I've been meaning to do a startup for over a year now, and have spent that time observing the world around me and figuring out what I think are genuine problems that I think I can solve. I finally quit my job a little while ago to pursue these, but am now stuck in a predicament I cannot seem to find my way out of - I seem to have too many possible ideas and no logical way to choose among them! They all seem like that have potential, but they are all quite different from each other so I cannot work on all of them at the same time. I know it's hard to really give specific advice on this, but I'd love to hear from entrepreneurs who might have gone through something like this before. Should I try to do an analysis based on some framework, or just follow my gut on this? Or is there a better way?

You’ve got a great approach already, that is, finding problems and coming up with solutions. Now aside from any business advice I would give you, I would first of all echo Lee’s point about finding an idea that you are passionate about. Whatever you pick, you’re going to be working incredibly hard to get it off the ground and so it’s critical that you really care about what you’re doing. If you can find an area that really taps into your core values and interests, and even better where you already have both skills and experience, you’re going to be that much more likely to succeed.

I can’t help but pick up on your first sentence, that you’ve “been meaning to do a startup for over a year now”. What do you think has been stopping you? Is there something else going on, besides the difficulty of choosing a viable idea to focus on? Could there be some underlying fears or concerns about focusing full time on a startup that may likely fail? It’s worth addressing this mindset aspect in addition to doing the due diligence work from a business perspective.

In terms of validating your ideas, the only way you’re going to be able to do that is by going ahead and testing them. Call ten people in your client target group and ask if they would be interested in buying. Run some Facebook ads. Get a landing page up and see how many people opt in. You’re never going to be able to choose “the best” idea based purely on the theory and, in fact, there is no such thing, as it’s really all in the execution.

So ask yourself: what are you passionate about? where do your unique strengths lie? what experience can you leverage to give you a competitive edge? how will you be different to the competitors who are already out there? Based on your answers, go ahead and choose 2-3 of your ideas and test them.

Let me know if you’d like to jump on a call either to work through the business ideas themselves or, as I suggested, to look at other obstacles that may be getting in your way.

Answered 4 years ago

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