Kill Your Startup Idea

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Pivot, or persevere? That is the classic dilemma every founder goes through as they explore their startup idea. Which ideas are worth pursuing, and which startup ideas should you kill now? As Millie Tadewaldt, co-founder and CEO of CakeStyle, points out in a recent article in Forbes:

“One of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur can make is to spend too much time on a ‘bad’ idea, and this often comes from ignoring weaknesses that should be obvious.”

In other words, pursue the wrong idea, and you’ve wasted a lot of time, money, and energy on an idea that was never going to pan out. For those of you familiar with lean methodology or iterative development, this concept might seem obvious. I’m willing to bet that if you talk to any random VC or angel investor, they can show a list of founders where this concept was not so obvious.

“There are so many problems in the world that need to be solved. So, how can you quickly determine if you should kill your startup idea?”

Millie suggests asking the following “killer questions” to determine whether or not your startup idea deserves to survive:

  1. Does your idea solve a problem that people actually have?
  2. Is it possible for you to actually build the solution?
  3. Is the opportunity big enough to justify the necessary investment?
  4. Is there a plausible revenue model and path to profitability?
  5. Is the cost of acquiring customers lower than the profit you expect you will ultimately make?

Have you asked these questions about your own startup idea? Does it deserve to survive, or should you do everyone a favor and put it out of its misery now? Are these even the right questions to ask?

“…killer questions need to be developed with your specific idea in mind. One helpful way to develop your own killer questions is to imagine a future in which your startup has failed and identify all of the possible reasons why. Your theoretical failures are answers to the killer questions that you should be asking now.”
~ Millie Tadewaldt


Source: “How To Kill Your Startup Idea

Image: “Broken light bulb