Not surprisingly, there are a million different ideas floating around inside a startup, each seemingly more attractive than the next. Our natural instinct is to want to spend time and resources exploring the possibilities that this idea might bring. Sometimes we even go so far as to begin to develop this idea into something tangible.
What we often fail to remember is that every second counts, especially at a startup, and any amount of effort or resources diverted from your main product or offering is effort and resources that aren’t bringing you closer to market and bringing in that much needed early revenue.
That is not to say that startups should not always be looking to innovate and provide the best product possible. However, in the early stages of development you should be focused on the products or services that will help you generate the revenue that will allow you to continue to develop those brilliant ideas.
The father of modern economics, Adam Smith, understood that resources and their scarcity is the driving factor which determines something’s value. I’m likely paraphrasing and oversimplifying this complicated and fundamental tenant. Regardless it is an important concept that every startup should keep in the back of their mind while they decide which ideas their going to pursue during the increasingly limited time they have before their funding is depleted.
Everything has a value, everything is a resource, and everything is scarce. Development time, staff, money, and expertise are only a few examples of the resources at your disposal that are to be distributed accordingly. It is essential that startups prioritize which projects and ideas they decide to pursue in order of which ones will provide the greatest good at the greatest possible return on investment, regardless of what investment that may be.
If you’re unsure which ideas are worth pursuing ask yourself the following questions: Do I have the time/resources to pursue this? Is this in line with my company’s vision? Does it compliment or supplement my core offering? Will it expand my business? Here’s a flowchart.
If you answered yes to all of these questions then congratulations, your idea is worth pursuing and developing at this early stage of your startup. Although, if you answered no to even one of these, odds are that this idea can wait until such a time as your business has grown to offer a wider range of products in accordance with your company’s vision. In the mean time your efforts can be better spent doing something else.