Ideas that are TOO big

A lot of wantrepreneurs wanna build an idea that’s just TOO DAMN BIG.

Here’s a real example from Ken.  Here’s his idea:

I’ve tried testing this idea with limited results but I’m not sure if I’m going about it the right way.

I want to establish a network of local people around the world who would be willing to show travelers and tourists around their town or city.

Yes it’s a rip off of AirBnB but hell, I couldn’t find one which was already established (there is one competitor which is actually validating this idea using a landing page, a youtube video and an email form).

Watch this 2 ½ minute video from the SumoBusinessBlueprint2 I made about this question, then continue reading this to see how to validate this idea before wasting time on it:

Ok, so I ripped up the idea in the video.  Not a fan.

What Ken is telling me is:
“I want to build a site for everyone in the world who travels, and have them signup to this service.”


Making a site that needs allll these travellers to signup to be guides, or get guided….is hard.  Especially if you don’t fully understand the market yet!

You think McDonald’s got big by starting with 10,000 stores?
They started with one store and fully understood what people wanted.

You think Facebook got big by going for 1,000,000,000 users?
They started at a single college and fully understood what people wanted.

So let’s learn from that and understand what people want first.

SO HERE’S ONE WAY KEN CAN VALIDATE THIS IDEA TO SEE IF PEOPLE REALLY WANT THIS SERVICE (if he’s not lazy and actually wants to put in the effort):
Pay attention if you’re a Wantrepreneur.


Let’s first see if people are clamoring for this service…if they’re not, this is gonna be a really sucky business.

And since this business is based on real-life interactions,
Ken needs to do a real-life validation.

Step 1.) Make a quick flyer for this service.  We’re gonna post the same flyer online AND offline.

STEP 2.) Post this flyer as an image on Craigslist under the section: SERVICES –> TRAVEL/VACATION.

STEP 3.) Then walk around your hood and post this flyer in some hostile’s or hotels.  Talk to the people who run them.  See if they can refer people your way.  Maybe even offer them $20 per referral to get things moving.

STEP 4.) Actually show a couple people around town yourself.  Was it fun?  Was it worth it?  Did they pay you? Are they gonna come back?  Any surprises?  Were they happy with it?  Are they gonna recommend friends?

STEP 5.) Ask how they found you…..and if they use travel sites.  Then start modifying the ad to see if you can get more success.

Modify and post that ad many times to see what really stands out.  Here’s some sample headlines and sub-headlines to post:


All the famous icons in one tour. 


Eat the most popular bacon dishes in New York City. 


Eat the top dish at the top 5 restaurants in New York in 1 day. 


Party at the most exclusive clubs in NYC till 8am with a notorious party animal.


Who knows… might find out that the party animal tour is by far the most requested and profitable over anything else.

This means you could maybe start your travel website with “specialty tours” in mind…instead of the regular boring tours already out there.

That would be a unique and value-added type of thing.

I might spend $50 to get a crappy tour driving through Times Square and other tourist-y areas of New York.  But I’d spend $1,000+ to hit up 3 insane clubs in NYC with VIP access and have the craziest, most celebrity-filled, alcoholed-up New York night possible with my friends.

So this real life experience will help guide your online site.

If you try to promote these tours, and nothing ever comes of it… might mean you should abandon this business idea and move on.  Put a bullet in this idea’s head.

However if some of your tours start to take the hell off….

If you’re blindsided by the success of something, it means you’ve hit on something.


With this idea validation method, several things have happened:

1.) You actually make some money taking people around the city.

2.) You find out what people actually respond to and will PAY for.  This is huuuggee.  Because if you start a business based that’s filling REAL wants and needs, it will work well.


A word about the psychology behind this:
Now our test subject here (Ken) wanted to “just start a business about travel stuff”….but was he actually trying to provide value to a large group of people, or was this just a lazy-ass idea to make him some money?

You see….if you just wanna start a business because it “might blow up and make me a lot of money”, just quit.


So if you’re doing something, put effort into it. Especially in the validation part where you’re finding out what people really get from your business.

Shitty effort = Shitty results.
Amazing effort = Amazing results. 

P.S.  Should I make this into a series of wantrepreneur-killing emails?  Just say YES I WANNA SEE MORE WANTREPRENEUR KILLING EXAMPLES…or lemme know whatchya wanna hear more of!



Blog posted on: November 19, 2012

23 comments on “Ideas that are TOO big

    1. Jason G

      Funny enough, I actually did a quick validation on this exact same concept after buying the SBB last year. It was a daunting task, but I did get some interest.

      I always say, the best proof that something can be done is that it has been done…
      Check out Apparently somebody thought it could be done.

      1. Neville

        Holy crap, you hit that one RIGHT on the head. Looks like a pretty decent sized site too!

        Ken might already have some competition :-)

        This is all the more reason to go more speciality. It’ll be easier to take over established competitors.

        Also having competitors is a GOOD THING. If there’s no one doing it, usually it means no one’s making money from it. Not all the time, but very often.

  1. Leo Tabibzadegan

    I’m going to do a quick validation test for my next project right now.

    Wanna learn how to get 10,000 followers on twitter for free?

    -No trickery involved, just good old fashion friend making.
    -I’ll show you how in an action packed 2.5 minute video.
    -Cost? FREEEE!

    WHY? Just because I like you, and want to help you win :)

    Actually, you can donate 1 Pizza to Nev for creating this awesome blog.


    Yes or No?

    1. Neville


      Do YOU have 10,000 followers already? Some proof would be nice to boost credibility…like:

      “I’m just a dude that works at Dell, but I have 14,000 people following me….and I’ve never paid for any of them. They all voluntarily follow me. Here’s how….”

      1. Leo Tabibzadegan

        Exactly my story (except I don’t even have a job and i’m homeless (but still living the dream!). Haha

        i’ll put something fun and informative together (using my handy notes from kourse about building a kourse) and maybe even send it in to appsumo under the freebie section (that spot rocks!) as a possible launch point.

  2. Abe Challah

    Keep them coming Nev. This last example was great because I heard many people pitch the same idea to me and my gut knew it will never take off in the way they described it. But I didn’t want to shatter their dreams based on my gut feeling. Now I know how to get them to validate it on their own and find out for themselves.

    1. Neville


      I always tell people my opinion is SIMPLY MY OPINION unless they test it.

      Now given I rip up people’s ideas everyday I’ve become reasonably good at seeing what works and what I immediately know has zero chance….but until it’s properly tested it’s all opinion.


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