Try and say that ten times fast. Tongue-twisters aside, the topic has spurred endless debates and countless discussions. Though a successful business requires more than just a great idea, the idea itself plays a key role in the vision and evolution of company. Perseverance, determination, and dedication are all critical to any new venture, but the basis for any new company must start with the core offering. This leads us to the original question: do the most successful start-ups stem from the identification of a market need and/or inefficiency, or from a simple problem-solving exercise that happens to bring about an unlikely business opportunity?
Some believe it is more of a science. These entrepreneurs start by identifying a potential market inefficiency or flaw. Research and due diligence is then conducted. If the idea is validated and a significant opportunity presents itself, then a business venture is launched.
This systematic approach usually follows a more traditional path, which includes the likes of an incorporation, financing, and strategic business plan. Specific goals and milestones are set forth and board meetings ensure that these targets are being met.
The key to this approach is tactical planning and pinpoint execution. If the idea is good and the implementation is smooth, then success is probable.
Often times, serendipity plays a role in the business creation process. An average citizen, likely with little business knowledge or expertise, attempts to solve a nagging problem. In doing so, he/she stumbles across an ingenious solution which may help others with the same problem. This discovery stage leads to a entrepreneurial stage when a business is created.
A more sporadic, less formalized business direction is usually followed. This dynamic form of business bodes well for flexiblity and change, but lacks in terms of guidance. Nevertheless, such an unplanned strategy has worked successfully for many in the past. Craigslist is a great example of this. Initially, Craig Newmark launched a simple, regional list of current events. His idea eventually blossomed into the world’s largest online classified ads site.
What can we all learn from this? Successful start-ups can stem from either origin. Essentially, this means that we haven’t learned anything at all, other than the fact that a great business idea can be conceived at any time, under any circumstances.
In order to gauge the success rate of both approaches, comprehensive research would need to be conducted. Even then, a case-by-case analysis is the only way to truly extract any reasonable conclusions. Therefore, an idea should be judged based on innovation and opportunity, not origin.
What’s your take on successful start-ups? A science? Serendipity? A combination of both? Neither?