No idea – no problem

10/28/2019 | By Phil Hornby

This post originally appeared on

You have heard about this thing called Techstars Startup Weekend that is taking place in Sheffield 22nd-24th November 2019. You love the thought of spending a weekend building a business, but there is a problem in the back of your mind. You don't have an idea!

No problem. Not everyone who attends has an idea. When people arrive, I usually find that only 25% do have one!

So, what do you do if you don’t have an idea? You join in. You listen to the other people who have an idea, and you join one of them.

I have been to a lot of these events at locations including Sheffield, Derby and Cambridge. I have attended (competed and done pretty well), I have volunteers, and I have coached. What I have seen happen every time is that by the end of the Friday 75% of people have an idea that they pitch.

They take inspiration from the people around them. They usually have something they have been thinking about for a while but don't think it is "ready". The reality is that we could probably all identify 100 different problems that people have. Most people believe they need to perfect the solution before they can pitch it. But the secret of a good idea is just that, understand the problems people have, the pain that they feel.

Even if people have only half an idea, if there think there might be something that people care about, then it is a great place to start. Pitch it anyway. Because the reality is that throughout the weekend it will take on a life of its own. It will grow and evolve. As other people work on it with you and you talk to potential customers, you learn new things. It grows, changes and evolves.

I have pitched an idea every time I have taken part, but I had only planned what I was going to pitch in advance twice. Sometimes it is something another attendee says that triggers the critical thoughts that becomes the idea. Sometimes it is something on the radio that day or something my wife said that morning. The sources of inspiration are many and variable.

So, don't be scared if you don't have an idea or you only have half an idea. Come along. If you want to pitch the half-formed idea, if not, then that is no problem too.

Even if you do pitch an idea, it might not get selected. There are always more ideas than people to form teams. You might pitch or not. Either way, there will be an idea that you like from the other people who attend too. So, you might want to join them anyway.

That is part of the spirit of the event, join in, whether it is your idea or someone else’s. Join a team and see what you can build over the weekend. You never know you might leave it with a business you can take forward, a bunch of new friends or the cofounders you need for your next idea.

What have you got to lose? A weekend of fun, with great people awaits. Did we say that it includes all your meals too! And you might even win some prizes!

What are you waiting for? Buy your ticket today!