Everyone Says My Idea is Dumb. Is It?

"I've got this idea that I'm super passionate about, but my friends and colleagues are all telling me it's a bad bet. How do I know if I should listen to everyone or go with my gut?"

September 30th, 2019   |    By: Wil Schroter    |    Tags: Idea Validation

Becoming a Founder is often the first time our lives where the advice of others — even our parents — may not necessarily be useful advice.

That isn't to say getting feedback on our idea isn't important, it just means that we have to be hyper-aware about how we get feedback and who we're asking to evaluate our idea.

My (Insert Smart Person) says this is dumb. Is it?

The first mistake we make in letting others evaluate our idea is determining whether they are in fact qualified to be making this evaluation.

Let me put it this way: I'm Wil Schroter, Founder & CEO of Startups.com. I've started 9 startups and helped over 1 million Founders on our platform. If you come to me with an idea about how to take a screen-printing business to market, I'm totally unqualified to help you.

I've never taken a screen-printing business to market. I know nothing about how screen printing businesses work. I can help you understand how to raise capital or find your first customers, but that's where my expertise ends.

When debating whether your idea is good or not, you should be asking someone that's not me.

What's the best way to find out if this idea is any good?

There's a process called Idea Validation and it's what millions of startups use to answer this question.

It's a combination of finding the right subject matter experts, customers and research sources that can paint a collective picture of how to evaluate your idea.

Ultimately, the "market" will tell us whether the idea is any good when we launch, but we can save an awful lot of time before that.

Is there a point where my idea really is horrible?

Yes, it probably is right now. And that's OK.

Ideas don't need to be spot on right out of the gates. Most great startups morph from a seed of an idea into what they were destined to become later.

Don't get all hung up on whether the idea is perfect — just whether it's enough to start iterating on.

In Case You Missed It

Validate Your Startup Before Building Anything. The 5 key steps every entrepreneur should follow before building a startup.

Will Investors Fund Just an Idea? There's a commonly-held myth that startups get funded with great ideas. But how much truth to that is there, really?

How Much is an Idea Alone Worth? If you had the idea for Facebook before Mark Zuckerberg, you could have been worth $40 billion like good ol' Mark, right? Except, you couldn't. Because the idea alone isn't worth jack.

About the Author

Wil Schroter

Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes BizplanClarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual. He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement). After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do. He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.

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