Interviews

Everyone has an idea: What’s the biggest problem entrepreneurs face?

6 min read

25 September 2015

You have that Eureka moment when you realise your creative idea has the power to change the world. However, only few of us are able to successfully execute them and that makes all the difference.

Ideas are useless – it’s the execution in translating the idea into a product/service that defines if a business is successful.

Here are five common challenges that entrepreneurs face in the journey from an idea into a product (at the end we’ll say which we believe is the biggest):

(1) Articulating it

The first challenge is in making your idea an actual thing. It’s very challenging to articulate your concepts, beliefs and perspectives to someone else. Being so immersed in the idea you have, it is sometimes difficult to step back, explain and translate it to something that others can work on and form a successful product.

It’s important to get some form of support for articulating the idea that can get other people to share in your vision. This can include talking to friends, sharing at pitching events and hackathons or hiring a pitching expert.

(2) (Keep) believing in it

Other people can challenge your idea; its concept and implementation, novelty or usefulness. Some will be critical and will analyse your arguments and judgments for implementing your idea, however, it’s a useful process that can help you grow.

Find someone who will challenge your assumptions through a variety of techniques, including prototyping and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development. Don’t stumble when others fight against it. It’s important to believe in your idea no matter what others say, do or feel about it – you need to believe in it so much that it becomes infectious. Have confidence in yourself to do this.

Read more about boosting ideas:

(3) Demonstrating its usefulness

Can your idea really solve a problem? What it is that you will be contributing to? Who are the people interested in it?

There are many startup ideas out there, which seem good and useful, however, they fail because no one really wants or needs them.

You need to be brutally realistic about the potential audience who will use your product heavily – not people who might potentially use it. The latter won’t bring you the necessary success.

Through brainstorming, market research and asking the right questions, your idea can be challenged and perfected, hopefully, finding a wider range of potential use and custom.

(4) Grasping the potential

This may seem contradictory to the previous point but it’s a nice flip-side to the coin. Sometimes you can unknowingly underestimate the potential of your own idea – Mark Zuckerberg, for example, couldn’t have ever imagined what heights Facebook would reach when he was creating a small network in his student room. Similarly, the founders of Airbnb were probably unaware of the market potential when they enabled hosts to rent their properties during conventions.

Surrounding yourself with analytical and critical others not only brings home the reality of the situation but it can bring greater ideas and a clearer picture of the possibilities your idea can create that you might never have thought of.

(5) Not being overwhelmed

Once you start implementing the idea, the romance often dies. You get stuck in the boring or “dirty work” – operations, finance, marketing and others – that you lose sight of your original idea and it almost seems to become irrelevant.

The common theme to overcoming this challenge is collaboration – a crucial part of the entrepreneurial journey. Getting it right requires finding the 3Cs below who can understand your concept, enthusiastically share your vision and have the right skills to transform it into a product:

Co-founders – the ones who truly believe in your vision, understand your shortcomings and will complement your own skills;
C-suites – those you’d potentially hire at some point to be fully responsible for a particular area of your business, such as a Chief Technology Officer to take full control of your technology strategy and be responsible for delivering it; and
Companies – you won’t be able to do everything in-house do you’ll need external suppliers. It’s crucial you carefully select those who believe in your vision.

Successful businesses thrive because of the right people – particularly those who can cope with the fast pace of building a product from scratch. Focus on them and don’t compromise – you don’t want ‘dead weight’ but people with character who can build a great company culture.

As promised – we believe the biggest of the five, is number five.

Maulik Sailor is the CEO and co-founder of Innovify, while Prakash Pilley is the co-founder Innovify.