I’m going to tell you a mind-blowing secret. You ready?
Here it goes.
Sorry to be blunt, but it’s true. It isn’t worth a thing. Nothing. Nada.
People don’t buy ideas; they buy products. Product can have a number of definitions, but apart from a few successful serial entrepreneurs, it sure as hell isn’t an idea.
Facebook is a product. Evernote is a product. SnapChat is a product; it isn’t the idea of Snapchat that’s valued at 16 billion dollars, it’s the product.
A product is simply the execution of an idea.
Not just thinking about the app, but building it. Not just figuring out how you can make some tool better, but prototyping and selling it. Not just coming up with a great idea for a business, but starting it.
That’s why your idea is worthless. It’s the execution that’s everything.
Execution is the sole reason why startups get funding. It has nothing to do with the connections that a founder has; that only gets their foot in the door. To get the check that you think you need, the investors need to think the idea is good, but more than that, they need to know that you have the ability to execute.
If VC’s gave money out to everyone with a good idea without giving a thought about execution, they would all be broke by lunch.
When I first realized this, my mind was blown. Suddenly it was all my fault. Every single time that something cool came into my head, I would say that if only I knew more VCs or had enough startup capital or any other stupid reason, I could make millions with this idea. Then someone else would actually do it, and I would say, “Damn! They beat me to it!”
Does that sound familiar? I know it does.
It’s your duty as a human being to take risks. Here’s how you can get started:
If you are still reading this, you probably have at least one. If you have more than one, narrow it down to the best one.
If you don’t have an idea, well…get one. It doesn’t have to be some grand billion dollar app idea that will eventually take over the world. It just has to be an idea that will make you more money than you put in.
A seemingly small, $1,000 idea is more common to have, and that’s good news because these are the ideas that million dollar empires are built on.
Just because YOU think your app idea is good doesn’t guarantee that anyone else will. You need to check in with people to make sure you aren’t wasting your time and money.
What is the problem that your app is going to solve? What specific people will have their life bettered by this app being built? Go find them and talk to them.
If they love your idea, you’re on the right track. If they like it, you’re still looking good. If they don’t care, you should rethink it.
Take each person’s feedback with a grain of salt, but if people repeatedly don’t care, you should probably move on. If they love the idea and want to hand you money on the spot, drop what you’re doing and make it happen.
Apps can make money in a lot of ways (if you want the app to make money).
Figure out how you could make money on the app — in the near or distant future — or you’re in danger of running it into the ground when you start scaling up.
Discover the bare-minimum features that your app needs in order for your users to be able to use it. Those are your MVPs — and the only things that you should be striving to build.
Anything else are just bells and whistles, so, especially in the beginning, ignore them.
People don’t care about any of the flashy stuff that most idea-men obsess over. Eventually, yes, those will be important, but for right now, you just need to convince people that you’ll be able to make their lives better.
So, skip the shiny crap. It’s useless and your users will thank you for it.
Build it out using your own resources: your own time, money, connections, whatever. This will force you to get it done right for the lowest cost possible and keep a laser focus on your users – and your bottom line.
This helps in a big way down the line: growth & scale.
When your app starts taking off, pop a bottle of champagne, and then strap yourself down and really focus on the important things. Are your costs growing linearly? Is your profit margin growing or shrinking? Bootstrapping forces you to keep an obsessive eye on these metrics so you don’t burn out before you pop.
Too many people want investors before they start something. Do yourself a favor and stop using that as a crutch.
Investors come along when things are looking good, and that’s usually not in the very beginning. Unless you’ve built million dollar apps before, don’t count on recruiting investors until you’ve built something that people love.
For your first app, keep your fate in your own hands.
This starts the second you start valuing execution more than ideas. Only then will you take that leap of faith every once in awhile and actually build something instead of continuing to dream about what life would be like if it were already built.
If you have an idea that you think you can turn into a million or billion dollar app, you owe it to the world to bring it into existence and share it with as many people as you can.
Don’t let someone else claim ownership on what is rightfully yours. Be accountable. Set goals and get started. Today.