Idea validation

Startup Technical Advisory Business

Daniel Canelea Senior Solutions Architect at TD Wealth

October 16th, 2018

I am thinking to branch out as a business providing technical advise to non-technical startup founders . Would that be something feasible ?

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

October 16th, 2018

What kind of advice are we talking about? Which programming language is best for building a given product? Which button to push to launch a Facebook ad campaign? Write technical specs for a given idea? Find/screen programmers for outsourcing or tech co-founders? Actually building a prototype/mockup?

Well, I do know founders who may want such services, but, to put it bluntly, they are all losers. Successful entrepreneurs don't need anything like that - they go and find a tech co-founder or use a plethora of online tools to do the job themselves. The "good" news is that losers are the vast majority. The bad news is that vast majority of losers can't pay you for your services, unless they happen to be rich or found a fool who invested in their startup, but both possibilities are rare.

Either way, the competition for such a business is fierce. You got startup accelerators and entrepreneurship forums/platforms where you can get such an advice for free (like you're doing right now). Then you got an endless array of outsourcing development firms, freelancers, etc.

So no, I'm not sure that's a good idea.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

October 18th, 2018

My first question is branch out from what? What service are you already providing that technical advice is a logical and credible extension?

I can't stress this enough. Feasibility is one of the last questions you should ask/hire someone else to help you determine. If you yourself are not able or willing to do the research: about similar businesses and competitive options, interview your existing customers to see if they would add this new service, talk to potential customers about what such a service would look like if they paid money for it, then you should NOT go into that business.

Whether there is an actual need or not for the proposed service, feasibility as a business enterprise is a separate question that you need to learn the answer to with your own labor and effort. Not doing this step yourself is a failure to plan, and a certain plan for failure. Nothing is more valuable than intimate, first-hand knowledge of the industry you propose to enter.

That said, if you're willing to prey on the entrepreneurs who don't know what they need or how to get it, there's probably a moderate market for what you loosely propose. The challenge in selling such a service regardless of quality is what differentiates you as a qualified and trusted source of such information.

If I am hiring an expert, I am expecting no less than a 15-year minimum of continuous work in that art. That's my threshold.

Here's the part two of the useful portion of advice here. Ask other people what qualifications they would expect from someone offering such a service. That's a very minimal effort research step, and if you cannot meet those basic expectations with your background or work history, it is definitely not worth spending more time pursuing until you can meet those requirements.

Matthew Maier, personal & community health experiments

October 23rd, 2018

Why are you thinking of doing that? Is it something you want to do, or is it something people you've met want you to do?

If you don't actually know anyone who wants to pay for technical advice, then that's the thing you need to go test. Can you find them? Can you convince them you're the right consultant?

Do you have a business model? From my experience in startups it's extremely common for compensation to be a mixture of cash, services, equity, revenue sharing, and other unusual forms of value.