3 characteristics of startup ideas that are likely to work

Picking a startup idea can be challenging. Photo by Thought Catalog

The first step of building a startup is picking an idea to work on. Of course there is no way to say with certainty if one idea is a good choice or not. But we can highlight some characteristics of ideas that are likely to work if executed with passion, skill and many years of dedication.

Note: If you aim to build a unicorn, I have no advice for you. This article is rather about pragmatic advice for building a company with real revenue and real clients in reasonable time, which I believe are healthy first goals for most startups anyway.

So, if you want to go with an idea that is reasonable likely to actually work, make sure it passes these tests:

1. There is an existing market

Maybe most important of all, make sure there is a market. If people are already spending money, you can be almost certain they will spend their money on you as long as your create a product that better satisfies the need of that market. The market doesn’t necessarily need to be big, and you don’t need to target everyone in it, just make sure that some people are already paying for similar stuff that you will be offering.

2. There is a clear business model

You should be clear on how you are going to make money. If you don’t know this from the start it can prove to be extremely difficult to add that to the equation later. An idea that doesn’t have a valid business model from day one can’t really be considered likely to work. Some startups may be able to find that model along the journey, but that’s much more high risk. Making some money from early on is very encouraging.

3. It is executable with limited resources

Don’t go with an idea too visionary. Pick an idea that is actually executable in reasonable time with limit resources, because that’s what you will have to work with. The time to validate the idea can’t be too long. You will want to get the product out there to prove some traction, and if the idea is too big there is a risk you will never get there.

Back to basics

As you can see, to increase the chances of you startup idea working out you should pick an it according to common business sense. It may sound obvious but many startups get blinded by their visionary idea and forget the basics.

As been stated before, there is nothing more dangerous to a startup than lack of market. Make sure you build something that people actually want.

So put a lot of care into starting off with a good idea, pivot whenever needed, and be ready to work hard with a great team for years. Then you should have a good shoot of your idea eventually turning into a healthy startup business.

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