#ask-ih How do I get started?

Hi IH,
I am having trouble getting started.

How do you go about finding target markets and deciding on which one you want to focus on? What is your process for how to look for problems in the market? And do you have a process for identifying solutions and deciding which solution to go with?

  1. 2

    I'm in a process.

    I wonder how to get startup idea means how to find a first customer. You should be a superuser for anything before building. Like coding, blogging and etc. You can discover a new idea while doing it :)

  2. 1
    • Keep a list of your ideas.
    • test your ideas with Google Ads or Facebook ads: that's cheap and that will tell you one important thing: are people searching for this stuff? If yes, you might be onto something.
    • build a prototype
    • test it with real people
    • iterate
    1. 1

      How do you test it with google ad words? What steps do you take?

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        depends a bit on the idea, but if you're thinking of a physical product, get a graphics person to make a nice 'model' rendering. If it's a web app/site, put together a mock / intro and build a basic web page with an email form to collect info. Some 'coming soon' or 'register for private beta' kind of landing page. Something to land to that introduces what you want to build.
        This is not the most critical part. It needs to look convincing enough, but the most important part is to figure if people search for your idea / terms, and if they click and are willing to give away their info to get more details.
        Google Adwords reports will also tell you what search phrase users were looking for exactly when they clicked on your ad, which is usually very insightful (maybe they're searching for something similar that triggered your ad, but it's not quite what you were thinking).

        Before that, you might even want to build up a list of keywords and test them in the various tools that show you who is betting on those keywords. Examples of such tools here:
        That will give you a trove of info on who might be your competition.
        Competition is good: that means there is a market. No competition is usually not a good sign, unless you've got some revolutionary techno, which is probably not going to be easy to sell (coz revolutionary needs a lot of explaining)

        Competitive analysis helps you figure where you might have an edge, how you can position your idea wrt the competition, a niche target market you might want to start with...

        The key is: figure all this out BEFORE you build anything. So many people build stuff and then try to sell it, to figure out there is no market, too many competitors, too small of a market, etc...

        Ads is for 'testing' the market. Then pick up those people who might have given you their info and show them your prototype and get feedback, understand their pain point, and how much they'd be willing to pay for the product, and figure if it's viable.

        Cheers and good luck

        1. 1

          Thank you! That was really helpful!

  3. 1

    I find problems that I have. Many of the successful projects with whichI've come into contact were problems people had. Not always personal problems, but something they encountered at a job.

    For example, I know someone who took a very specific issue about server access control and we had a unique way of gluing that together at a job we had. He took that glue and turned it into a full-on company, because there were many people in this situation.

    This process is hard. Some people are idea people, some people are execution people. But you can be an idea person. IMO it's a lot easier to be an idea person than an execution person. Find something you like. Write down 1-5 ideas each day for a week and you'll have quite a few ideas, maybe they are all bad, but keep writing them, eventually one will be the right fit for you.

    So I never focus on the market. I am a parent so I deal with kids and schools. I'm an engineer so I deal with recruiting and software, these are potentially four or more markets. Then there's any hobbies I have, cooking, video games, hiking, etc. Each of those markets has sub-markets but rather than focus on those I just think about the problems I have and try to tackle the ones that are the quickest to validate.

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