How do you go from idea to production? It’s a question that all entrepreneurs struggle with. Through hard work and education, I have discovered that it’s a lot more than just luck. This article will provide you with some insights on how I have had an idea and the roadblocks that came with it.
I can’t tell you how many “million dollar” ideas I have had over the course of a year. At least I think they’re million dollar ideas and how can I argue with myself? All jokes aside, I have had a few ideas in the past couple of years that I think could be useful and feed my entrepreneur spirit.
One of my favorite ideas was a mobile and web app that will enable the customer to automate their online grocery orders. I am trying to solve the problem of going to the grocery store because I hate going to the grocery store! So I thought, what if there was a way I could order my grocery staples without having to check the fridge and make a list. The app would automatically track what I need, such as fruit, vegetables, toothpaste, paper towels, etc.
Here’s how I envisioned it would work:
- Scan each grocery item into the app.
- Create your par level in the app.
- Once the item has been used up, rescan the item and then trash or recycle the empty container.
- Once you have reached the par level, your order is submitted to the grocery store with the best price for your items for processing.
- The app will notify you when your order is ready to be picked up.
- Payment can be made through the app or at the grocery store during pick-up.
Roadblocks to Production
I hit two major roadblocks when I attempted to develop this idea. The first roadblock was getting access to grocery store pricing. Apparently grocery stores guard this information and don’t like to share. Knowing the pricing would allow the app to find the best price for each item and split the order up so you never overpay for your strawberries or coffee.
The second roadblock I hit was funding. Because of the complexity of the app I was going to need some serious funding in order to pull this off. That funding could help incentivise grocery stores to sign up for this service. If I got one to sign up, the others would follow.
My grocery store app isn’t even the biggest idea I’ve had, which has made me rethink how to come up with ideas. It also made me reflect on how I can go from an idea to an actual product or service. I really want to see what I can develop. Therefore, I have to regroup and start educating myself on my options.
A Place to Learn
One roadblock I ran into over and over, is that I lack the coding skills necessary to develop my ideas. This is where I came across the 40 Day Startup program by Paul Scrivens. Paul, also known as Scrivs, has developed a program for people that want to learn how to go from idea to production. I am impressed by his knowledge, experience and willingness to share.
The 40 Day Startup program is designed to help you go from idea to production in 40 days. It’s helping me fully understand what it will take to get my idea into production. I’ve realized that developing an app isn’t just about the coding; simply put, coding is only a piece of the entire complex puzzle.
Slack is a communication platform that helps teams work more productively. I heard about Slack from reading other tech websites and online magazines. The 40 Day Startup uses Slack for all of the communication and collaboration between program members. Slack has an awesome platform and a great user interface. Throughout this platform I was able to post questions and get a ton of feedback from others.
I asked my fellow program members about the best online training so I can learn to code. Several members suggested Treehouse, an online learning platform filled with videos and how-to lessons.
There are two plans for Treehouse; a basic plan for $25 a month and a pro plan for $49 a month. I signed up for the basic plan and received a two-week free account to give it a try.
So far all the courses I’ve taken are about WordPress. Now I know I said I want to learn how to code, but I also want to develop ideas that don’t require coding skills. Once I’m done with WordPress I’ll move on to HTML and CSS to get my foundation. I’ll move on to PHP, mySql, Ruby, etc.
Marketing your product is just as important as developing it. You may have the most brilliant idea but if no one knows about it then you own 100% of nothing. Having a marketing plan that includes social networks, a website and networking are the keys to this solution. However, you need to plan this out as best as possible. Without a plan you are basically hoping that your idea will go viral somehow. Treehouse and Lynda.com both offer online training on social media and marketing.
Through the 40 Day Startup I have learned to validate my idea through a variety of ways. I was happy to find out that my idea, which I will share in the second part of this article, is definitely needed and quite simple to implement. I do not have to change the world with my first idea, but to have to one of my ideas go to production is a great goal to accomplish.