Antti Vikman, the new chairman of Joensuun Yrittäjät (Joensuu Entrepreneurs), has been involved in all kinds of things during his career. He has even participated in the Start Me Up competition with his “fifteen-minute idea”, which did not amount to anything in the end.

Antti Vikman, the founder and entrepreneur of Nolwenture Oy, has sparred many budding entrepreneurs and assessed the potential of different business ideas. In other words, he has seen and heard all sorts, and is already well equipped to recognise hot potential.

No matter how mind-blowing the idea, though, you must put in a lot of work and effort before cash starts flowing in. And even that’s not always enough.

 

BLOW EVERYONE’S MIND, NOT JUST YOUR OWN

When something has blown your mind, you will need to tell someone. There are plenty of ideas in the world and many them are mind-blowing. They only become valuable when put into practice. According to Antti Vikman, taking part in a business idea competition is a good first step.

– The most mind-blowing ideas are often the ones that seem crazy at first. But if the idea is new and interesting, and if you can summarise why it is needed and for whom it is meant, the idea is worth promoting. It is also essential to consider whether the idea can be turned into business – in other words, whether anyone is willing to pay for it.

Vikman encourages a thorough validation of the idea in the early stages. A huge amount of time and energy can easily be wasted on an unworkable idea. It is better to use that energy to get inspired by something new. Vikman himself has been able to reject ideas that, for some reason, did not work out. Sometimes you are simply not the right person to implement an idea, even if it has blown your own mind.

This happened, for example, to Vikman’s (literally) flying idea of drones using spray painting technology. Vikman submitted his idea to the Start Me Up competition, but did not take it further to the implementation stages.

It is easier to examine your own idea through more realistic lenses after discussing it with people who know about business, as they know how to ask questions that reveal the real potential of the idea.

– It is easy to bounce some ideas around with your friends, but when you really have to write things down on paper, you may find out none of it really makes any sense.

 

IT IS DIFFICULT (OR AT LEAST TOUGH) TO SUCCEED ON YOUR OWN

Other people’s views and tips are valuable at the stage when you are processing an idea. You should not stand alone, either, when starting to turn things into business, Antti Vikman points out.

– It is terribly hard to toil alone. It is much nicer to bounce ideas around with someone, such as a business coach.

You will definitely face some difficulties along your company’s journey, and during those moments, you will have to decide which direction to take. Particularly in those situations, it feels comforting if you do not have to make the decisions on your own, Vikman points out. He also states that assembling a team of different kinds of people is smart in many respects: you can give the others tasks that do not fit in within your own competence or interests.

– It is absurd to try to learn everything from technology and accounting to marketing when there are people who have expertise in these matters. You don’t have to know everything, you just have to gather a group of different types of experts around you. It is mind-blowing when you understand this.

 

IN THE END, IT’S ALL DOWN TO LUCK

People are often jealous when they see the shiny exterior and mind-blowing turnover figures of successful companies. Yet many of them are not aware of the history behind companies with amazing results. Behind the success, there are often factors such as substantial amounts of persistent toil, difficult decisions, financial losses, wrong steps – even bankruptcies.

According to Antti Vikman, work is needed, but so is something else: luck. The ones that make a breakthrough are usually people for whom the pieces have simply clicked into place: there is a mind-blowing idea, a well functioning team, the right timing, marketing done well – and then you get a lucky strike.

– In the end, it’s all down to luck. Sometimes you strike lucky straight away, but sometimes you may have to work hard and try various times before you make a breakthrough, as was the case with Rovio and Supercell. But even if you work hard and do everything “right”, you may still fail. Then you just have to try again. One day, your luck may turn.

Despite the fact that only one in ten start-ups succeeds, Vikman encourages people to participate in the business idea competition. The thing is, you never know when your idea is mind-blowing enough to summon the Lady of Fortune.

– What’s there to lose if you submit your idea? Especially if you compare it to what the competition can offer you. In this sense, filling in the competition form is not an incredibly large investment. It’s almost like playing the lottery: invest one euro, and you might get a million.