Ideas and Validation April 18, 2019

How I deal with too many business ideas

Michaela @Madamdo

Some people struggle because they have too many business ideas, others struggle because they have none. I have too many. And that can be quite a distraction.

I wrote about my personal strategy for dealing with so many ideas that ensures I still make progress on building my business.

In a nutshell, I do not work on the ideas. (HA!) I just note down concrete ideas and then work on shared patterns among business ideas.

Well, okay, my strategy is way more elaborate to summarize in a sentence, therefore I wrote a blog post:

And what about you? How do you deal with too many business ideas? I am super curious!

  1. 3

    I think I am in same boat as you.

    I made mistake of only picking 1 idea instead of working on multiple ideas 3 years ago and I learnt lesson hard way. I picked a idea which was most interesting to me but it had some competition. And my competitor crushed me by adding some many extra features by the time my project was ready that I decided not to invest more. On other hand, idea I decided to let go was something which was new in that niche and my solution would be first one in market. But last year, I show someone already executed that idea and already making millions.

    So I have changed my strategy now, I am working on 3 ideas now but they are not in same stage.

    Idea1 - Launched extension - Marketing Stage
    Launched my dashify chrome extension yesterday.
    I picked this idea because this idea would require least amount of money, it will be SaaS so it will generate revenue for future development of this and other ideas. And also was not niche specific. Any user who uses internet will find this useful, so it will have less marketing cost.

    Idea2 - Development Stage
    As I moved my chrome extension from development stage to launch stage, I plan to start development of 2nd idea. This idea is niche specific but it solves very basic issue in that niche and not only that its difficult to make money without doing marketing. So I kept this idea second queue,

    Idea3 - Analysis Stage
    I am going analysis on competitors, scope, technology research, investment required etc. I kept this idea for last because it will require massive investment , so it will move to development only after idea1 start generating profits. But this idea has potential to be huge, and if I dont execute it now someone else will definitely do it in next couple of years.
    Problem working on multiple ideas is now your focus and time will be divided in 3 project. You can't let that happen, you still have to keep 100% focus on all projects in 1/3 time by hiring right people.
    example : for my idea1, I used to spend 3-4 hours with developer daily to talk about tasks, ideas, UI, testing etc .. Now, he can handle everything on his own and I just chat with him 15-30 minutes a day and talk with him 1-2 hr once a week to decide his weekly / monthly development tasks / goals.. so I can find time to focus on other project..

    So lessons I learned

    • If you pick one idea, pick idea which has less or no competition and can generate more revenue in less development time
    • If you work on multiple ideas, prioritize and don't focus on doing everything yourself.
    1. 1

      Thank you for the long and detailed write-up. Many things that resonated with me.
      How do you manage to hire before generating revenue with your ideas?

  2. 2

    Pick one, get to work! My bias would be to pick the one that's the most promising in terms of requiring the least effort to try.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for the answer. I like the least effort to try consideration. Which of your side business was like that in the beginning?

      1. 3

        I had lots of business ideas back in July 2016. I picked Indie Hackers because I knew I could go from idea to launch in less than a month. It ended up taking 3 weeks.

        Conducting an interview was as simple as sending emails. Building the site was as simple as setting up a blog (although I opted to build from scratch). And finding readers was as simple as posting to Hacker News. No major blockers that would take months to get out the door.

        1. 1

          Yes, that makes total sense. And what happened after you started working on Indie Hackers? Did the idea flow stop or became less because you found the thing that is right for you? Or do you still have ideas popping in your head calling you that aren't aligned with Indie Hackers?

  3. 1

    Yea, I have the same problem. Too many ideas and too many active projects. I have 13 active projects and 5 ideas to reliase in few next months. The only thing that helps me to deal with all this stress is . Every day I am waking up and thinking about this day, what should I do a lot of stress...

    1. 1

      Why didn`t you try to choose another type of relaxing? I may understand that you do not know much about cbd and marijuana if you are a newbie. Try to find something except gummies on I recommend this site because I am using it for a really long time and trust them at 100%, also, they have comfortable prices and it is important too!

  4. 1

    The one that seems the probably the right one to focus on

    1. 1

      Interesting choice. Why the scariest? Do you think it yields most profit?

      1. 1

        When an idea seems to easy to do, the barrier to entry is usually very low. That means, even if you are profitable, you'll quickly have competition (see XYZ project management system).

        The scarier ideas require more work and more thought. They tend to yield higher returns as a result.

  5. 1

    I have this spreadsheet named after my father, the first real entrepreneur I met in my life.

    Every time I see myself too obsessed with a new idea I open a new copy of the file and try to fill it in the best way I can. I have dozens of those files worked out for the past 10 years.

    The sheet has three basic sections: investment (funds to put the idea on its feet), operational costs and GTM/Sales. With all that filled in I could get a sense of payback and ROI.

    The most challenging aspect of this approach using a spreadsheet is that you have to wild guess demand and sales volumes, which is... you know... very hard.

    1. 1

      I love that idea. Thanks for sharing. I also elaborate on the ideas in terms of time, resources, technologies, skills, money investment and what not they need. Can you share some more specific questions that you fill in in yur spreadsheet? Would love to see it.

      1. 1

        Sure! =) The spreadsheet has several tabs, one for each aspect of the business.

        • Presentation
        • Market
        • Investment
        • Implementation
        • Operations (all but core-business work)
        • Production (core-business details)
        • Marketing and Sales
        • Taxes (because taxes in Brazil are so complex they deserve special attention)
        • Results
        • Analysis
        • References (links to external sources of information I used to fill in the sheets)

        Looking only at the Presentation sheet, here are the questions (loosely translated into English):

        • What's the name of the business? Not necessarily the brand, but just a general name you use to refer to it (e.g. jobs portal, swimming school, pub)
        • What is the business "pitch"?
        • Which market(s) will the business operate in?
        • What was the initial motivation for the business/idea?
        • Who are the ultimate stakeholders of your business? (buyers and users)
        • Who are your suppliers/partners?
        • How much do you have available to invest?
        • How much investment does the business need?
        • What are the sources of investment?
        • Are any loans necessary? From whom?
        • When do you think you are going to reach payback (months)?
        • How much money do you expect to make until you reach payback? (your personal money. like a salary/compensation)
        • And after?
        1. 1

          Thanks so much. Awesome!

  6. 1

    That’s a great write up. I truly resonate with your comment on the reason there are so many business ideas is that we are still searching. That’s true of me and I got a couple of good pointers from you on timeboxing as well as not acting on it immediately.

    Some other things which I do is based on my background in marketing and market research

    • I will research the idea for a few hours and find competitors and what others have done and add it to my notes. Just helps me when I return back to this idea I don’t start from scratch.

    • I will sometimes find patterns amongst my ideas and draw conclusions as to where my search is heading towards. Sometimes I see logical reasons most times i don’t.

    Thanks for the link gave me a few more ways to think of these ideas.

    1. 1

      Yes, same for me. Sometimes I feel like, it totally looks like I am going to make conferences/workshops or such, and then, a few weeks later, I am like, oh maybe it is going to be the product track after all.

      I like the market research angle. I do that too, but I feel the initial research is never really significant. Often, I find competitors only after spending several weeks or month on building the business, because only then do I understand the whole scope, and do I use the right keywords or slight variations of them.