By Keith Shields, CEO at Designli
To determine which idea holds the most promise for the long haul, consider your strengths (and the strengths of your team), and look at which idea aligns best. Using your natural skills, experience and talents will provide a significant advantage as you’re building a new company.
Here’s a simple six-step process to evaluate ideas for a new startup based on your strengths.
Start by making a list of your strengths and the strengths of those you’ll be partnering with, including the following:
- Tech experience.
- Work experience.
- Hobby/passion experience.
- Character traits.
Your list should include general abilities, such as being good at mentorship, and specific experience, such as providing a product or service to a particular industry. Take some time to think of as many as you can, and write them down -- whether or not you think they are directly relevant to your business. You may be surprised by what you come up with and how you may be able to integrate these into your new business. Follow the same process for each member of your team.
2. Dive deeper to uncover unrecognized strengths.
Talk with others to learn their insights about your strengths. We don’t always fully recognize our abilities, sometimes missing skills and traits that could be invaluable to a new startup. This is especially true for those traits and talents that are innate. Sometimes another set of eyes can point out things that we haven’t yet recognized as strengths that could be beneficial. Add these to your list. Again, follow the same process for each member of your team.
Another option to delve further into discovering your strengths is to take an assessment like CliftonStrengths. I like this assessment because it not only helps to identify your strengths, but also provides strategies that help you to create an action plan around them.
3. Evaluate your strengths in terms of their business value.
Look through all of the skills, traits, abilities, experience and talents that make up the master list for you and your team. For each one, consider the business value that these strengths could bring to the table. Evaluate exactly how they would benefit each of your business ideas.
4. Determine if there are necessary strengths missing.
For each of your business ideas, create a list of necessary strengths in order to execute the ideas. Do the business needs that you identified line up with your team’s strengths and experience? Or will you need to find people to fill in gaps? How easy will it be to find these people? And will these people serve on the leadership team, or will you guide them? If you’ll guide them, do you have the foundational knowledge needed to direct them? The answers to these questions should provide some insights that will help you analyze each of your ideas.
5. Determine your goals.
What are the motivations driving your interest in building each of your business ideas? What primarily creates excitement for each one? What do you hope to do long term? Is your desire to build a company and sell it quickly, to create a franchise, to create a lifestyle business, or something else? Depending on your answers, certain ideas may lend themselves better to these goals.
6. Create a business model canvas.
Before you pull the trigger to move forward with one of your ideas, you’ll want to build a business model canvas. Identify your competitive advantage, who you’ll target as customers, pricing structure, etc. Having a full picture of the context surrounding your business ideas will allow you to make a smarter decision about which to pursue.
While you can certainly hire the necessary experience, skills and talents to execute an idea, it is always easier to launch a business when you have an existing foundation. This foundation will provide the perspective you need when you’re hiring for the essential roles in your company.
Keith Shields is CEO at Designli, a digital product studio that helps entrepreneurs and startup-minded enterprises launch transformative apps and web apps.