How many times have you thought you had a great idea to found a startup? Definitely, in the business (and especially startup) world the idea in itself is not the most important, it is rather its execution that makes a difference and drives the success. How many of those ideas thrown on the table and discussed with friends have been eventually developed and put into practice? Mostly none. The reason is simple: it takes a lot to make a decision to leave what you are doing and invest all your time and resources into “just an idea”. It is even harder when your startup would not be just a simple copycat, but would bring a real innovation, a radically new way of solving a problem and employing resources. Moreover, one can have doubts in his or her competencies to grow an idea into a successful startup. In this post, we would like to propose you a simple flow chart that at a glance and with limited resources let you validate your idea and make a quick decision if to proceed or not. It is based on lean startup concept, and of course, you would like to deepen the topic with great resources, such as a book of Eric Ries “The Lean Startup”. Market and Competitor Analysis So, it all begins with the idea. Is it original or somebody else has already marketed a product? If it is already on the market and your future competitor is a big company with plenty of resources at its disposal such as Google, then there is a high risk of failure. If your competitor is a small/medium company and it operates globally, the next question you should ask yourself is whether your startup could improve the existing product, introducing a new feature, difficult to replicate, developing a unique value proposition. If your competitor does not operate globally and it’s not present on your local market that is big enough to generate substantial revenues, you could found a copycat startup. However, there remains a threat of a future entrance. If you decide to risk and found a local copycat, proceed with market testing. Market Testing Now let’s consider the situation when you don’t have any competitor (that’s a rather rare case, since it means there is probably no market at all for your idea) or what is more probable, you do not have direct competitors. In this case, you should understand, if there is a market demand for your product/service through market research. You might consider finding an interview panel to find out whether somebody would ever find useful the solution you provide, and which features are important. Minimum Viable Product In case your primary market testing proves positive, you further proceed with development of the landing page and investing 50 euros into advertising. If you achieve a substantial base of attracted customers, you can peacefully proceed with the development of your minimum viable product. Are you able to make one by yourself? No? Then go and find a technical co-founder, you can’t get along without one. If instead, you are able to build one by yourself, great, but at a later stage you might need somebody less geek to sell your product!