Question :
Hi have an idea that I think there is a need for in the market. How do I go about if it is actually something worth pursuing? I can’t see a way to monetise it but more of a way or connecting certain groups together and helping people out. Which I’m fine with, as I’d like to help people,  but in some ways don’t all ideas need to have some sort of revenue to cover costs? 

Question submitted 02/05/20 @ 10:51am
Industry: Start-ups
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    Hi there

    You’re asking a good question – don’t all ideas have to have some sort of revenue to cover costs?

    Yes, essentially they do. That can either be by monetising the service/product or by donations from philanthropic resources to fund it. The first is a business, the second is effectively a charity.

    If you’re thinking of a business, following are some of the questions (borrowed from Will Charles at Uniservices!) to be asking yourself to determine if/how you proceed:

    1) Is this just an idea or have you either got results from experiments?
    Yes – go to question 2;
    No – complete research first or test idea/hypotheses

    2) Why is it clever, or why is the result unexpected, why is this inventive, why is it new, can you explain why it might be inventive (look at Google Patents, Espacenet (European Patent Office – Includes international patents), Freepatentsonline.com, USPTO Web Patent Databases, Patentscope and Academic Literature Sources?
    Yes – go to question 3;
    No – rethink it until you have an idea which is unique and/or inventive

    3) Is there, in your view an unmet market need need or question that your idea has for this specific technology and who might read about it or want to know?
    Yes – then this is an early stage idea that can potentially be developed into a new product, service or company
    No – go back to the drawing board and analyse where there is an unmet need and direct your produce there.

    Those are the initial questions – let us know where your idea fits and we’ll proceed further?


    Hi there, Ngaio makes some great points.
    From the little you have shared, it sounds like your idea might be more of a social service or community rather than a business model.

    I guess that is a good place to start as a question: is there a commercial ‘customer’ problem that you are solving that people would be very willing to pay for, or is it more something people would want to participate in but not really pay for?

    If it’s the former, then you can consider what market you are in and what kind of business model you can consider. If it’s the latter, it would be a question of what resources or cash are required to operate or build this product/service and how would it sustain any ongoing costs absent any customer revenue?

    If it is something you really believe should exist and won’t tax you too much, then by all means you can set up very small as a prototype and get going – if that’s possible.

    If you are not sure if anybody else thinks it’s a good idea then you could either talk to people about it and get their reactions, or create a ‘test’ of it and invite people to participate and get real live feedback. I think the patent information Ngaio shared is useful to think about as a framework for uniqueness, but patents themselves are relevant to a very small sub-set of ideas in the world that are technical, scientific or design-led.

    Lastly..this is a forum where you could share your idea, idea’s aren’t worth that much without execution so you could see what people in these forums think of it.


    Hi, sounds like an interesting play, and this is a very typical stage of “Market Validation”.

    So MV is geared towards a commercial venture, however even if your focus is to build a social venture, you still need to make money, as you rightly point out. You can’t help folk if you have no $’s!

    So MV is very straightforward.

    First Step = , distil your thinking about what you plan to offer into “What problem do I solve, and for whom?” If this is done well, it becomes the “Pain Point” you will address.

    So, for example, “I think there is an issue where people want to connect with others easily, in order to (say) exchange unwanted household goods with those in need, as they want to avoid landfill and at same time help others, but the core problem is connecting those two groups to enable the exchange”

    Then find a way, either through (ideally) face to face interviews, ‘phone calls, social media outreach etc., to test if there is a large enough group of people who recognize and agree with your “Pain Point”, AND who say they will act on it if they could. This is your potential early target market, and should become first customers.

    Second step = Once you have 30-50 of those, build your proposition, and as Derek says above, look at putting together a small trial of whatever system you plan to build, be it software, social groups, interest groups etc., and go back to your initial group and ask for an ACTION. Join the beta, commit to a trial subscription, donate goods/support etc. etc. IF they are really interested, they will take an ACTION.

    Remember, “buyers are liars”, so they may not!

    Thirdly = Use the early customers to refine. launch and test the service, and then take it a much wider group of possible customers/partners once you have some early data of success, to drive wider adoption. It’ll morph here to based on wider feedback, always does, so don’t worry if looks different to what you first envisaged.

    in parallel, you’ll need to consider and develop “where I want to be with this in 1,3 and 5 years. (It’ll change too, but it’s a stake in the ground) business model, funding model and likely sources of $, potential partners.

    Have a think about all the feedback, and I’d be happy to chat it over. Market Val. is my thing really:-)

    Best of luck

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