You just passed out of a top B-school. While your friends opted for placements in MNCs, you chose to work on your business idea and become an entrepreneur. So far so good, but what now? Now it’s time to realize that the journey of an idea to transform into a fully-functional business is a long one and filled with a lot of hard questions. Now is the time to realize that a business idea is not a business. A business idea must stand strong even after a deep probing if it is to become a start-up and then a business. Let us discuss all the questions that you as an entrepreneur must answer and the crucial realization that you must have before setting off on the journey.

Can people relate to your problem and your proposed solution?

A lot of times, budding entrepreneurs think if they have a particular problem the others have it too. And these others too are dying for a solution. The enthusiastic entrepreneurs do a lot of online research, burn some midnight oil, figure out a viable solution and finally have their ‘eureka moment’. They approach the ‘potential customers’ with their solution and now they have their ‘oops moment’. More often than not, our problem is not everyone’s problem. Satisfries from Burger King, Google Glass, Google+, Cheetos Lipbalm, are some textbook examples of products that failed due to the factor we just discussed.

Therefore, before finding the solution to the problem one must find out if it’s a bona fide problem among others too. Secondly, one must research how people are reacting to this problem. Is it something that people desperately want a solution to or just an avoidable inconvenience? Lastly, one must assess if there are enough ‘potential customers’?

Are these potential customers willing to pay?

 Having potential customers is one thing and having customers is another thing. Once an entrepreneur has developed his or her product, the next bulk of the cash is burnt into turning potential customers into customers. It is all worth it if there are enough people to pay a little ‘more than enough’ price for the said solution.

Is it scalable?

 ‘Scalable’ is one buzz word that you will hear in every single meeting with potential investors. If you can answer the question of scalability in a ‘yes’ and justify it as well, then congratulations, otherwise, better luck next time. Thus, right at the ideation stage, you must ensure that your solution is scalable, which means that it can generate more (and keep generating) cash flow once it has reached its maturation stage.

How can I benefit from co-creating? 

 Mark Zuckerberg needed Sean Parker. Steve Jobs needed Steve Wozniak. Similarly, you might need a cofounder too. You might be a master of skill, but two skills are always better than one. Now, what’s crucial is finding the right partner. The one who completes the equation.

How can I test and retest my startup?

 Every idea must be fine-tuned before becoming a start-up. This fine-tuning includes a lot of trial and error, testing, and pivoting. One requires an ecosystem, a platform where entrepreneurs can collaborate with those who have reached where they aspire to. Incubators, co-working space, accelerators and start-up contests become that platform. Here budding entrepreneurs assess everything that is right as well as wrong with their idea. They can develop a product, that if succeeds can change millions of lives worldwide, or their life if it fails. Either way, budding entrepreneurs emerge as entrepreneurs.

Inter College Innovation Challenge (IC Square) by Rajan Nanda Innovation Lab is one such platform that is empowering the dreams of entrepreneurs of India. The best innovation ideas in agriculturerail-tech and infra-tech from the students will be nurtured into full-fledged businesses. 10 winning ideas will get seed funding of Rs. 5 lakhs. Not only this, but students will also get a chance to present their ideas in front of an esteemed jury composed of top industrialists from across sectors. You can gain more insight into this competition and Rajan Nanda Innovation Lab by visiting their website.