“I didn’t go to university, but what I did have was a strong work ethic where I can outwork anybody and an intrinsic motivation.”

At a recent BSchool and StartupSmart webinar, strategist and founder of Republica Education Ryan Trainor offered advice on how to pin down your ideas so you’re not wasting your own time.

Half the time it’s about starting

You need to validate and talk about the idea, but don’t spend too much time stuck wondering if it’s the next Google, says Trainor. Be prepared to get stuck in and get the wheels in motion.

“Only 1% of people that have the ideas actually go for it - a successful idea doesn’t necessarily correlate with the intelligence of the person,” says Trainor.

“I didn’t go to university, but what I did have was a strong work ethic where I can outwork anybody and an intrinsic motivation.”

How valuable is your idea?

The higher the demand for the product or service the more accurate and opportune it is for a business model to be created around that, says Trainor.

Break it down and start working out steps.

What problem are you solving? Are you solving a problem for your customer?

Where does that problem sit in the pecking order, or priority list, for the group that you are targeting?

“For example, when I bought Republica,I knew what problem I wanted to solve - to make the education work force functional and meet the needs of what people actually needed,” he says.

Copying your competitors won’t work

If you keep imitating competitors, you’re fishing from the same pond as everybody else, says Trainor.

 “We spend too much time looking at our competitors and almost copying what they’re doing almost subconsciously,” he says.

Instead understand what they’re doing, and then look outside at other industries, he says.

“How are they inspiring people and what are their models? Let’s not assume that the model in this industry is right.”

Don’t get fixated – be prepared to be flexible

Problems arise when people fall in love with their idea and get to a stage where they believe their assumptions are absolutely right all the time, says Trainor.

“But if you look at some of the best businesses out there like Airbnb, the assumptions they began with compared to where they finished with are completely different.”

Look at the problem you are trying to solving and, rather than being distracted, find better solutions to the core of your business, says Trainor.

“Understand the product that you start with will not necessarily be the product that you finish with,” says Trainor. “It becomes an evolutionary process where you’re persevering or pivoting and getting active feedback.”

Don’t get wedded to your own ideas!

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