Cultivating that ‘Big Idea’

What’s the Big Idea for founding businesses? Every founder has that ‘big idea – that leads often down the untrodden path. Uncovering an insight, a Big Idea and expressing it has never been more important. And, when that Big Idea is done right, it is natural for the media and consumer to create and share compelling, relevant content that impacts the brand.

Brands invest hugely to create Big Ideas. They should, as these can become incredibly valuable assets down the line. In today’s digital media world, where you can no longer control the communications it’s important to communicate the Big Idea. And, today, no one is more aware of this than founders.

At this point Steve Jobs comes to mind, and we remember what someone called his “Terminator attitude”. After encountering resistance galore and huge setbacks in his life, he consistently tread the path he had chosen – to the end. And, it was his ability to build perception, belief and trust that touched people. This created the success story that Apple etched.

Today, in the age of unicorns, we witness path-breaking and disruptive start-ups, that are trailblazing their journey.  And, when I think what’s different about “Unicorns”, I find that they are founders of the big winners. These are the founders who make the most influential role models.

Tracing the journey to where it all begins – the Big Idea. Every founder has that big idea, that leads them often down the path less travelled. Take Panasonic for instance. When you track the starting point, you discover it was the idea that struck 23-year-old Konosuke Matsushita, the son of a small landowner in Osaka, Japan. He came up with brainwave – the idea of an improved light socket, and he was convinced with his idea, though his boss in the company he worked was not impressed. The rest is history. When he passed away in 1989, at age 94, his company Panasonic was one of the leading electronic goods producers in the world.

What steps should all startup Founders take when the BIG idea strikes?

Startups are hot and happening today.  This is evident when you follow the epoch-making success of unicorns like Facebook, Uber, Amazon, AirBnB and closer home, OLA, OYO, Paytm, Makemytrip and so on. The entrepreneurial spirit, or rather the entrepreneurial desire, has never been stronger. Most successful startups happen not just because of an idea, but because of the drive and motivation of the founder.

Here are some points to consider while working on any Big Idea:

  • Decide on what type of business you want

Is it a lifestyle business that you are planning on building? Are you looking at going global? Or will it be a quick exit? Or, is it just a hobby? These are difficult questions to answer at this stage but it all ties back to your motivation and your expectations for your idea. Startups are all-consuming so you need to ensure you are ready, and able to take on the challenge.

  • Understand your target market and competition

The most important thing with any business is to know who your customers are and what problem you are addressing. You need to understand what makes them tick. If the idea is completely new, you find people saying there is no competition. Study competition, learn from them and try to find a gap in their offering that could become your advantage.

  • Speak to your customers

Speaking to people who you want as customers, is the most powerful tool as it will give you insights. Plus, you might start to get a feel for whether your idea is any good or not.

  • Think marketing & distribution

How are you planning to market your product? Is your idea linked to a clever distribution strategy? Don’t launch without a strategy. It doesn’t have to be perfect to start with, but you must know how you will acquire your first customers.

  • Have a budget in place

Put a figure on all expenses. When you launch, your costs will probably be low but you will have expenses – like hosting, rent, phone, electricity, internet connection, developer fees, salaries etc.

  • Prepare to get out of your comfort zone

Launching and working on a startup is sheer hard work. You will double up mixing many roles – doing things you’ve never had to do before! Be prepared to be product manager, project manager, strategist, marketer, salesperson, accountant, legal consult, driver, delivery boy, office cleaner, receptionist etc.

Now, focus, and get started. Focus on the customer, the product. Stick to the plan. Learn fast, it doesn’t matter if you fail. All the ‘big guys’ did this. So, go for it!

Shree Lahiri on EmailShree Lahiri on LinkedinShree Lahiri on Twitter
Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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