Many non-technical folks have a big idea, then immediately set off to find engineers and attempt to raise VC funding.
Before that, you should make sure the idea is really worth your time. It’s easy to fall in love with an idea, and you should really try to decide whether your business can accomplish your goals (save the world, pay $100k/year, build an exotic car collection, etc.) before you move forward.
In addition, it’s going to be really hard to raise money without figuring out quite a bit of detail first. Just ask a VC how many Next Big Ideas they see from excited co-founders without backup or any idea how they’re going to execute (hint: the answer is “too many”).
Once you’ve got an idea, your process should go something like this:
- Create your Elevator Pitch
- Build a rough Pitch Deck to answer the big questions
- If it’s technical, Find a technical co-founder
- Should you raise money, and where should you raise it?
Of course, these materials and decisions don’t need to be sharp and finalized before you set off on your entrepreneurial adventure.
However, they’ll help you channel your energies into answering the key questions of your startup, decide whether you should really begin to build this business, and be armed with the information you need to excite your future teammates and investors.
A few pieces of advice that I’ve picked up along the way:
- It’s going to be way harder and take way longer than you think
- Now that I’ve adjusted your expectations, take that amount of time and effort and triple it
- Problems that seem like certain doom for your startup will occur constantly
And if those seem ominous and negative, they shouldn’t. Starting a startup is really hard, and you should know what you’re getting into from the beginning, so you can prepare yourself and not freak out. Freaking out doesn’t help anything.
That said, what is likely driving you to entrepreneurship is passion for your idea, and that is one of the most important assets you have. Be sure to communicate that passion to everyone with whom you discuss your business.
One final tip: This is your business, so don’t act on a single person’s advice (mine included). Get as much advice as you can, synthesize the results, and make your own decisions.