Everything’s great when you’ve got an idea that will change the world. But then, you hit a wall. This happens to everyone. Often it happens many times.
You’re stuck! But don’t give up. It’s part of the process.
Making your business idea into something real and valuable can be the most challenging and stressful experience you face as an entrepreneur.
But let us repeat, don’t give up. Bruce Lee didn’t learn kung fu in a weekend seminar. And he got kicked in the head many many times. And he got back up many many times, before he got to kick others.
So let’s get you moving again. If you’re stuck, you need a bit of a boost to break free. Here are 5 proven ways of regaining your momentum and energy.
1. Get Back to the Research
Aspiring entrepreneurs get visions of success when they have a new idea. They block out the possibility of failure or whether anyone even needs their idea. They get stuck when they realize other people don’t see their idea so brightly. From the very start, research can overcome this block.
Detailed market research will support expectations about a business’ potential success and uncover things you didn’t consider. Ask questions like:
- What problem does my product or service solve?
- Who’s going to use it?
- Who’s doing something similar?
- What’s a realistic price?
- How will you sell it?
Angel investor and VC Dr. Aniruddha Malpani said: “Do research around a business idea. Read about the topic as much as possible! Talk to other fellow co-workers, perspective customers, vendors, who can provide a helpful perspective.”
You can gather trends, statistics, surveys and other related data from sources such as the Census bureau and industry associations.
You don’t have to be paralyzed by research, but you should use it in many forms to avoid getting stuck right out of the starting gate.
2. Find a Mentor
Mentors can be friends and family, gurus, influencers, and even casual acquaintances. These are real people, who can give you a range of honest views about your idea. They can tell you industry trends, developments and opportunities, and their own personal opinions. They offer you advice and value in areas you don’t know.
When you’re stuck, you can go to them, tell them your situation, and they can speak from wisdom and experience.
You can return their good favor by being successful and always showing your gratitude.
Speaking about the importance of mentors, Anil Chhikara, chairman of the Startup India Foundation said, “Mentors will help entrepreneurs to understand the challenges a startup is facing in growing further – whether it is due to behavioral issues or go-to-market strategy. If the entrepreneur does not know any such mentor, they can access various online mentor connect initiatives.”
India has dedicated online services for finding mentors, just Google it. This article also gives a number of creative ideas.
3. Get Feedback and Fresh Perspectives
A silent killer of a startup’s success is that the entrepreneur doesn’t actually really know their customer and market. The result is you get stuck when no one is showing interest in your idea.
Without knowing being in direct contact with these, how can you give them what they need?
You might be having outstanding idea, but it’s only useful when you have the right insights. Fortunately, there are so many ways to get closer to your potential customer, even if you can’t meet them face-to-face.
Marketer and bestselling author Ann Handley recommends spending some time in customer service. “Talk to the perspective customers. Talk to the people to on various social media platforms … to check how people react to your idea.”
The data and insight you gain from feedback can help you change your way of thinking. It may even cause you to dump your idea and go back to square one. And this may be just the key you needed to get un-stuck.
4. Startup Events
If you’re stuck, be with other people who are stuck or who have been stuck: people just like you.
Startup events have gained huge popularity over the past few years. They give aspiring and current entrepreneurs chances to collaborate with others about their idea. Programs such as Startup Weekend allow participants to develop an entire business idea, pitching techniques, and build minimum viable products in a 48-hour weekend.
Events like SaaStr and 4YFN can be hotbeds of bonding, collaborating, co-creating, inspiration, and like-minded community. The networking factor of events is increasingly important. And making connections among startup founder, clients, and investors is can be a huge ROI.
Many events involve competitions with cash prizes along with witness fresh ideas that may indirectly give your company the competitive advantage.
5. Admit You Have Bad Idea
Thousands of entrepreneurs are in pursuit of that special idea that will make them a success. But the simple truth is that most of the time the ideas fail, and that’s OK, if you learn and move on.
Sometimes entrepreneurs get so attached to a bad idea they come up with one excuse after another for its failure. They blame the customers, the manufacturers, the funder who look them over. Instead, they may need to look inward, honestly.
If you’ve spent months talking to customers and only get a few so-so reactions, your idea isn’t good enough, or you’re not presenting it right. It’s time to let it go, take stock, and either dump it or heavily reform it.
Failure is a natural and healthy process. You have to put in the work, take your lumps, and then learn and improve.
That can start with admitting you got it wrong.
The Bottom Line
Many of these options require your sharing your idea with others. This is a great fear in entrepreneurs, and rightfully so. What if someone copies your idea and does it better?
But you have to weigh this concern. If your idea is so simple to do, then it can just as easily be copied once you release it. More likely, you will gain by showing your openness and your willingness to change and improve.
Do be careful of oversharing and of sharing with those whom you cannot trust. But don’t get so in love with your own idea that, even when you’re stuck, you can’t get unstuck. Getting unstuck often requires an external influence.
Good luck getting un-stuck!