Your Startup Idea Probably Won’t Matter

Many new entrepreneurs think that the success of their startup rests on the quality and uniqueness of their idea. It doesn’t. It’s the business that they plan and build around that idea that matters.

The Startup Playbook & Coffee
The Startup Playbook & Coffee

You Don’t Need a Great Idea

You don’t need a great idea. The secret is that it’s not great ideas that make great companies — it’s the excellent execution of a great business model that leads to success.

Unique Idea + Poor Business Model = Failed Company

Companies with unique products and poor business models are not as well-known because, well, most of them have failed. But Kodak is a great example of a failed company. The company that basically invented compact, portable photography also created digital photography. Kodak had the idea to create a digital camera and developed their first prototype in 1975. They then released their first model to the public in 1995, long before any other major player was in the market. Still, they couldn’t make a success of it. Kodak’s business model was all about supporting their film business, and thus, they struggled to make a successful play in digital photography. Kodak went bankrupt in 2012. Great ideas can’t make it without good business models alongside them.

Going from Idea to Business Model

Say you have an idea that the world needs cheap, disposable clothing. That’s it, the core of your idea. It’s your starting point. From there, you expand it and consider how you’ll develop it, get your initial prototypes created, determine who your early customers will be, and how you’ll market and sell your product. You might even think about ways to manufacture it and, ultimately, make money from it. And, that’s what starts turning your idea into something tangible — part of your business model.

Will Herman is a 5X entrepreneur, active angel investor, corporate director and startup mentor. He’s also the author of The Startup Playbook.

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