Why Most Ideas Fail and How to Make Sure Yours Don’t

Why Most Ideas Fail

Photographer: Michael Dziedzic | Source: Unsplash

The Anatomy of Failure

Photographer: Brett Jordan | Source: Unsplash

What is a Failure?

A failure is when your expected results are less than the, are sorry when your actual results are less than the expected results- Alberto Savoia

Three reasons ideas fail

  • Failure to Launch Failure to launch occurs when a product doesn’t have the visibility to reach an audience. Distribution is a foundational Element of Growth , and lacking it often leads to failure to launch.
  • Failure due to operations: When something fails due to operations, the product doesn’t work. When a car is a lemon, the food at a restaurant sucks, or the app doesn’t work, it fails due to operations.
  • Failure Due to Premise: When something fails due to premise, people aren’t interested in your product.

Good Failure Vs. Bad Failures

  • First, we paid a copywriter $1000 to write a sales page before knowing if anybody was interested in the idea.
  • Second, we spent a month sending emails and talking to prospective customers.
  • Third, we spent money on flights and hotel rooms to meet one client (who lived 45 mins away)

What would have made this a good failure?

  • First, we could have created a landing page and captured email addresses to see if anyone was interested.
  • Second, we would have realized that very few of our potential customers wanted to attend a writer’s retreat or write a book in a couple of days.

Failophobia: An Irrational of Fear of Failure

Photographer: M.T ElGassier | Source: Unsplash

Failophobia is an irrational fear of failure. So it’s such a fear that it keeps you from doing from taking very reasonable risks. And the way to cure fail of phobia is to expose yourself to small failures. — Alberto Savoia

Three Criteria that Determine Whether Your Idea Will Fail or Succeed

Photographer: Joshua Sortino | Source: Unsplash
  1. Desirability: Do people want your product
  2. Feasibility: Can you build and deliver your product
  3. Viability: Can you make a business out of it?
  • If you can build or deliver a product that nobody wants, you’ll fail.
  • If people want a product and you can build it, but there’s no way to make money, your idea will fail.
  • If something is viable but not feasible or desirable, you’ll fail.

Opinions vs. Data

Two Types of Data

  • These might include reports from market research companies or statistics in articles.
  • The problem with other people’s data is that that context isn’t the same as yours.
  • Your data might include surveys you send or interviews you conduct with prospective customers.
  • Unlike other people’s data, you don’t base your assumptions on macro trends but focus on specific insight about YOUR customers.

Key Criteria for Reliable Data

Photographer: Markus Spiske | Source: Unsplash

1. Freshness

2. Strong Relevance

3. Known Provenance

4. Statistical Significance

How to Make Sure Your Ideas Don’t Fail

Photographer: Clark Tibbs | Source: Unsplash

1. Develop Your XYZ Hypothesis

Using this formula, at least X percent of Y will do Z. Y is your target market and Z is some action with skin in the game, something that they will do. This forces you to take a fuzzy idea and put it into a very clear format. Alberto Savoia

Test Lots of Ideas

Fall in love with the problem, flirt with the ideas. In other words, test many ideas and find the ones that actually give you good feedback. Alberto Savoia

  • Collect your own data
  • Develop an XYZ hypothesis for each idea
  • Test lots of ideas

Listen to the full interview on the Unmistakable Creative Podcast



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