I’m happy to see that week 1 of our book 3 Weeks to Startup was featured yesterday on msnbc.com. I’m co-author of this one, along with Sabrina Parsons.

Here’s what we’re saying about the idea portion of it:

Day 1: Start with a viable idea.
Start thinking about whether your core idea makes a viable business.
How do you know? Well, honestly, you don’t always. It does help to take a step back from the idea, try to be honest and objective with yourself, and ask these questions:

  1. Does anybody need (or want) what we’re going to be selling? How great is the need, or how much do they want it? Think about it in commonsense terms. Vigorous market research will come later.
  2. Will they pay for it? While they say people will beat a path to your door for a better mousetrap, that’s not always true. Think about it in your case.
  3. Are they already paying for something else? Can you go from that to honestly believing they’ll switch and pay for what you’re going to offer?
  4. How will you focus? Do you have a strategy, or are you planning to do everything for everybody?

The answers to these questions may seem obvious, but the point of this exercise is to give yourself a reality check. Essentially, you’re asking whether there’s a market for your product or service. If you’re laying out a lot of money, and especially if that’s somebody else’s money (investors), it’s worth it to do the background research.

3 Weeks to Startup: Week 1 – Entrepreneur.com- msnbc.com

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.