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Do you really understand the need your start-up is addressing or have you scratched the surface? How do you know it has potential to be successful?

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There is nothing wrong with following your dreams, don't get me wrong but do start-ups fail because they don't understand the real market need?

Start-ups need money and although there are funds/companies providing grants/funds/incubators, the emphasis is often on the delivery phase. you need to prove you have a suitable team of people with an idea and ideally a prototype.

From speaking to start-ups, from being part of start-ups and from seeing start-ups fail, I often wonder if people need to spend longer on the discovery/research phase before launching into the project. It's easier said than done because there's an urgency to get to market and a developer will probably prefer to be developing than waiting for the brief!

Can we encourage funders to provide more smaller pots of money for start-ups to really focus on identifing what the need is and what is marketable/their USP is before jumping into the idea?

The phrase 'measure twice, cut once' inspired this concept; get it right from the start to save time later on. I was also inspired by Amy's ' MumsNet' inspiration - you're often starting into a new world which you really need to understand as it's very different than you may first think!

How will your concept support web entrepreneurship?

Providing money for research phases will allow people to concentrate on really working out how their start-up can be a success. I believe that businesses plans are not always thought through early enough - ok, you need a business plan to receive funding but it doesn't mean there isn't sometimes the attitude of 'let's just get something down as we can change it later on'. Can we spending time working on the essentials from day one so that we are less likely to need to change the brief, look for different members of the team and change our model later on?

What kinds of resources will be needed to get this concept off the ground and scale it?

It would be good to speak to funding bodies now to see if they see the value in this and then look to reassign budgets!


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hi Louise,
You've identified a really important need. One of my favorite books on entrepreneurship is 'Nail it then Scale it' The author propose a very simple process which at the very beginning includes cold calling potential customers and checking with them that your hypothesis about their pain point is valid and your proposed solution is attractive and monetisable.

For many innovators, this is an unpalatable prospect. And I speak with personal experience of this stomach-churning yet essential process!

I think your proposal should probably aim to make this less intimidating by organizing free B2C focus groups and perhaps funding specialist 'feedback brokers'. The latter could do the initial cold calling on behalf of the entrepreneur and set up conversations with sympathetic potential B2B clients.

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