Inventing a business idea is far easy than implementing it, and can prove extremely challenging, especially if you are introducing a new product into the market. Converting your new idea into a business requires some well deliberated strategies. Sometimes a great avenue to achieve this is through collaboration.
Collaboration entails working together with other people in order to implement your business idea. However, many inventors as well entrepreneurs do not collaborate as they fear that their proposal may be stolen by the person willing to team up with them. The lean startup method focuses on getting your product to market in the quickest and most efficient way.
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If your considering collaborating and are concerned then you might want to start with a good NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) or if your really worried and a must you protect your ida seek legal advice and make sure you have any IP (Intellectual Property) protected. Beware this can be a very costly process, especially if your idea isn’t even proved yet!
“How important is intellectual property protection to your startup? Not too long ago, defensible IP was one of the top things venture capitalists wanted to see in a startup. But the success of several high-profile tech startups, such as Twitter and Facebook, that are relatively weak on patentable intellectual property, has caused many to rethink that assumption. After all, creating and maintaining a robust IP portfolio is expensive. Patents don’t determine whether a startup will be able to scale. And the lean startup model is all about getting to market fast with the minimum viable product. Launch first, patent later… if at all.”
The above paragraph is from Kelly Fitzsimmons who has written a great article on inc.com called “10 Ways to Protect Your Intellectual Property” for those who are less concerned and want a boost to get going then here are the 10 Ways to Collaborate And Kick Start Your Business Idea
1. Accelerators and incubator programs
Various programs have been established to assist entrepreneurs with the required resources to implement their business ideas. Organisations involved provide financial assistance, technological support, manufacturing and marketing services to people, who have great business ideas.
Before getting involved with the programs, you should consider and understand fully what is required of you. Many organizations involved with the program have various terms and conditions that may not be suitable to you. The equity-sharing agreement, as well as the total cost of the service, is often offset by the benefits incurred.
2. Online utilisation
The internet is another approach to collaborating and implementing your business idea. You can go online and perform some research on any existing successful businesses based on the idea similar to yours. You can also visit trustworthy websites that deal with linking entrepreneurs with resources as well as potential development colleagues.
You should always make inquiries on the conditions laid down by the collaborators willing to work with you. This is to ensure that at the end you gain, hence avoid losses. The internet ensures that you find the marching partner to help you kick start your business idea.
A great resource is FounderDataing which actually is an online network for entrepreneurs, advisors, and co-founders “The FounderDating network itself will help you refine your ideas and thinking.”
3. Crowdfunding platforms
Various companies have established crowdfunding platform initiatives. This aids entrepreneurs to raise cash while in the process of marketing their product and service ideas. This campaign creates an awareness and builds on the essence of the ideas presented to the crowd.
You should have a good deal of the work plan in order to begin a successful promotion. This requires you to have a business idea that has a concept that is sensible to the crowd. You can easily turn the idea to a business if it is pleasing to the public. The key to this though in terms of collaboration, is the ability to get feedback and test your idea to see if its workable or net by engaging the crowd.
4. Interaction, shared workspace
Business people as well as entrepreneurs regularly meet, discuss and share various business ideas in co-working spaces. The meetings present an opportunity of engaging directly with working experts on resources willing to collaborate with you. These meeting places bring together people with common interests, hence may benefit you since you may find an energetic business environment to work in. There are a number of networks groups for entrepreneurs such as the TIE entrepreneur network group or meetup.com.
The majority of successful companies do have co-founders who aid in clearing workload in addition to chipping in their experience and expertise. The complementary skills provided help the companies in dealing with any, arising problem that requires professional help. Co-founders are the people who contribute in the main idea of starting the business, hence have the required knowledge to get it off the ground.
Remember if its your original idea then tread lightly and make sure you are finding co-founders who share the same values and vision as you. Its easy to go off the rails unless you are all pulling in the same direction.
If you do find good aspiring business partners, that check all the right boxes, then they can assist you to kick starting your business.
6. Proposing to investors
This is another form of collaboration, the method involves pleasing accredited investors in order for them to invest in your business after successfully pitching your business idea to them. There are a number of platform that enable your idea to be considered by various entrepreneur/investors with the resources you require to implement your idea. Angel.co is one of the most well know platforms for investment. You can also find potential investors and pitch days through a number of programs, groups and networks, which you can google or search for on Linkedin.
Investors however will have a series of conditions laid down before investing in your business idea. Proceed confidently but cautiously, remember its your idea and the investors you pitch to should be as much your choice in selecting them as it is for them selecting to invest in you. A good investor can provide you with valuable connections and experience to support your new business.
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7. Social media, starter programs
Social media has contributed greatly to awareness of startups and new business and also plays a part in communication of groups and like-minded people. You can brows social media groups, linked in twitter, google+ and other social networks to find startup programs.
Some of these programs entail participants who listen to a host of business ideas and convert some of them to working models through providing funds. Other programs involve contestants who create an idea and shape it into minimum viable products within a duration of three days.
Some competitions have cash prizes to contribute to the startup launch. If successful this may help you acquire some capital to start up your business. You should learn more about the whole competition before participating. Virgin, Microsoft and a number of other brands regular run these competition days round the world, and with some social media or google research you can pick up a lot more information on them.
8. Merging technology network
This involves utilising another company’s technological resources to create an awareness of your business to the target customer. This process can work better for a business that has been running for over year or more and can help you expand your offering. You can further implement your idea as your target audience will be aware of your service or product or may already know the exiting tech or brand you are integrating or merging with.
You should ensure you have good customer retention since you need to prove your concept and its reliability after an integration, especially if you are a young business. You should also know about the kind of customer relation services offered by your merged business. A safe way to proceed can be achieved through a consulting company, or intermediary party, but costs can go high in this space and should only be considered if you have appropriate funding or revenue income.
9. Government relations
For some kinds of startup business you can decide to involve the federal administration. Through providing services and goods required by the government, for example science, medical or environmental, your business idea can kick start easily since it may qualify for government support programs which can supply the resources you require.
If you do qualify to a government program you might have an advantage as you will not necessarily be directly subjected to external competition from many competitors. If you decide to use this approach you should therefore provide a properly researched and appealing proposal. If you have strong links with your existing university or place of study this could also provide some potential support to accessing government related business program.
Visit your local university and check with your local town hall or government/federal website to research such business development programs or government support schemes.
10. Proper communication protocols
Upon establishing a collaborative relationship, you will want to set up a simple and structured engagement process. whether it be investors, or other entrepreneurs a good communication protocol should be set up and maintained. This helps in developing a good working relationship since you will determine when and how often to make contact with your partners, especially useful unless you are working together full time of course.
Collaboration aids the accomplishment of many goals in a business. The combination of resources helps solve emerging issues. You can try implementing 10 ways to collaborate and Kick Start Your Business Idea for some helpful ways to boost your business and a better chance to achieve success.
What ideas or suggestions do you have for collaboration? Positive or negative experiences you have had?
by Richard Santoro
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