Kevin Hale's video on 'How to evaluate startup ideas' was the first video we watched on our Startup School journey. It was a great lesson which gave us actionable steps to take, so we thought we'd share a summary in the spirit of learning and growing together

Check in 1 - Are you even a startup?

Your first step is to confirm that you are looking to grow your company, this means you're working in a startup. If you're not looking to grow your company right away then you wouldn't consider your company as a startup, rather a new company where growth isn't your primary goal. Of course this is perfectly fine, and this initial check in helps founders to understand their initial position.

checkin1

Check in 2 - Is your startup idea complete?

You know you want to grow your company and your startup idea is a hypothesis, how do you prove it?

checkin2

Problem

The 'best' problems to solve should fall into one or more of these categories - Popular, Growing, Urgent, Expensive, Mandatory, Frequent. The more categories your problem falls into, the higher the chance of success as you'll be solving a problem which is high in demand.

Your users' behaviour will be impacted by Motivation + Ability + Trigger - all of these need to happen at the same time. The problem is the motivation for your users searching for a solution. Your startup provides the ability to solve the users' problem. The trigger is to get your product in front of your users at the right time which is where some startups can struggle.

Solution

The only advice here is - don't start with the solution!

Avoid SISP (solution in search for a problem) - no great product was created by starting with a solution! Always start with the problem.

Insight

You need to know that your startup holds an unfair advantage. This is usually seen within the categories below:

  • Founders: you need to be 1 out of 10 specialists in a given field (99% of startups funded at YC don't fall into this bracket)
  • Market: the market for your product should be growing rapidly, roughly at 20% per year, so that you can be confident of the consistent demand
  • Product: aim for your product to be at least 10x better than alternative products available to your users - this will increase the likelihood of investment
  • Acquisition: ideally your growth should be organic and cost $0 - paid acquisition can be a growth driver but is not sustainable
  • Monopoly: you want to grow your startup in a way that prevents competitors entering the market

Check in 3 - Do you have the right beliefs?

checkin3

Threshold belief is the minimum requirement to make your startup succeed e.g. can you build the solution to your problem? This belief has to be met and isn't the most important one.

Miracle belief is where your focus should be e.g. can you build a solution to your problem which takes over the market you're addressing? This belief will ensure your company is able to sell well and can convince customers that you're the best.

How we applied this to our startup

For everypage, we had considered our problem and solution when starting to build out our product however we hadn't considered the most crucial aspect - insight! The video from Kevin reminded us that we needed to highlight our unfair advantage which we've shared below.

Problem: current landing page builders are all drag and drop solutions - they don't fit into a development workflow, they're hard to version control, hard to maintain different versions at the same time, etc. Many of these tools also require the users to be creative themselves and don't really help in terms of how to write and structure content and optimise for SEO

Solution: a landing page builder that is more like a library than an online tool.

Insight: if the tool allows users to declare their page in a simple format, it can be version controlled, which brings along all of the great processes seen in software engineering.

Are you ready to grow your startup?

I hope this summary has helped you to validate your startup idea. I know it certainly helped us have a better perspective on everypage, particularly in how we can succeed with our insight on a common problem with landing page builders. I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on your startup idea, feel free to share with me on twitter or email.