Tech Startups – A Great Idea Isn’t Enough

· Blog

Earlier this year, we caught up for a social with the charming Andy Ellwood, Director of Business Development for Gowalla, a location-based social media group. For more info about Andy, click here. In these two clips, Andy talks about how technology is enabling more and more new businesses to start up, but do we really need what they’re selling? One of the things that the iPhone can claim credit for is the prevalence of ‘apps’. Through technical options, market share and ease of distribution, it is now easier than ever for your great program idea to become a reality. Likewise the proliferation of the internet and online businesses. However, before you go out and build a world-beating app or website, you have to stop and ask: “Does anyone actually need this?”. The problem is, we are missing out on the distinction between ‘can’ and ‘should’. Andy suggests that, once you have decided your great idea is technically possible, to raise your head up outside of the tech circles and have a look around. It is easy to become surrounded by like-minded people who share your enthusiasm for your product. However without interest from the wider market, your sales will be severely limited. Also, the market for new and exciting apps and programs is becoming increasingly crowded. While many ideas are targeted at a niche, the sheer noise from the many similar ideas serves to drown out all but the biggest players i.e. those not targeting a niche. If there are a dozen ideas like yours already floating around, it will not be enough to simply go after a different market. Finally, the big players, who are already established in these markets, have the power to simply squash any idea that they see as competing with them. No garage startup is going to become the next Facebook any time soon. Even Google+ is having trouble breaching this very established social media company. So, if you’ve found a way to make a bigger, better version of an idea that’s already entrenched, you had better be prepared for tough competition. The point Andy has tried to make in these clips is not that you shouldn’t try – rather, you should find the need first, and then tailor the product to match that need, instead of the other way around. And then, maybe, you’ll be the next big thing.

Written by robert · · Blog
NextFrom Business To Brand; 10 steps towards standing out from the crowd. 7th of March 2012 at HWP.