Idea/Founder Fit

When do you know you should pursue a new business idea?

At IntelliTect, we constantly generate new ideas, ideas that will: help us do our jobs; help others do their jobs; make our lives better. The process is called “Ideation”, and it is the process of coming up with ideas and figuring out which ideas we should go build. We’ve come up with some good ideas at IntelliTect, but sometimes our ideas don’t “fit” us.

You might have heard of product/market fit, which is how well your product’s value proposition fits your market’s needs. Idea/founder fit examines how well your idea fits with you, the founder(s).

Let’s say you’ve come up with the next big thing..

What should you do about it? Wait.. backup.. Should *you* be the one to do something about it?

Unless you have one or more of the following attributes, you should consider spending your time on other ideas:

  • industry expertise
  • the problem is your own
  • passion about the problem
  • or… you have one or more of the above “by proxy”

Industry Expertise
Do you really know what you’re talking about? Or is your idea based on what you think you understand about some other industry you actually don’t know anything about? Not everyone is an expert in area that they jump into, and that’s OK. But if you’re not an expert, there needs to be some other motivating factor. (And you better go find an expert.)

Solving a Problem You Have
If you solve a problem you have, you are essentially your own customer. You will know if you’re successfully solving your problem, how painful the problem is, how it fits into the big picture of your life, and so on. This doesn’t eliminate the need to go out and chat with potential customers and verify your value proposition, but helps to decrease your risk of not finding that product/market fit defined earlier.

Solving a Problem You Are Passionate About
Are you passionate about the problem? If you’re passionate about something, you will have the willpower to keep driving forward when you run into problems, when you have to adjust, when you don’t know what to do, or when you have to go find someone that does know.

By Proxy
There’s a caveat. If you partner with someone that has one of the previous characteristics, then I guess you’re off the hook. So if you’re passionate about building software, for example, and you find someone who is passionate about the actual problem, or perhaps is an industry expert, I’d say that’s a good start. Point: if you think you have the next wizbang idea but you don’t know anything about the industry, aren’t solving a problem you have, or don’t have a passion for the problem, go find someone who does.

These rules aren’t an indication of success, they are simply a prequalification for starting. And the more prequalifications that you posses, the better!

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