The idea pipeline

images Many people like myself are ideas people. I love to discover opportunities, connect dots and postulate possible solutions, products,services.

So much so that I write down every idea when it pops into my head. If I think it has potential and deserves further investigation I expand my sentence description into a full one pager combined with some Googling. Next ( well actually its normally in parallel with the Googling) is to start talking to potential customers and individuals with some market insight.

The problem I often have is the one of having multiple ideas in my ‘pipeline’ (at the one pager stage at least). I find I start on one opportunity and then  come up/ run into another opportunity possibly better than your last one ( I realise that it can be too early to tell at this stage).

Any others out there that face this conundrum?

At present I have 5 in my pipeline:

  1. Ive recently just killed an idea after doing some market validation while in the states – simply put the same system that is found in NZ/AUS/ UK does not exist in the US. This means in my main market my product would be ‘a nice to have’ rather than a solution to a deep pain.  Its in the area of facilitating contract research.
  2. Another one I have is a SaaS solution aimed at the bioscience research community. Currently I have a designed a web survey to begin testing to see if there is a big enough pain. Enough that would cause customers to move from primitive (sometimes although primitive it might just work fine) alternatives to my ‘knight in shining armour’ solution haha. And hopefully there is enough value in there so I can get some $$ out of it. On first estimates its no billion dollar business but could easily be a quick build and flip business or  a cash cow.
  3. I have one ( A piece of lab equipment for microbiological research) dormant one which requires more market validation and has also stalled due to ‘human capital break down’. This one would not be a business but a licensing play to a large manufacturer.
  4. Another on in the lab equipment market has been dormant for a while also. It  only serves the NZ market and is a small opportunity that would probably best serve the science community than make a huge profit for myself. But is easy to set up and would be a great experience. I also have acquired some inventory because of a amazing opportunity that presented itself.
  5. Other is in the field of mobile/ tablet advertising. This could be a massive opportunity but I have little knowledge and the concept is very very raw.

Which should I pursue? 3 and 4 have been around for a while. They have been dormant because of my inability to action them given my current workload. They could have been killed if it hadn’t been for lack of validation ( a process which gets dragged out when you don’t have time to focus on the idea) or easiness/low resource to pursue. Should I continue to search for a bigger opportunity, ideally one that suites my background in the life sciences. Or should I just pick one of those above.

Advice of the years of being in this entrepreneurial ecosystems suggests that you focus your efforts on one idea. But how do you know which opportunity to pick and devote  time on developing ? Because you really don’t know which is best and would like to make sure it is an idea that has legs and a sizable opportunity at this early stage.

The key is that you do just to pick one right now using whatever crude screening process you have.The idea is actually take an idea right through its market validation and then continue to pursue to kill and move on to another one in the pipeline. You cannot avoid wasting time on this validation process if you can in fact call it wasting time because it isn’t. Its actually a process which SAVES you time not investing MORE time and MORE money on the wrong venture.

This may be obvious to many but when you are new to this situation you do get hyped up on the ideas that present themselves.

So news is I’m working on #2 and the market validation is underway. Hopefully ill give you an update on the progress soon.

____________________________

Graeme @ graemefielder.com

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