Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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How These Founders Built a $273 Million Company From Junk Computers

How These Founders Built a $273 Million Company From Junk Computers | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
With some secondhand machines, ThousandEyes became a startup tech firm with a story refreshingly different than the rest.

ThousandEyes is one of those hot, successful startups you probably never heard of with an unusual and not-very Silicon-Valley-like history.

Founded in 2010 by CEO Mohit Lad and CTO Ricardo Oliveira from their grad school work at UCLA, ThousandEyes helps ensure that when bits of the internet go down, companies can avoid being taken down too -; even if the problem is on the internet and out of their control.

"We worked together at UCLA doing our PhDs understanding how things break the internet, and how that impacts the rest of the internet," Lad told Business Insider.

ThousandEye's customers include Twitter, Equinix, ServiceNow, eBay, DocuSign, six of the top US banks, and many of the top software-as-a-service cloud companies.

The company currently employs over 130 employees and is doubling revenue annually, with good enough cash flow that it never needed to raise venture funding just to survive, Lad told us.

And that means that VCs have been tripping over themselves to invest. ThousandEyes has taken $60.5 million of investment over three rounds, at a valuation of $273 million after the last round in February, according to PitchBook.

And it all began with a bunch of computer servers that the founders scrounged out of big corporate electronics recycling bins and from a second-hand computer store in Sunnyvale known as Weird Stuff. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

or "Done for You Business Plan": http://bit.ly/12KAGmM

Dave...I downloaded your business plan template...It is great!!!...My tax consultants say your plan is amazing. Thanks Dave!!!


Via ventureLAB
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

What's the best way to get funded? Create a #startup with a working model.

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Here are 3 Ways to get your Boss to respect your Ideas

Here are 3 Ways to get your Boss to respect your Ideas | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Business news with a unique twist. Business Grapevine explores the best leadership, strategy, economy, innovation, and diversity in the business world, while providing lifestyle tips for senior professionals.

We all strive for perfection, but often fall somewhat short of it. Maybe we overanalyse issues or we don’t follow through on promises, or maybe we aren’t putting the best version of ourselves out there to begin with.

When it comes to being respected at work, there are certain steps that you can take to ensure that your superiors don’t think you’re just there for the paycheque. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Done for You Business Plan: http://bit.ly/12KAGmM

Dave...I downloaded your business plan template...It is great!!!...My tax consultants say your plan is amazing. Thanks Dave!!!


Via TechinBiz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How to thrive in the #workplace and get noticed with new #ideas.

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Things to Do Before Starting a Small Business

Things to Do Before Starting a Small Business | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

The idea of starting a small business can be very intimidating. The pressures and pitfalls loom large, making one wonder if it is worth the effort. But with zeal, planning, and diligence you can deal with, if not avoid most of these pitfalls. The key here is a good foundation. So, without further ado, here are a few steps that will help you start your small business with every chance of success. Read more" click image or title.

 

 

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Via TechinBiz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Here are some basics to look at before starting a #business.

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, August 3, 2016 8:45 AM

Start with a simple #businessplan and make the foundation for good business practices.

Grimel's curator insight, August 3, 2016 4:18 PM

Mi empresa, que considerar antes de un emprendimiento.

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9 Questions That Will Determine Whether Your Startup Idea Is Worth Pursuing

9 Questions That Will Determine Whether Your Startup Idea Is Worth Pursuing | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
 

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

What is one important question I can ask to evaluate whether a startup idea I have is worth pursuing? Read more: click image or title.

 

 

Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

 

 


Via Pantelis Chiotellis
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Do some soul searching before committing to being a #founder and going through hell, for a while.

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FI.co: Checklist: 10 Rules for a Great Startup Idea

FI.co: Checklist: 10 Rules for a Great Startup Idea | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Even though it's trendy in startups to say that ideas mean nothing and execution means everything, the reality is much less binary and much more nuanced. For example, even the world’s best entrepreneur with incredible execution will fail if their idea is fundamentally flawed, or if their market is too small.

Adeo Ressi, the Founder & CEO of the Founder Institute, preaches a list of "10 Rules to a Great Startup Idea"; an infographic of which was previously featured on Business Insider in an article by Megan Rose Dickey. This list provides a great starting point for people who want to evaluate their startup ideas at the very first stage. 

What we have found is that if an early-stage founder can check off the ten items below, they have a solid foundation by which to start a company. You are absolutely not assured success if you can check off these items (nor are you assured failure if you can’t), but your chances of success are much, much higher if you can. 

See the infographic below, and scroll down further for a full explanation. To see the infographic and article click on image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great #infographic and #article.

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Can You Predict a Startup’s Success Based on the Concept Alone?

Can You Predict a Startup’s Success Based on the Concept Alone? | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Research suggests you can—but only in some industries.

It’s easy to make fun of bad startup ideas – Airbnb for toilets? – but it’s not so easy to pick the good ones ahead of time. Just ask venture capitalists, the vast majority of whom lose money. The difficulty of separating good ideas from bad is part of why angel investors end up investing based largely on the founding team.

So does the initial idea matter at all to a startup’s success?

New research helps answer this question and reinforces just how hard it is to pick a startup based on the idea alone. The paper, by Erin Scott of the National University of Singapore, Pian Shu of Harvard Business School, and Roman Lubynsky of MIT, finds that the perceived quality of a startup idea predicts success in some sectors, but not in others. If you’re investing in startups in life sciences or energy, for instance, the initial idea seems to matter more than if you’re investing in software or consumer products. Read more: click image or title.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It better be a combination of multiple factors: #idea, #team, #mentors, etc.

Increase the chances of finding #seedfunding.


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3 Dirty Little Habits That Will Kill Your Entrepreneurial Dreams

3 Dirty Little Habits That Will Kill Your Entrepreneurial Dreams | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

If it seems like everyone else is succeeding but you -- you might be sabotaging your success with these bad behaviors.

If you look around and see other entrepreneurs who are succeeding where you are not, you may want to look deeper. Sometimes our lives simply don’t progress at the same rate as others.

However, if you’re noticing a trend that your ship never seems to be coming in, you may be guilty of unconsciously engaging in one, or even all, of these three dirty little habits that will hold you back from greatnes.

Do a self-assessment and see if you are practicing any of these destructive behaviors. Read more: click on image or title.





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Dave....
I downloaded your business plan template ...It is  great!!! we have a successful delivery service already running today ...This plan is for a new liquor store idea ...my tax consultants say your plan is amazing..Thanks Dave!!!
Aja Noyes
Shift Gear Deliveries


Via StartupYard
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The main obstacle to success is yourself. If you can believe you can do it, you will. Stop putting it off, get started, line up your ideas, make a plan, weigh your options, and get going.

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Chrissie Webber 'Powering Business Potential''s curator insight, April 28, 2015 9:35 AM

1 More Dirty Little Habit id 'Priority Inverting'. By that I mean concentrating on doing very busy work that you have given a high priority to. This is work you love doing but no clients have requested it and no short or medium term sales will be generated from the activity.

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This Woman's Revolutionary Idea Made Her A Billionaire — And Could Change Medicine

This Woman's Revolutionary Idea Made Her A Billionaire — And Could Change Medicine | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

She created an amazing blood test that can be done without a doctor and is incredibly cheap. The new testing methods developed by Holmes' startup Theranos, that lone drop can now yield a ton of information.

The next time you get a blood test, you might not have to go to the doctor and watch vials of blood fill up as the precious fluid is drawn from your arm.

No more wondering to yourself, "Ah, how much more can they take before I pass out?"

Instead you might be able to walk into a Walgreens pharmacy for a reportedly painless fingerprick that will draw just a tiny drop of blood, thanks to Elizabeth Holmes, 30, the youngest woman and third-youngest billionaire on Forbes' newly released annual ranking of the 400 richest Americans.

Revolutionizing the blood test is a golden idea.

Because of new testing methods developed by Holmes' startup Theranos, that lone drop can now yield a ton of information.

The company can run hundreds of tests on a drop of blood far more quickly than could be done with whole vials in the past — and it costs a lot less.

A Billion-Dollar Idea

Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 to found what would become Theranos after deciding that her tuition money could be better put to use by transforming healthcare.

Traditional blood testing is shockingly difficult and expensive for a tool that's used so frequently. It also hasn't changed since the 1960s.

It's done in hospitals and doctors' offices. Vials of blood have to be sent out and tested, which can take weeks using traditional methods and is prone to human error. And, of course, sticking a needle in someone's arm scares some people enough that they avoid getting blood drawn, even when it could reveal lifesaving information.

Holmes recognized that process was ripe for disruption.

It took a decade for her idea to be ready for primetime, but now it seems that her decision to drop out was undoubtedly a good call. Last year, Walgreen Co. announced that it would be installing Theranos Wellness Centers in pharmacies across the country, with locations already up and running in Phoenix and Palo Alto, California. And Holmes has raised $400 million in venture capital for Theranos, which is now valued at $9 billion (Holmes owns 50%).

The other two 30-year-olds on Forbes' List, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his former roommate and Facebook CEO Dustin Moskovitz, also have access to a wealth of information about people — but their data is less likely to directly save a life.


How It Works

One closely guarded secret is what MedCityNews calls "the most interesting part of [the Theranos] story": how exactly the technology behind its blood test works. The company's methods are protected by more than a dozen patents filed as far back as 2004 and as recently as last week.

In an interview with Wired, Holmes hinted at some of the key ideas behind Theranos.

"We had to develop ... methodologies that would make it possible to accelerate results," she said. "In the case of a virus or bacteria, traditionally tested using a culture, we measure the DNA of the pathogen instead so we can report results much faster."

While we can't yet assess independently how well that method works when compared with traditional blood tests, it already seems to be upending the old way of doing things.

Why Blood Tests?

Holmes told Medscape that she targeted lab medicine because it drives about 80% of clinical decisions made by doctors.

By zeroing in on the inefficiencies of that system, the Theranos approach completely revolutionizes it.

The new tests can be done without going to the doctor, which saves both money and time. Most results are available in about four hours, which means that you could swing by a pharmacy and have a test done the day before a doctor's visit, and then the results would be available for the physician.

Quick tests that can be done at any time are already a total change, but the amount of data the company can get from a single drop of blood is amazing.

Blood samples have traditionally been used for one test, but if a follow-up was needed, another sample had to be drawn and sent out — making it less likely that someone would get care. The Theranos approach means the same drop can be used for dozens of different tests.

It's cheap, too. One common criticism of the healthcare system is that the pricing structure is a confusing labyrinth that makes it impossible to know how much anything costs. Theranos lists its prices online, and they're impressive.

Each test costs less than 50% of standard Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates. If those two programs were to perform all tests at those prices, they'd save $202 billion over the next decade, Holmes said in an interview on Wired.

Plus, people get access to their own results.

As an example of how helpful that can be, Holmes told Wired that Theranos charges $35 for a fertility test, which is usually paid for out-of-pocket and costs up to $2,000.

But she also said that this data could be useful for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of his or her health.

"By testing, you can start to understand your body, understand yourself, change your diet, change your lifestyle, and begin to change your life," she said.


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km




Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great idea and lots of work: 10 years.

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malek's curator insight, October 5, 2014 12:53 PM

The "Steve Jobs"  of blood analysis innovation.A woman, entrepreneur and youngest Forbes 400 self-made billionaire. 

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The Startup Curve

The Startup Curve | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

oh no ... the trough of sorrow




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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's a learning process. When reality hits, the 'work' comes. Mastery and success are much later. The work needs to be done.

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StartupVitamins: Quotes for Startups & Offices

StartupVitamins: Quotes for Startups & Offices | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Startup Vitamins provides inspiration and motivation for startups - and supports them too!
Startup Vitamins is a recently launched project, which offers inspiring posters with sayings from industry leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Jason Fried, and more.

Profit from sold posters goes towards supporting various organizations, which develop and bring value to the startup community. Currently profits are split between StartupWeekend and Garage48, both of which help ideas come to life around the world.



See more Quotes? Want it in your office? Order a Poster, Canvas, Mug, Sticker or Framed Print from StartupVitamins . Click here, support Startups, motivate yourself.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A great idea? Don't keep on thinking about it, turning around in circles, start somewhere. Jot down your main bullet points, sketch, find partners, create, start, do it. Once it's moving it's like a train: hard to stop.

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The Only Entrepreneurship Lesson You Need (with Do/Don’t Reading List)

The Only Entrepreneurship Lesson You Need (with Do/Don’t Reading List) | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

When I was first getting into entrepreneurship, I asked Mark Cuban what he read or studied to learn how to start and build businesses. His response:


“Experience. It’s the only reliable teacher I’ve ever had. No books ever captured what it’s really like. You just gotta do it.”


Mark’s smarter than me on most things, but on this, I think he’s wrong.


Sort of.

 

Read more: click image or title.

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Via Pantelis Chiotellis
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

You basically need three things...

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Crafting Your Story to Pitch Your Great Idea

Crafting Your Story to Pitch Your Great Idea | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Once you've finally come up with that brilliant idea, here's a way to get people excited about it.

If coming up with a brilliant idea is hard, getting people to agree with you can prove just as difficult. 

"We operate under this assumption that the world will magically see how great our idea is, but great ideas get rejected all the time," said David Burkus, author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas. 

Burkus, who also teaches creativity and innovation courses at Oral Roberts University, spoke to Money Talking host Charlie Herman about how to recognize and pitch great ideas.

He suggested a five criteria checklist for structuring a pitch or judging which idea to invest time in. Read more: click image or title.

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Via Karen Dietz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Storytellers share how to #pitch your #idea to get people excited.

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Karen Dietz's curator insight, September 9, 2016 11:16 AM

Here's a fab post about how to formulate your story when you are getting to pitch your idea. But don't get stuck on the word 'pitch'. Think any presentation where you want to influence people:

  1. Selling your project across the organization
  2. Project reports when a decision or action is a desired outcome
  3. Sales presentations to alliances or prospects
  4. Anytime you need to raise funds or gain resources

 

What I really like about this article is that it's not a formula per se, but a way to think about your presentation and get your thoughts organized. That's the hard part, really.

 

Once you get these 5 points down, it will be easy to put together your presentation. Story on!

 

This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it. Follow her on Twitter @kdietz

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, September 9, 2016 3:25 PM

StoryTelling insights to 'wow' your public.

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Marc Andreessen's Best Advice: Build Your Passion Before Your Startup

Marc Andreessen's Best Advice: Build Your Passion Before Your Startup | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Are we passionate about a product, an idea, or a company and the entrepreneur lifestyle?

...

“The way we think about it is that there are products that become startups, and then there are startups that try to build a product,” he said....

 

Read more: click image or title.

 

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

 

 

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A lot of #entrepreneurs build products and companies to make money. Marc Andreessen wants to see #founders to be passionalte about what they do first.

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The Only Two Things You Need for Entrepreneurial Success

The Only Two Things You Need for Entrepreneurial Success | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

There’s a disease spreading throughout the United States among today’s aspiring entrepreneurs. It's called the “big idea syndrome.” Many people assume that all that separates them from business and financial success is one great idea.  Having worked with several entrepreneurs over the years, I have discovered that what distinguish a thriving business owner from one that is barely surviving isn’t more start-up capital, more talent or even access to more resources (though having these things does help). It’s perseverance and self-belief.

Njeri Rionge, co-founder of Wananchi Online, East Africa’s first mass market Internet service provider, has used this mind-set to become a pioneer in the IT industry, a position typically reserved for men. “I have no time to think about challenges,” Rionge told How We Made it in Africa magazine. Because I convert them, they stop being challenges. I have been at many points where I knew the cookie was about to crumble, but my focus was [that] it cannot crumble. Therefore, I focus on the upward movement.” Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

What distinguishes one entrepreneur's success from another's failure?

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andy alagappan's curator insight, December 12, 2015 6:07 PM

Develop your unique value proposition 

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How to Tell if Your Next Business Idea Is a Winner or an Epic Loser

How to Tell if Your Next Business Idea Is a Winner or an Epic Loser | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Nine out of 10 startups close up shop. Here are a few signs you're a winner.

Failure is so common among entrepreneurs that it's not only accepted, it's celebrated as a learning experience. I've failed several times in my life. I've gone from millionaire to broke several times. It's the life of an entrepreneur. Just because I have failed doesn't mean that I'm a bad person or a failure in life.

Even the most well-known and well-respected entrepreneurs, like Bill Gates, had business ideas that didn't pan out before finding success and have been in similar situations. And while there is some truth in the idea that you can learn something from failure, it's also unacceptable to continue to have the dismal stats that startups still garner: Nine out of 10 startups close up shop.

Why is this statistic so unacceptable?

Because in most circumstances it's avoidable.

CB Insights has been examining more than 100 failed startups and has discovered that the main culprit in most cases was that there wasn't a market need for their business idea. What? As Erin Griffith perfectly, and directly, states in Fortune:


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's a lot easier to create products or services for existing markets than to create them. This article makes a great point.

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An Open Letter to Start-Ups – You Are Doing It Wrong | Joe Pulizzi | LinkedIn

An Open Letter to Start-Ups – You Are Doing It Wrong | Joe Pulizzi | LinkedIn | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

I’ve been there.  You have what you believe is an amazing idea, one that will take the world by storm.  You put all your energy into it.  You scrap for money and resources wherever and however you can.

Finally, after years of thinking and months of hard work, you launch.  And wait…

If you are like most entrepreneurs, the first start-up is surely a failure.  According to OnStartups.com, first-time entrepreneurs have just an 18% success rate. Not even a two in 10 chance?

Want better news? Henry Blodget, co-founder of Business Insider (among other accolades), places the success rate of one of the most successful start-up accelerators on the planet, Y Combinator, at a mere 10% or less.

If you are an entrepreneur or part of a start-up, you already know the odds are already stacked against you. Read more: click image or title.





Create your own capital raising instruments, stop chasing investors, write your own termsheet with Financial Architect®

More here: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/RaisingCapital.html

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This article will make you think about your #startup or your idea for one. Great story, going through all the hoops and finally finding what works.

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21 Things You Need to Know to Validate Your Startup Idea

21 Things You Need to Know to Validate Your Startup Idea | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

http://snip.ly/17pA

This is from a talk I gave today at Lean Startup Machine (LSM) in Silicon Valley. LSM is a three day workshop for learning customer development and Lean Startup techniques. I founded the workshop series five years ago and it’s been hosted in over one hundred cities around the world.

Make sure you check out #19, which is a key point. Since this post is somewhat of a rant, I’d like to confess I’ve been guilty of not doing almost everything below. I’m sharing this knowledge to help others who are about to walk the same path of entrepreneurship.

Read more: http://snip.ly/17pA




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"The team at Growthink delivered exceptional quality service in every aspect of their client services. Their staff of professionals were extremely instrumental in fine tuning my creative vision into a well developed business plan."
James E. Spence, Jr, Founder & CEO
At Bread Boutique

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Having a great idea is one thing. Testing and validating is the next step. You can't just fantasize on paper and jot down numbers. The idea needs to evolve. Trevor Owens describes the process in a very clear way. This is part of the information that you will put in a business plan, eventually. Highly recommended read.

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Will your new business idea succeed?

Will your new business idea succeed? | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

"What if you can test your idea without wasting time and money?"

That's a question worth thinking about. 

Many of people have ideas, and every now and then they come across ideas that might be worth pursuing. Most however, do nothing with those ideas due many reasons such as:

They simply don’t know where to start -  

“I have a great idea! but no clue on what to do with it”. The thought
process of turning an idea to a product can be daunting to certain
individuals, especially when it exists outside of their field of knowledge.

They’re afraid of FAILURE -

The word “failure” above is in all-caps because thats how much people get intimidated by the idea of it. Will my idea work? Is this going to be worth all my time and money? What if I fail?

One way of finding out if an idea is feasible and worth pursuing is to
produce a MVP (Minimum Viable Product). 

QuickMVP is a website that does just that. It helps you test any business idea in just five minutes, without writing any code. Through building a landing page and creating a Google Ad, you can see how real customers respond to your idea before investing precious time and money.

Here's the basic setup:

Landing Page

* Get it live in 3 minutes
* Plain and simple--test your idea, not your design
* Connect any domain name
* Customize the CSS and add your own HTML (optional)
* Test unlimited ideas

Google Ad Creator

* Takes 2 minutes with no expertise necessary
* Add keywords and a budget and you're done
* Automatically optimized for Google's Algorithm

QuickMVP is designed specifically for validating new business ideas and it helps you identify the important metrics to decide if an idea is worth pursuing.

Let us know in the comments if you try QuickMVP. Did it work out for you? 


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Sounds like a great tool for testing new ideas and startup businesses. Give it a try.

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$1 Million for a Great Idea

$1 Million for a Great Idea | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Behold the world's largest business idea competition. Eyes on the $1 million prize. Come and collect your cash ...

With $5 million in cash prizes, including a top award of $1 million, six $500,000 awards and four $250,000 awards, 43North is setting out to turn the best new business ideas from around the globe into reality.

Winners also receive free incubator space for a year, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs.

43North is open to applicants in any industry, with the exception of retail and hospitality. Winners agree to operate their business in the Buffalo, New York for a minimum of one year and provide 43North with 5% non-dilutive equity in their company.

The competition includes three rounds of judging:
        1.  Feb 5, 2014 to May 31, 2014: 43North accepts applications via 43North.org – apply here.
        2.  Sept 15, 2014 to Sept 20, 2014: Semifinalists present their plans via webinar
        3.  Oct 27, 2014 to Oct 30, 2014: Finalists present their plans during a weeklong series of events in Buffalo, NY

43North is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, which is driving new economic opportunities throughout Buffalo and Western New York. The competition operates through the support of New York Power Authority and Launch NY.

To see the site with full information, click on the title or image.



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Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Ideas finally get rewarded! This needs to be done everywhere, not just in the Buffalo,NY area.


Don't forget your business plan.

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