Question :
Hi team,Having some time to think over the last few weeks I have found a solution that I feel has value and a place in the market. I’m not an entrepreneur or innovator so my questions would be around developing an idea with no experience.What steps do you take when you have an idea but do not have the skills to develop it, the capital to invest or a network that is relevant to the concept. How do you protect your idea while trying to find the right people to work with?I would appreciate any advice, I feel that under our current circumstances, many people have the same challenge. They have ideas but don’t know how to make it happen. Cheers

Question submitted 22/04/20 @ 12:06pm
Industry: Start-ups
  • Kia Ora Damon – well done for sharing, and asking for input. Starting a business is such a scary thing because it is hard to know ‘how’ do I do this and also whether the idea is going to work. There are a bunch of resources you access online like the Lean Startup that help you focus and also give you some guidance on methods.

    I think about it like this – (1) form a view around the market opportunity you think there is and how you can solve that, write it up (2) go and test the market by doing some interviews with potential users/customers through interviews, just be careful that you don’t ask them straight away will they buy your product, because you want to ask how more things like how do you behave, what do you do now, how does that work for you – because you are looking for ‘pain’ or ‘unsolved satisfaction’ to build a business off (3) update your hypothesis from (1) and then go back to the market to test whether you can get people buying (4) with that knowledge, you probably can then build your initial product and see if you can get some sales (5) review fit and then start to look at distribution channels etc.

    Note, it is pretty normal to be afraid about your IP – most people will not copy or steal your idea, because if it is really simple then others will be doing it – just be careful if the idea / product could have patent protection – then you need to get some advice on that – but what I would say is ‘value’ in any idea comes from people wanting to buy or use your product – not the Patent itself.

    HOpe that helps – break it down into chunks, and just remember you have to flip into the market, the target market, and their needs and less so about you. All the best. Andy

    Hi Damon,

    Andy’s response offers a great framework to use in moving from idea phase to the market validation of the feasibility plan. However, if you find it daunting at this time or if you are unsure on how to proceed once you’ve tried solving the first chunk(s), I suggest you describe your idea in generic terms (without giving it away) here and any specific questions that you have as you move through the process and we can comment on that progress as well and offer guidance on concrete steps.

    Hope this helps.
    Good luck with the exploration.

    @andyadmin – thank you for responding with so much detail. I’ve taken a look at the Lean Startup and have ordered the book. I have really enjoyed learning this process and will use this as a guide moving forward. Excited to get stuck in.

    @dana-mckenzie – The idea is really “pimping” a service that already exists by turning it into an app and adding additional features. Based on the current platform, I know there is interest. As with most ideas, nothing is truly new. I’ve simply looked at this current platform and thought about a way to create a point of difference and add value. I know that if I don’t give it a go, in six months time I’ll see the release of something similar, then kick myself.
    If I was to ask specific questions, it would be as follows
    1. How do I share an idea for the development of an app while protecting the idea?
    2. Is it reasonable to ask a developer to get involved on a risk basis with a commitment of shares?
    3. I don’t have access to capital to invest, where do I begin looking for funding. Do I take a loan from the bank?

    I have many questions but don’t want to take advantage here. I am aware that everyone on this platform is offering their time. The advice I have already received has helped set me on the right path.

    Thanks again


    The immediate feedback to your idea is to ensure that the platform itself is not already considering an app development, as content might disappear for your app if they promote theirs. Equally, later on, assuming you’d demonstrate success with this app, how do you protect access to the content it builds on? You need to construct some barriers of entry short and long term for your idea to keep it viable.

    Regarding your specific questions:
    1. Confidentiality or Non Disclosure agreements are usually in place before work starts with contractors, such as app developers. Here’s a template for reference: https://simmondsstewart.com/templates/mutual-confidentiality-agreement/

    2. Yes. A lot of founding teams start like that (sweat equity rewarded via shares in the newly formed Co), but you want to ensure that the working relationship is tested and remains strong because that’s where all could come undone if it doesn’t pass the test of time or hardship.

    3. Bank loans make sense when you are much further ahead (i.e. when you have strong and reoccurring revenues) and after you have looked into a number of other capital sources. Bootstrapping or developing a prototype in your spare time, with co-founders who are usually putting in their expertise for sweat equity is how most startups begin.


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