June 11, 2019 | Aiman Hamdouna
Most entrepreneurs dream of getting their big break – the “lightning strike”, or that “aha” moment when an idea comes to you.
In reality, it’s rare to find a successful entrepreneur whose big idea landed in their lap. It’s likely they were already on the hunt for quite some time.
Therefore it’s crucial you ask yourself this question,
Most successful startups don’t start because of a desire to make money, they start because of a desire to do something more, or to solve a problem.
There are many ways people can identify a startup idea. Sometimes it’s being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes it’s seeing an opportunity in the market. Sometimes it’s discovering a solution in other countries you’ve visited which you believe will be useful in your home country.
No matter how you come up with your idea, it’s important to make sure you do thorough research before you start. Many people don’t do enough research before they launch their startup because they believe their passion, enthusiasm, and belief in their idea is enough. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work.
Thorough, methodical research at the start of your journey is the cheapest way to save (or earn) lots of money later. Even if you find that there is a gap in the market for your business, research can help you better understand how to position and launch your startup.
Here are key areas you should investigate before you commit to transforming your idea into a startup. If you decide to go ahead with your idea it is very likely that the research will help you identify weaknesses and opportunities that you were not aware of, resulting in a better version of your idea.
A quick search on Google will tell you if someone has already started on the idea and how well they are doing it – but don’t let that deter you! Check how and what they’re doing, then see where you can improve on your idea, or how you can do it better.
Identify who your startup serves and understand how big the market is. If you’re unsure about the size of your market, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is a great free tool to help you determine this.
A common mistake made by startups is to think that their solution helps ‘everyone’. That’s not an ideal way to think! There will always be a specific group of customers who will find your solution more valuable than others. Understand who they are, and tailor your idea for them. If you’re still not sure, put together a survey, go out there and ask people questions directly.
A survey can help you understand:
The more you understand the current market, the more you know which gap you’re addressing. Use Google Keyword Planner to find out what people are searching for, and how your competitors utilise these keywords.
If you want to outperform your competitors, ask yourself:
Assuming you’ve identified a gap or opportunity in the market, the next step is to figure out what people are going to buy, how much they are prepared to pay for it, and then figure out if you can make a profit from this.
After all your research and data gathering, is it only data that supports your idea and makes your business look like it cannot fail or is it something else?
Confirmation bias is a behaviour (and a trap) that many optimistic entrepreneurs fall into. They choose to only see information that supports their vision. Your research needs to be realistic and show all sides of a business case.
There are other assumptions to look out for too. If you’re an international entrepreneur, be aware of any assumptions you’re making based on your personal experience from a different country. Test if those same assumptions apply in Australia. Is there an actual problem for the Australian market? At the end of the day, you’re launching your business in Australia so answering these questions will help determine if your startup is viable in this market.
Ask locals, ask the international entrepreneur community, ask everyone you can! Don’t be afraid of talking to people and getting your ideas out there, because this can be the fastest way of finding out if your idea already exists. If it does, talking to people can help you identify how you can do it better.
Market research reports from organisations such as IBIS World can be expensive to purchase and access. However, these reports are free for students. If you have friends or family studying at university, ask them to see if they can access these reports for you.
Finding a good idea for a startup and getting it up and running isn’t easy. But if you take the time to do the preparation and research, you can make your business dreams a reality.
Working on a new startup idea? The Startup Playbook might be for you!
Tailored to refugees and new migrants, you will learn useful techniques to get yourself established, find network directories, and hear from other international entrepreneurs like yourself, who have found success in Australia. This book takes you through the process of assembling your team, testing your ideas, the fundamentals of communicating and selling your idea.
Aiman Hamdouna is the Director of Hatch Quarter , a co-working space and startup incubator for international entrepreneurs. He is also Co-founder of Mo Works Creative Agency, a creative agency that is leading the way in design, digital and emerging technology. As a leader in the Victorian startup community, his global mindset has proven invaluable in his role within the industry, and he has learnt more than a few secrets about what it takes to be an entrepreneur along the way.