How on earth do you decide if a plan B has legs? How on earth do you decide if a plan B has legs?
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    Default How on earth do you decide if a plan B has legs?

    I've been jotting down my ideas for software-based plan B ideas, for when I have time to work on them, or money to pay someone else to help.

    But... I have absolutely no idea which are any good. And of those I think are good, I have no idea which can actually generate profit.

    How did people here with plan Bs in development decide it was worth the amount of time needed? Did you approach it on a business level, or blindly jump into the coding on the basis "my mate in the pub agreed it was great"?

    Without giving away secret details, can people share their experience in this tricky area?
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    business first. if there's no business need, you'll have no customers. so you have to do some market research to find out which of your ideas has a real, identifiable need. don't believe the hype that you can create your market. you'd also need to find out who else might be operating in the same market. what their market penetration is, what your differentiators might be etc etc.

    above and beyond that, you have to really, really, really want to do it coz it'll consume every waking hour [and lots of the sleeping ones too].

    but, better to have tried, and maybe succeed, than never to have tried at all...

    oh, and be *very* careful about who you go into business with

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotspine View Post

    oh, and be *very* careful about who you go into business with
    One of my dads mates set up a pizza restaurant in what was probably early to mid eighties and offered delivery of pizzas - i know cus as a nipper I used to go with him on the deliveries when he was helping his mate out. He must have been one of the first pizza delivery businesses around. But his businees partner ran off with his wife and all the money leaving him right up tulip street. Shame really. Another useless anecdote!

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    Spotted a business need.

    Spoke to potential customers.

    'If you build it they will come.'

    Got advance orders and deposits up front.

    Found a company to build, package and ship it.

    Working on Mk 2.

    PS And two years of eighteen hour days to get it there.

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    Write a business case in the cold light of day. BusinessLink can tell you how.

    Then follow the business case.

    If Plan B does not deliver, ditch it.

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    I'm yet to know whether mine has legs and I've been at it on and off for two years now.

    I was simply aware that commercial equivalents were often bundled in with many other components, not necessarily required by the end user, and hence costly. I then looked for other suppliers and found there was only one other doing something similar with the same enabling method. This, plus knowing that only time would be the main cost, convinced me to try. For the first time I knew I had an idea that could possibly go places.

    As scots has already pointed out, "better to have tried, and maybe succeed, than never to have tried at all". Even if it doesn't earn me anything, I will have enjoyed it while it lasted and given me a purpose in the evenings rather than watch yet more mediocre television.

    To date it has made enough to pay the hosting costs for the next decade.
    Last edited by OrangeHopper; 18th November 2009 at 22:45.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotspine View Post
    business first. if there's no business need, you'll have no customers. so you have to do some market research to find out which of your ideas has a real, identifiable need.
    If you can see your idea definitely serves a purpose, is that the same?

    above and beyond that, you have to really, really, really want to do it coz it'll consume every waking hour [and lots of the sleeping ones too].
    That part's not so much a problem, the coding anyway. The sad thing is I get the impression writing the software is the easy part

    As far as market research... if your idea is something new rather than a twist on an existing idea, how do you do research without giving the idea away. I know the 'ideas are worthless' argument, but if other people see you are actually investing in your idea, they may figure "it must be a good idea, someone is working on it"!
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    What about selling it?

    I would have thought that a job in itself - not many things sell themselves.

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    Godlike

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    My plan B became my plan A.

    I was very cautious about making the jump from A to B, and I earn less than I used to as a result as well as working longer hours.

    I also have responsibility for seven other families who now depend on Plan B Ltd to provide for them.

    I do however have complete control over the company and what we do and can see how the company could grow and (hopefully) mature into something that will provide me with a decent pension pot.

    I've sold a company in the past and been caught up in the nightmare of being contractually obliged to stay while no longer the boss. Never again will I make that mistake.

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    I think there's also the "may as well" factor. Whilst on the bench I've been pretty much working full time on the plan B. I'd much rather be doing something than watching Jeremy Kyle, even if it ultimately turns out to be a waste of time.

    Having a product is still a lot better than not having a product, and if it's not costing you anything but time, the business case doesn't really matter.
    Will work inside IR35. Or for food.

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