefore have a market? Are you creating something that is trending but not yet crowded?

  • Once you have identified a problem, figure out ways to solve it using skills you have / can acquire / can hire.
  • Talk to people - who fit your target customer profile - about what you are trying to solve and ask them for feedback. First time entrepreneurs are shy about the importance of this step in the process. However, it has been proven over and over again that skipping user validation can result in you wasting time on creating something that nobody wants.
  • Start with a quick and dirty version of your product/ solution and continue improving based on user feedback. Don’t wait for it to be perfect - it can never be perfect else it will mean that you either stopped innovating or your users stopped taking interest in your product.
  • You will have a higher probability of success if you can find an intersection between your passion and purpose of what you will build.

Next, put together a business plan with the objective of what you are planning with the startup, who will be your target customers, milestones, funding needed, how will the company be structured, go to market strategy and stages of operations including the funds needed for each phase.

Do you have a cofounder? If not, find one. If you have the tech chops, find someone who may be good at selling - essentially find someone who complements your skills.

Register the company

Put together a team. Every person on the team should individually be able to add value to the business. Ideally, startup founders should have the 3H’s - Hacker (manage the Tech), Hipster (manages the UX, Design), Hustler(manages the Sales & BD). Again, this depends on what you are building.

Do you want to spend a few months at a Startup Incubator first? At the core at any incubator is the mentorship, networking and community engagement. It is important to figure out what you want and what will be offered. They can also help with raising funds and usually invest in companies they incubate. Also, at an incubator program, you will get great networking opportunities, you will be part of networking/pitching events and will have access to a lot of resources, tools and people that are an advantage for a first time entrepreneur.

Lastly, execute! Be patient, Don't give up easily and just stay positive.

Wish you good luck.


Founder, Outdesign.Co