I've found myself interested in starting a business for a long time now. Every now and again I come up with a promising idea, but after a few hours of running numbers in a spreadsheet or few conversations with a friend/potential business partner, the idea turns out to be not so good after all.
I think my issue is that I have a really good job, and the prospect of bootstrapping a startup and potentially not bringing in enough money is hard to accept.
Anyone else run into this? What was it about your business idea that pushed you to make the leap?
You're looking in the wrong place. The answer to whether you should start a startup or not is not found in the business plan -- it is in you.
I think my issue is that I have a really good job, and the prospect of bootstrapping a startup and potentially not bringing in enough money is hard to accept.If you start a startup you will have anxiety and you will have long periods with tonnes of work and very little or no income. Do not launch a startup on the basis of a temporary or weak motivation. Launch a startup if you feel strongly drawn to it, even knowing that it will be damn hard.
Sometimes understanding ones own feelings can actually be really difficult. Here are two filters that can sometimes help clarify feelings:
The first thing is to have passion for your idea that you will work on it for free.
The second thing is figure out if people will actually pay you for it. This is the hard part since you really never know the worth of your product until it's actually built and people buy it.
My general rule on ideas is that they have to solve a problem that people are having or they will soon have. I don't really care about the technology "coolness" nor if it's the latest, greatest trend -- just that it solves a problem people will pay for.
As an aside, your method of having the idea and then running the numbers is spot on. That's the way to really vet the cool idea from the make money idea.
May I suggest Rob Walling "Start small, Stay Small" book?
The start of book deals with the task of selecting a suitable market and testing it for viability without spending a fortune (and also not needing to use a spreadsheet). Its not the only route, but even despite the fact that I have loads of potential business ideas I had never thought of formulating how I arrive at them in the way Rob outlines.
As another poster suggests, the idea needs to come from you and for you to beleive in the idea (even if you use a method like Rob suggests to find the idea). No point just following a business idea you don't beleive in or find boring (that is why I don't work in the communications - its vital but I don't find it interesting, so I look elsewhere).
Starting a company is going to be one of the hardest things you do, and you may not be prepared for it. The general idea behind starting a startup is that you're taking 40 years of your work life, and boiling it down into 4.
This quote by Joe Kraus (Cofounder - Excite) just about sums up how you will feel:
“The hardest part in a startup is thatHere are some questions I would ask myself before starting any new idea:
you wake up one morning and you feel
great about the day, and you think,
“We’re kicking ass.” And then you wake
up the next morning and you think
“We’re dead.” And literally nothing’s
changed. You haven’t made some big
deal, you haven’t sold something new.
Maybe you wrote a few lines of code
over the course of that last day.
Maybe you had some conversations with
people, but nothing’s really moved.
It’s completely irrational, but it’s
exactly what you go through.”
This isn't an all encompassing list, but i would definitely evaluate myself as a person before embarking out on a new company. A lot of it is just being able to take the hardships in stride and not getting discouraged when things go wrong (which almost everything will).