Finding cofounders · Market research

I have an idea, what comes next?

Mike Daigle Developing IoT solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

January 4th, 2017

I have had an idea I cannot seem to shake for a couple of years now. I have spoken to a few friends about it mostly friends that I want/need as co-founders. Most of the responses I get are usually money oriented. It might cost to much to build, I could do it but you would have to pay me a monthly salary, I'm not sure if that would take off and other negative, shoot your idea down type of comments.

I am not sure where to start. I need a technical co-founder, someone who can build it albeit I need one fairly talented individual. My limited coding experience is no where near what I need to get started on my own. I have no personal money to pay anyone so this would be an equal or or as close I can get to equal with my still holding majority equity deal, 49/51 if you will. While I am pretty sure my end goal would most probably only be achievable with funding, I do have some other ideas to start small and scale that could/should bring in some revenue that could help get us along to the end goal.


I have been in the industry the software would service for 13 years and I can see it being a huge asset if executed correctly. I believe there is a market for it but I do not know how to go about doing the market research though I have done a little. I cannot find anyone doing what I intend to do either. Most of the software that is used for this sort of thing are typically companies own in house software require that require user input and analysis. For the smaller project that I believe I can scale I can only think of a handful of companies that may be interested in the product and if so it would most likely be used for an add on service that the company would provide though adding value to their initial service offerings.


I am not sure where to go from here. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. If you need anymore information please ask.


Thanks.

Sam McAfee Business model innovation and digital transformation

January 4th, 2017

Here is some fairly tactical advice about how to get started:

  1. Download and fill out and "business model canvas". Understand that your answers are assumptions to be tested not facts.
  2. Start with the customer. Develop a simple "persona" on paper (demographics, behaviors), and make a list of the problems you believe that the customer has. Do not start with your idea/solution.
  3. Go interview 20 of those types of people that you don't know personally. How to find them? The "channel" section of your canvas should tell you. If you can't reach them to interview, you can't reach them to sell.
  4. Use the problems you have validated, and develop a manual solution to that problem (not software), or as close as you can get to a solution. If it's too technically complicated, create a landing page describing your solution, and ask for email addresses from those interested.
  5. See if you can sell a manual solution to at least some of these people. Use the feedback you get from that process to identify your technical MVP. It does not have to be scalable.
  6. If the MVP is tight enough in scope, and the market is starting to be validated, you will have better luck finding a developer that might come on this journey with you. Look for someone who's already passionate about this space.
  7. You already know this, but make sure to build a P&L for your business model. Have a very clear and exact notion of how many units you have to sell at what price to deliver the service. The software should do just that, and nothing more until you have overflow demand.
  8. Ask me if you get stuck.

(Shameless plug: I describe this process in great detail in Startup Patterns).

Lysle Wickersham Business builder driving growth, revenue and relevance. Brand strategist, management/strategic consultant.

January 5th, 2017

Truth is, it can be a long journey between a great idea and actually building a viable, scalable business. Even before you get deep into the build, strategic business planning and a comprehensive business plan is the first step. It is also the vehicle to putting yourself into a position to raise capital. Your needs goes beyond a tech founder, which will be a critical addition, rather a business strategist than can help develop the vision and build a plan and pro forma that covers all the needs. One that defines the market need and opportunity, growth and exit strategies, etc. Early stage money based on a well crafted plan and a strong team can be the ticket to get all you need to validate your idea and go to market.

Deborah Callahan Founder of Wanderstarr.com

January 11th, 2017

I am also at the same place, great question, I will be utilizing many of the suggestions here. I hope to find the right co-founder soon.

I wish you all the best.

Ane Ein Founder of Problab, early cryptocurrecy investor

January 22nd, 2018

I would first try to put myself in a better standing by making my idea as tangible as possible (even without codes or an interactive version of the product). You should first try to show the potential of your idea.


1. Try to express in words why and what you're trying to do, the problem you're trying to solve or innovate. This should be as short as an elevator pitch.


2. Build a paper prototype (a sketch on paper of what you wish to develop) of the idea and of the application/platform you have in your head. If you have any design skill, you can download Figma or Adobe XD to draw a proper graphic prototype.


3. Understand the market you're trying to launch your product into. How big is it? How many potential customers? How much money do you need to get to the break-even point? How many customers do you need to get that money?


4. Put all the aforesaid things in a slide. This will be a your Pitch Deck. Hopefully a good one.


5. Use this to get co-founders, investors or even getting into startup incubators. If everything fails or you simply think it's not for you, start with crowdfunding. It probably won't get you much money but something to start with. Even if you don't have a technical co-founder, you can outsource the prototype to build a minimum viable product.


6. Your focus should be getting the Minimum Viable Product out. Once you have it out, you should be having a better time finding collaborators and even customers.



Wishing you the best.

Sanjay CTO/Co-founder iRefer.io

January 4th, 2017

You definitely need a technical co-founder at some step, may be soon after you have validated your idea (thru surveys, prototype etc..) and CoFoundersLab is right place to look for technical co-founders. There are several factors you need to consider though, before you bring a technical co-founder on-board. Picking a wrong technical developer would only cause headaches, delays and also wasted equity.


Create a detailed business plan - very important step. Identify your customers, users, market-base. Figure out the revenue stream, figure out the product road-map - a must. Bring few advisors (both business and technical) on-board even before you hire someone as co-founder. Once you have good help around, it won't be tough to tackle the technical hiring problem.

Eduardo Cisternas Civic Entrepreneur

January 13th, 2017

If you have experience in the industry and networks of possible clients, try to sell the Idea as a "almost ready solution". If you success on doing so, you will have the money to hire developers. Finding a co-founder is an endeavor in itself, so don't waste time looking for one at the beginning, you'll find him/her along the way of developing something.

Bill Lennan Red Rope Social - everyone is an influencer.

January 12th, 2017

Ideas are great - but do they solve a problem someone will pay you for?

The USPTO is overflowing with patented ideas which never made it to market because they didn't solve a problem anyone cared about.


I've run down this rabbit before. Here's the very simple 3 step process to learn if your idea has a market. After you know there's a market, then worry about building an MVP and sales.

  • find 10 ( or 50 ) people who use "in house software" (IHS) who are willing to sit with you and talk shop
  • ask them about their IHS - what do they love, hate, cry over, wish it did, etc. Learn it's history, in house adoption, and champions. What do they do when it breaks? Write down on paper their answers ( 2 columns, good/bad ).
  • ask if they would ever use a 3rd party solution that did all the good and fixed all the bad - write down their answers also.

Tally the "yes I'd use" - is it a majority?

If you aren't hitting 80%+ it's time to rethink.

S P Looking for people with Biz Dev/Fundraising skills

January 12th, 2017

Having been in this situation I find this statment a little perplexing " My limited coding experience is no where near what I need "..

Now this could be a mental block. In my case, I had to learn it myself in order to build a working prototype which otherwise would have just remained an 'idea'.

If you truly believe in your idea and its potential, invest time and effort to learn how to code. It pays off in the end. Else I would suggest you use low code platforms. For eg; based on the marketing material Appian, Mendix, OutSystems, K2 etc put out, one is led to believe that you can develop a application such as yours without the need to code.

Jason Moore Founder/Chief Strategist of IntelligentSearchAgents.com

January 7th, 2017

Developing both a strategic plan and a business plan is a great way to start.

Nishant Shukla CEO of crestinfotech

August 8th, 2017

Try to convince them half compensation and 2% equity. If you are not well funded then find a good investor from this kind of platform.

Prototype or Keynote presentation is nice way to find an investor.