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5 steps for getting that killer idea off the ground

Are you ready for Generate New York (opens in new tab)? On April 17, net magazine's cutting-edge conference for web designers and developers will hit the Big Apple with a bang.

Brad Frost, Mike Monteiro and Val Head are just three of a stellar lineup of speakers that includes some of the biggest names in web design. (If you haven't got your ticket (opens in new tab), you better be quick.)

Like last year, inspiration and motivation are high on the agenda, alongside expert advice, tips and insight from the industry's brightest lights – such as prolific writer, designer and educator Christopher Murphy (opens in new tab). He took to the stage at Generate London to explain why ideas are easy; it's the implementation that's the kicker...

Contrary to conventional wisdom, Murphy said, having a brilliant idea isn't the tough part of a project. Making that idea a reality is where most people fall down.

So how do you get that killer idea off the ground? Here are five quick steps for making it happen – and for a whole day of insight and inspiration, don't miss Generate New York on 17 April.

01. Build a minimum viable product

First, test your assumptions. Is there really a need for your product or service idea? "There's no point spending months and months and months on this amazing thing if no one uses it when you put it out there," Murphy told a packed crowd at Generate New York.

"The keyword here is viable – it's not a minimal product. It has to function but it doesn't have to look amazing. But you need to get something out into the world and learn the lessons once it's actually out there."

02. Master the art of selling

"It doesn't mean shit if you don't ship," said Murphy. "And if you can't sell your product to other people, no one's going to use it." No one's going to help fund your killer idea, either, unless you persuade them to.

"You need to learn the art of selling – and become a bit shameless about it as well. If you're really bad at pitching and selling your ideas, you need to practice."

03. Consider funding carefully

Investment or bootstrapping? "With bootstrapping you have complete control. You don't have any shareholders, it's your product. You live lean; do it from your bedroom; don't take on any investment," he said .

"Others will say investment is the way to go… If you take on investment you own less of the pie and you have shareholders to please, but investment gives you a valuation." Which option is best? That depends on the project: weigh up the pros and cons of both options carefully.

04. Don't hit the implosion point

Don't expect to get your idea out there straight away. Factor in enough time for it go through different iterations, based on the feedback you receive from users.

"The implosion point is what I call 'the holy fuck moment'. You've run out of runway, have no more money and didn't manage to take off. Two years is enough time to build something that's good enough – and to get enough customers on board to start putting money back into the project."

05. Find elusive customers

"You have to get customers to be as passionate about your product as you are," he urged. How? By being 10 times better than everyone else. "Care about the details, the fit and the finish," he advised, quoting Digg co-founder Kevin Rose. "It's really hard work. Luck isn't luck, it's manufactured."

There are more than 16 leading speakers at April's Generate New York event, including: Brad Frost, Mike Monteiro, Anton Repponen, Dave Rupert, Irene Pereyra, Jon Setzen, Jonathan Snook, JoonYong Park, Joshua Davis, Kristopher Kowal, Lara Hogan, Netta Marshall, Pamela Pavliscak and Val Head.

If you're quick, you can still bag a ticket (opens in new tab). For more info about the one-day event, head over to the Generate site (opens in new tab).

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Julia Sagar
Julia Sagar

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.