OpinionSuccessful start-ups not just a good ideaGordon Whitehead

THE SPARK: Even a good idea needs more behind it to become a successful start-up.Every successful tech start-up begins with a good idea. But, too often, start-up founders spend too muchtime trying to build the perfect product without considering the big questions.Which customer pain are they trying to relieve? Why are their products better than their competitors? How much are customers willing to pay? What are the costs?
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I see too many people blow tens of thousands of dollars on an idea they think will become the next Google or Facebook, only for it to turn out to be a dud. If you are fantasising about starting a global tech business, youneed to understand it is incredibly challenging and requires a variety of business skills and knowledge, not just a seemingly brilliant idea or product.Beforespending your hard-earned cash, I recommend a couple of basic steps to assess your idea and business model.

First, immerse yourself in the problem you are trying to solve by conducting research. Talk to your potential customers about their pains. Ask them: what are their frustrations, annoyances – what is the problem that your product will solve for them? Try to figure out if there’s a real need for your idea or if there’s a better product already out there.Then focus on designing a sustainable business model to support your idea, especially if you have global aspirations. An effective tool being used in the start-up world is the Business Model Canvas. It forces you to link your idea with your business modeldesign. Usingit does not guarantee success, but the advantage comes from the visual process of clarifying assumptions and mapping out how key organisational elements work together.

If you can’t answer any of these questions or you haven’t figured out a business model, it’s best to seek help from a start-up expert/mentor. Alternatively, you could save your money and kill the idea now.

Gordon Whitehead ASBAS CoordinatorThe Business Centre

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