Anyone up for launching a startup? “Well, yes if I just had a great business idea…” That’s likely a common answer to this specific question. The dream of building something on your own has a big risk of getting slayed by one crucial factor; you don’t have a kick-ass idea!

But how important is the actual idea as a starting point? For example, out of all unicorn fairytales – how many of these companies had the core business idea carved in stone at first? Without true empirical backing on this…probably zero. This is because a viable business idea stems from an iterative process that never rests.

So perhaps you only need a vague idea based on an intriguing problem that you have observed. Let’s call it a “concept” of a potential business idea. Then you could instead spend some time playing around with three other urgent factors:

  1. Timing. If the idea is unique, it might be worth nothing if the timing is wrong. If the millennium IT-boom told us anything, this was it. Thus it makes sense to execute a genuine market analysis on your business concept before stretching the idea further. This doesn’t mean that you can’t disrupt a market, but it means that the market must be ready for disruption.
  1. Team. With the right people onboard, impossible is nothing. This is a really tricky one, because it’s not only about hardcore skills. You’re hiring three-dimensional people that will influence your business way beyond their CV characteristics. The people are as much about passion, team-dynamics, rational financial- and non-financial incentives etc.
  1. Funding. It might seem rather easy at first glance. If the idea is good enough, funding will come…right? Well that is at least not the case when it comes to the risk-averse Nordic market. Bottom-line, the funding market is complex and dysfunctional when it comes to early startups. Banks will not grant loans and angel capital is a hard thing to get hold of. Eventually you might end up with Friends, Family and Fools (FFF), if you’re even that lucky.

So instead of getting nitty-gritty on the actual business idea, we would suggest to start focusing more on problems and the insufficiencies in how they are solved today. Secondly, try to identify what competences are needed and how they fit your relevant network. If the realization of your startup is dependent on other people, it makes little sense continuing on the business idea until you have the right people aligned. Lastly, if you then approach a business angel or VC-firm with the concept of a business idea that has great timing and a strong team capacity, the funding might come as well.

This is of course not a magic recipe to fortune and fame, but it could potentially help getting things in motion.

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