How much is an idea worth?

Its the classic Entreprenurs dilema. You know your idea is worth *something*. You’re just not sure how much.

If your company is pre-revenue, that is – you haven’t made a single sale yet then unfortuantely, not much.

Six immediate actions you can take to make your idea more valuable

Being able to describe “What is it”?

Sometimes called the elevator pitch – can you describe, in the time it takes to ride an elevator – What is your idea? Who is it for? And how does it help people?

A first timers mistake is having the fear of missing out. You don’t want to be too specific, because that might hurt your chances.

The problem is, you come across all wishy-washy. It makes you look disorganised, unprofessional, distracted.

Having a well-rehersed, practised pitch of what your thing is, will make the world of difference.

Get clear – who does your idea help and why?

People want to hear about your idea. (Hopefully) it’s interesting. First timers are paranoid that they might say soemthing that excludes a potential prospect.

The truth is, you can’t be all things to all people. Take the news media – CNN, Fox News, Huff. Post – you probably have your favourite. They all know their audience. Chances are, you know who their audience is too.

They aren’t trying to apease everyone – if anything, they want to get under the skin of a certain audience. Why – because it works!

Same for you – who are you trying to help and why?

A couple of other examples:

  • Dropbox – for non technical people who want to share files across devices
  • Hello Fresh – for those who want to eat healthy but either can’t or won’t buy fresh produce
  • iPhone & Android phones – both serve a very different section of the market

Let the end user touch and feel it

Sounds a bit odd, but up until now, we’ve been a bit in the clouds. It’s all talk. There’s nothing tangible. Nothing you can pick up and feel.

By having something to touch and look at, a person to see what is your thing.

Wireframes are a great way to show your users what you’re trying to do

That doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be a completed app or a physical product. Wireframes & mockups are fine (especially in the early days).

What’s your plan?

The early 2000’s was a classic moment for startups – people were building and no one was planning. Having a business plan was considered “old school”.

These days, it is entirely different. Of course your plan won’t be perfect, you probably don’t know what you are doing and are feeling all nervous. That’s fine.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail – Benjamin Franklin

What a plan does show, is that you’ve done some homework. You’ve put some thought, carefully weighed up the options and decided on the best course of action.

How will it make money?

Plans and ideas and concepts and wireframes are all good. But after all that is said and done, what do you have left?

Similar to “What’s your plan”, knowing how your thing will make money shows a level of research, some effort and thought has gone into the answer. You might be wrong, but if you weren’t?

What do you want?

This one is often so obvious that first timers will forget, but its crucial. What do you want? What do you really want?

It could be:

  • A lifestyle – you work 20 hours week so you can spend time with your family
  • Build an empire!
  • Retire early / young?
  • You’re a repeat entreprenur, who has so many ideas and you want to do them all?
  • You see a money machine! Bleed it dry!!!

Knowing what you want adds context. It helps build the picture, tell the story and allows your audience to understand your motivations.

It’s also a great way to check what they want. What happens if you want a lifestyle, part time business and they want to maximise growth, work hard & play hard?

What happens if I don’t want to raise money / seek outside investment

This is why knowing what you want is essential. If you’re not looking for outside investment, then fine. Move along.

But you might one day. Having the conversations early, when its an option is much easier than if you were in a position where you must have outside investment to survive. It’s also easier to negotiate terms in your favour.

What to do next?

Regardless of what others might think, of what others say, if you think there’s something in your idea – go do it!

You go this!


Christian Payne is a technologist and entrepreneur with a passion for innovation. He has over 20 years of experience in engineering and product development across enterprise and consumer sectors. He has experience at both small start-ups and enterprise level generating +$2M per month. When he's not hard at work on his latest project, he spends his time involved in Men’s Support Groups, Leadership training and Mentoring.

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