Laid Off? Wanting to start a new venture? Here is your cheatsheet:

Laid Off? Wanting to start a new venture? Here is your cheatsheet:


by Sai Krishna V K on 22 Jan, 2024


Entrepreneurship is a potato sack. Too many choices, too many ways to fail. If you just got laid off or you are thinking of getting started - good news, 2024 is perhaps one of the best years to buid an idea. When you get started you might feel that you are missing a laser-focused approach to idea generation, a strategy that cuts through the noise and nails down what works. The market is bursting with potential, but potential without direction is noise. For you, it isn't about picking an idea at random; it's about targeting something you are good at, deliberately, choosing the idea that stands out, that has legs.

A founder's journey is multifaceted: part customer crunching, part future predicting. Forget the vague advice on passion and grit. What's needed is less pep talk, more playbook—a playbook that’s as much about navigation as it is about motivation. Founders don't just need the dream; they need the map that gets them there.

Enter the cheat sheet: a founder's tactical guide. It's a tool that we built to be our internal compass converts the glass-chewy task of idea generation into a concrete, actionable process. It's about smart questioning of the market, applying stringent metrics, and aligning what drives a founder with what the market will bear. It’s not about the promise of success; it's about structuring the pursuit, making the path to a successful venture less of a gamble, more of a calculated move.

Here’s how you get started:

Market Need Identification

Market Need Identification

The initial phase of the framework involves a rigorous interrogation of the potential market space, where the entrepreneur is tasked with identifying the subset of the population whose needs align with their business proposition. It involves asking pointed questions:

  • Who can you help? This question maps the product or service to a specific customer's pain point.

  • Who cares? This interrogates the level of interest or passion the potential market has for the proposed solution.

  • Who can pay? This assesses the economic viability, ensuring the target market has the financial capacity to purchase the product or service.

These questions are designed to validate the existence of a problem, the customer's willingness to solve that problem, and their ability to pay for a solution.

Quantitative Idea Evaluation

Quantitative Idea Evaluation

The framework then advances to a quantitative evaluation matrix where potential business ideas are scored across eight criteria on a scale of 1 to 10. This scoring system serves as an objective metric to measure the potential success of a business idea. Here are the criteria in detail:

  1. Feels Like Play: The degree to which the work involved in the business idea is enjoyable to the founder, which correlates with sustained motivation and productivity.

  2. Feels Easy: An assessment of the founder's existing skill set against the skills required to execute the idea, which impacts the speed and ease of market entry.

  3. People Want It: Direct measure of market demand, which can be assessed through market research and validation experiments.

  4. Highly Scalable: Evaluates the business model's capacity for growth without a corresponding increase in costs, a critical factor for long-term viability.

  5. Solves a Genuine Problem: Determines the significance of the problem being addressed, which can dictate customer retention and word-of-mouth referrals.

  6. Long-Term Sustainability: Looks at environmental, social, and economic factors to ensure the business can maintain operations over time without depleting resources or harming the community.

  7. Inimitable Advantage: Investigates the business's defensibility against competition, such as proprietary technology, first-mover advantage, or exclusive partnerships.

  8. Founder-Product Fit: Aligns the founder's passion and expertise with the business idea, which can be pivotal for overcoming challenges and persisting through adversity.

Idea Generation Frameworks

Idea Generation Frameworks

The idea generation section outlines specific strategies for ideating within or around existing markets and products:

  1. Dream Big: Encourages thinking on a grand scale to disrupt markets or create new ones.

  2. Exotic Ideas: Suggests looking into less traditional or underexplored markets for unique opportunities.

  3. Anti-Something: Involves positioning a new product or service in opposition to established norms, targeting customers dissatisfied with the status quo.

  4. Unbundle a Platform: Focuses on specializing in a single feature of a larger platform to serve a niche market more effectively.

  5. Solve Something Successful: Involves improving or adding value to existing successful products or services, thereby leveraging their existing market validation.

Ikigai Alignment

Ikigai Alignment

Integrating Ikigai with a business model is presented as a strategic approach to achieve fulfillment and success:

  • Passion (What you love): Aligning the business with the founder's passion can lead to a more authentic and inspired brand.

  • Mission (What the world needs): Ensuring the business addresses real-world problems can enhance its societal impact and customer relevance.

  • Vocation (What you can be paid for): Identifying revenue streams that customers are willing to pay for is critical for financial sustainability.

  • Profession (What you are good at): Leveraging the founder's skills and expertise can lead to higher quality offerings and a competitive edge.

Business Model Innovation

Business Model Innovation

This section underscores the transformation of conventional tools into scalable products:

  • Any spreadsheet can be a SaaS: Identifying spreadsheets used for business operations that can be productized into a subscription service.

  • Any system can be a digital product: Proposes digitizing business systems or processes to create new products.

  • Reducing uncertainty for others: Highlights the opportunity in creating products that help customers manage risk or make better decisions.

  • Automate the task of an employee: Suggests developing tools that automate repetitive tasks, increasing efficiency and reducing costs for businesses.

  • Solve your own pain: Encourages entrepreneurs to create solutions for problems they have experienced firsthand, often leading to more user-centric products.

Iterative Development and Market Feedback

Iterative Development and Market Feedback

The final directives focus on continuous improvement through iteration and feedback:

  • Build for your favorite people: Advises focusing on a specific customer segment that the founder is passionate about serving.

  • Have fun: Emphasizes the importance of enjoying the journey of entrepreneurship to sustain effort and creativity.

  • Reinvent your experience: Encourages leveraging personal and professional experiences to innovate and differentiate the business.

  • Encourage feedback: Stresses the necessity of incorporating customer feedback into product development to refine and improve the offering.

In aggregate, the framework presents a comprehensive, customer-driven way for business idea generation, grounded in market realities and aligned with the founder's strengths and interests. It advocates for a balanced approach that considers both the qualitative aspects of personal fulfillment and the quantitative metrics of business viability.

Now you've got the cheat sheet, the game plan. But it's not just about having the strategy; it's about execution. Time to shift from ideation to action, from what-if to what's next. You've mapped the terrain, now start the task of planting your potatoes.

Next steps? Validate and iterate.

Hit the ground with your idea, test it, break it, fix it.

Talk to potential users—no, don't just talk, listen. What do they need? What will they pay for? Iterate until you can't get it wrong. Build a MVP (Minimum Viable Product), then scale it. Don't just add features at all; solve problems. Make the product so good they can't ignore you each time you run a customer conversation.

Launch with precision, but do not wait for perfection. Find your niche, own it, then expand. Use every tool at your disposal—social media, content marketing, network effects. Make noise, but make sure it's the right kind of noise—the kind that turns heads and opens wallets. Dont fret, launching isn't a one-time event; it's a timeline of product iterations. Launch, learn, leverage, and launch again. Keep the cycle going. That's how you don't just start; that's how you stay in the game.

At the end of the day, every founder is a bit like a potato. No matter how you're seasoned or mashed in the startup world, it's how you handle the heat in the fryer that makes you crisp.

Stay crispy.