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October 25, 2010 / TechFemme

So You Have an Idea. Now What?

I started this blog about a month ago with the intention of profiling the awesome things women in technology are creating, doing, sharing, changing and building.  So far, so good, or so I’ve been told.  But I’ve noticed that my content tends to slant specifically towards women as founders of web-based startups.  So not only are techfemmes rocking out in the technology industry – you’re also running, starting or thinking of starting your own businesses!  Fantastic!!  Of course, I will continue to search for women to interview and profile in technology as a whole, whether or not you’re entrepreneurial.

In response to the interest (mine and that of my readers) in tech entrepreneurial content, this is the first in a series of posts outlining How to Take a Business Idea from Conception to Launch.

1. Define Your Idea.

  • Define the Problem you are solving and Your idea as the Solution
  • Pick a name and URL
  • Draft Your Pitch and Pitchdeck

Today’s post will focus on defining the problem you are attempting to solve with your idea. If you have an idea for a business, you are presumably solving someone’s problem.  To begin, answer the following questions, honestly and as completely as possible.

What is the problem? Are there alternative viewpoints of the problem?  What is the most clear, efficient way to describe the problem?  Approximately what does this problem cost?

Who has this problem? What industries does this problem affect?  Who will your potential customers be?  What do they view as important aspects of the problem?

What is the cause of the problem? What are the perceived and actual causes of the problem?

How is your idea part of the solution to the problem? Do existing solutions (competitors) already exist?  How is your solution better than others?  How much will your solution cost?  Are there other alternative solutions to the problem that do not exist yet?

What are the benefits of solving this problem with your solution? Who benefits from your idea?  Are there parts of the problem that your idea does not solve?

Describing your business idea or solution is only part of what you need to do during this phase.  More importantly, you need to demonstrate the value that it provides to your customers.  Part of the purpose of this exercise is to explore your idea, and change it as necessary so that it grows into the beginnings of an effective solution to a legitimate problem.  It may still change as you go along the process towards launching your idea, but this process will help.

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