There is a general perception that you need to have a ‘Big Idea’ for your start-up, a compelling vision, a clear picture of what you are trying to create. The heroic entrepreneur, armed with this brilliant idea, this killer app, carries all before them and triumphs over the vicissitudes and setbacks to build a successful business and realise their vision.
Of course, this hardly ever happens. But still this myth persists.
One reason it doesn’t happen like this is that the entrepreneur is so full of conviction about their idea that they are unable to adapt it to the market. Their conviction colours their perception of the world around them, inhibits their critical faculties and prevents them from making the changes they need to, which may be to abandon the original idea completely, in order to achieve the essential product-market fit.
Actually, you are better off NOT having a big idea. This puts you in a place of curiosity, without pre-conceptions, biases, blind-spots and ego. You can simply go and discover things, ask questions and evaluate the findings so you can decide what to do.
Brene Brown uses a similar approach in her work on vulnerability (see this fascinating interview with Jonathan Fields where Brene recognises the parallel with the work of an entrepreneur). Rather than the conventional scientific method of trying to prove or disprove your hypothesis, she uses Grounded Theory, where she does the research and analyses the data and then determines what it tells her. This does not always give the answers that are wanted, expected or even comfortable. But it gives a real, unbiased answer that can be a real breakthrough, as in her own case.
No idea? Perfect. Let’s get started.