John Murch

Not can you build it but should you build it and will you finish It

28 Jul 2011
Not can you build it but should you build it and will you finish It

So you have an idea – a bread slicer that cuts bread diagonally, great! You can build it, but should you and will you actually finish the project make money?

Last month I got an idea spec’d out. I think it could be the next big thing, especially with the way the Internet is moving, IMHO. The problem is more on execution and whether I should build it. I’m sure I could sell it after spending a few months marketing it or even trying the whole raise capital route, but I have other commitments that keep me busy. Which brings in the next question, will I finish it.

This project, let’s call it BS. Project BS was mocked up and thought about to be outsourced so I would not be the weakest link. The intial focus is basic capital to build it, but the time it takes to market it is a whole another story that most entrepreneurs don’t consider. If you build it they won’t always come. Project BS can be built for a reasonable rate, but how does that affect my commitments as well as my time marketing it.

Think about it it in this way: You are offered time or money but you can only choose one, which do you choose and why?

After an awesome networking event last week – I almost want to give away the idea or see someone else crush it as it’s more of a thought than an empire. On a side note, I can’t stand people who need to find a cofounder/tech lead or need an idea for a startup. There are plenty of both in todays world. You can read a book and become a tech lead or search the internet as people give them away for free. If you need ideas let me know I have time. My problem is scale and execution, which should be almost all entrepreneurs problems. Do you know it will make money? What will be your burn rate be during the time to scale? And how will that affect your life and commitments? This basically boils down to what’s the opportunity cost? This makes me thing of my Econ classes at UVM, ugh!

Anyway, i am still not sure my plans for project BS, I know with summer I have a lot of traveling and relaxing to par take in. The focus is still on my “pay the bills” job and making amazing tshirt quilts. It’s crazy, for the first time I’m actually trying to plan out the next year of my life and stick to a plan. It’s weird ever since college I haven’t been living at the same location and this year I will be on year two, amazing. I guess it really comes down to cutting corners only delays the inevitable. It’s time to step up and crush it for 2011.

Back to the point. Should you build it? So you are thinking about your idea, but how can you prove it will be a success? Most startups fail within the first year! Why not validate your idea, but how? Start with mockups and an early adopter program. Focus on building an email list of people who would help shape this idea and spread the word when it launches. Set small goals and focus on a MVP – even if it’s just screenshots!

This brings me to my final point. There are a few ways to leverage and build a startup that can scale rapidly. I came up with four ways startup pays.

  1. Sell before build – customer is investor, get credit cards and charge when launched
  2. Freemiun – get people using it and building your feedback loop with hopes you can convert them to a paying customer fast
  3. Tell the world why you are building it – ask community for help and get them to join in on it. Remember it’s often lonely at the top
  4. Max out credit card and JFDI

With that, last but not least what do you plan to do with your idea? Will you build it, how do you test, etc. Ask yourself all the questions first and then JFDI!

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