Question: I invented something that I think has potential to become a business. What is one thing I should NOT forget to do next?
Get Real Feedback
“Your friends and family will probably support your idea even if it’s not so great. Find real people who are target customers for your idea, and see if they will actually buy it before you build it. You can use strategies like this to raise some early money from real customers who will help you make your product better than you ever could without their feedback.” — Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes
“If you have invented something, I will assume you’re applying for a patent. What you should not forget to do is obtain as many trademarks as possible relevant to your invention and field. These could be marketing slogans and product names. Moreover, make sure to get related domains as soon as you have a chance.” — Evrim Oralkan, Travertine Mart
Write a Business Plan
“Regardless of what you may have heard, business plans are not anachronisms — they are still relevant. Strategic planning is key to startup success; without it, you’re lost. Unfortunately, a good product isn’t everything. Without a plan and the ability to execute on that plan, even an invention with the greatest potential will wind up dead in the water.” — David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
“Most products fail because people don’t actually want them and/or are not willing to actually pay money for them. When you think you have a great idea for a product or business, you should immediately validate or invalidate that there’s actual demand for that product. “The Lean Startup” methodology gives a very specific plan for doing just that.” — Danny Boice, Speek
“No seriously — start working on rolling out the business ASAP. Over the last few years, I’ve witnessed too many people with good ideas waste time writing a detailed business plan only to never get the idea off the ground. Do the minimum you need to do to prove you actually have a real business. Get some customers; get feedback. ” — Janis Krums, OPPRTUNITY
Make Your Early Users Happy
“Your invention may have all types of applications, but it’s important to focus on the application(s) for the set of users you’ll make very happy — enough to create buzz around your product or service and get customers to eventually pay you.” — Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind
Check to See If It Exists
“I can’t tell you how many fab ideas I’ve had, especially in the shower, that I’ve looked up online only to find they already exist. Although it seems like the most logical and simplest next step, it is surprising how many people don’t take the time to do it. If the business idea already exists, the next question to ask is: Can I build a better mousetrap? If yes, do it. If no, skip it.” — Erin Blaskie, Next Dev Media
“Make sure there is demand for your invention. Make one prototype, and then try to bring in orders rather than making a ton of product and trying to sell it. Make the prototype, take photos, accept orders and market. When you have enough orders, start building. It’s the Kickstarter approach: Build one, and then sell.” — Jim Belosic, Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack
Focus on Sales
“Get sales. Do whatever it takes to collect revenue. This process will validate your invention and get you on the road to making it a successful product.” — Thomas Cullen, LaunchPad Lab
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.