So many people walk around wanting to start something interesting, but don’t regularly encounter big opportunities in their everyday lives. Other people deeply need solutions to the frustrating issues that surround them. This relates back to the Trap of Small Thinking. A teacher at a school typically doesn’t have expertise to successfully pull off a web app for her kids, even though she might see an opportunity in the market.
Imagine an online platform where people could submit ideas specific to the industry in which they work. It’d be similar to GitTip, a “simple platform.”
A teacher, coach, pastor, could submit an idea, and recruit likeminded people to “sign up to be alpha testers”. The trick? This “product” doesn’t exist.
On that platform, an entrepreneur can see the idea and already have a small audience to learn about the problem. This kind of resource could be extremely useful for seed-funding pitches. If he/she can show a potential seed investor that they have 25-75 alpha testers without having touched the product, it’s going to be easier to secure initial funding.
It’d be a community of people who love startups connecting with people who need expertise.
How this makes money
The platform would have a much easier time gaining viral traction with entrepreneurs if it was arranged as a nonprofit.
- I considered asking for a percentage of the companies, but that feels like a resource-drag, particularly considering the time and diligence required to make those deals happen.
- One interesting way to build revenue would be charging entrepreneurs who purchase an idea (making it like Flippa for ideas).
- Could be sponsored by a company with a vested interest in startup people…AppSumo?
- Finally, this could probably be set up to be low-maintenance, so the site’s users would simply “tip” the platform, relying on courtesy.
As a side note, business plan competitions are popular right now, and corporate sponsors are eager to appear entrepreneurial. With traction, we could ink a deal with a pretty substantial corporate partner to run a competition. Think: “$7,500 for the entrepreneur with the best solution to ____ problem, sponsored by Exxon.”
What I like
- The challenge to the platform isn’t technical, it’s simply convincing everyday, industrious people to post thoughtful business problems. (Could start as a blog about business problems. <– that’s ironic.)
- This concept could facilitate “large thinking”, assuming people posted big problems.
What I don’t like
- Platforms are difficult. You have to find product-market fit with two groups (entrepreneurs and everyday people), which is hard to do. Chicken and Egg problems make me sad.
- Monetization strategy isn’t immediately obvious, particularly on small scale. Thoughts?