What is the shortest list of things you need to take care of before quitting the 9-to-5 to start a startup?


The following is a guest post from fnBlog Contributor MarcHoag, Co-founder and CEO of VentuRocket. This post, originally posted on Quora, is a short list of things you should do before committing to work on a startup.

Nothing: stop getting stuck in PBA: that’s Paralysis By Analysis.

As I’ve posted elsewhere on Quora, ask yourself the following questions:

(1) Is there a (genuine) need for your product? You will notice that I did NOT ask “Do people need your product?” It is often the case that most people do not even realize what they need until they have it. Accordingly, the question is not whether people consciously recognize they need something, but whether there is a need generally, i.e. is there some problem that needs to be solved.)

(2) Will people be better off if you build your product? Will your idea actually have some tangible benefit to your users? Will the world be at least a slightly better place because of it? Will people, once they have it, not be able to imagine living without it?

(3) Do you genuinely believe in your product? This isn’t just a question of “do you like your idea” or “are you determined to do it no matter what.” The question is, can you genuinely look yourself in the mirror and answer the above two questions in the affirmative? Do you truly — but not “passionately,” as passion implies an emotional bias, and this is not for you to give pause to reflect upon your “feelings” but rather your objective analysis of your idea — do you truly and rationally believe in your product to such a degree that you can make others around you believe in it too? Which leads to Question 4…

(4) …Do others want your product when you tell them about it? This is sort of a trick question though. The two extreme answers should be tossed out as outliers: both “Dude, that’s a GREAT idea!” and “Meh. It’s ok” don’t really mean much. In the first, if it’s so obvious, it either has been tried and doesn’t work or is fatally flawed to such a degree that it doesn’t exist. In the latter, your idea is actually worthless or they can’t be bothered to think about it. Either way, both extreme answers offer you little feedback. The best answer is something that goes like this: a speechless, confused expression followed by doubt, some questions, some more doubt, perhaps even a moment or two of utter disbelief, at last concluded with a double-take followed by an “aha! eureka moment. If you keep getting this sort of reaction, you probably have a pretty disruptive and useful idea: it’s hard to grasp initially, represents an unorthodox answer or complete paradigm change to a very obvious problem, and offers a remarkable solution that no one had considered before.

(5) How long have you been thinking about doing this? I have a feeling this question will prove the most controversial within the Quora community, but I firmly believe that if you’ve had your idea for a long time — years, perhaps — and rather than fading it only gets stronger and more pressing in your mind, it is probably something really special and worth pursuing. We only get wiser and more experienced as time goes on, which is why most ideas fade into obsolescence with time. Those ideas whose value increases over time must be something truly unique indeed.

And finally… the “obvious but still needs to be asked” question:

(6) Do YOU want your product? Would YOU use your product?

Seriously: is this a product that you couldn’t live without? Is this something that you want — and would — use all the time?

If you answered the above questions in the affirmative, stop reading Quora, stop doubting yourself, and go start building your new startup NOW.

And do as Nike says. Because after all, everything in life has a chance of failure, and it is far better to fail at something you love than to fail at something you don’t.

Want to learn more about @venturocket?  Check out Marc’s Quora profile or connect with him on Twitter @marchoag

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