Entrepreneur Ideas: Let’s Tear Down Your Idea and See If It Works!

Think your idea will make money?  Well, what better way to find out than to let the You Can Work Less community tear it apart?

I know that when I was learning how to run a business, it was a pain in the $%# trying to figure what, where, who, and how to sell my services/products.  However, when successful entrepreneurs like Ramit Sethi would offer tear down sessions, things that were once cloudy became very clear.

So what is a tear down session?

Let's begin by explaining what a teardown session is NOT:

  • It is not a surefire way of determining the market you should enter.
  • It doesn't tell you what product you should be selling.
  • It is not a criticizing session
  • You will not come away knowing what to do.

Well, even though it doesn't sound very spectacular, and probably a bit worthless – trust me when I say that it's important.  The point is not to get new ideas, but to get rid of bad ones.

Often, we think that we have some fantastic ideas that could convert into cash – but when you look deeper several things could be very wrong.  For example:

  • You may have a needed service, but for a market that has no capital.
  • Your idea may not be feasible for a small business.
  • The market you are trying to enter may be over-saturated (too many people doing what you do).
  • Perhaps your service would be better as a product.
  • Maybe you'll find that your business model sucks.
  • and so on…

When you get your ideas torn apart, you gain a more accurate view of the feasibility of actually making money.  Think of it as an online mastermind group of like-minded entrepreneurs looking to help.

So how do I get my idea torn apart?

Here are the rules:

  1. Give your name (can be your first name)/location.
  2. Give a brief summary of your service/product.
  3. Explain who your target market is.
  4. Explain how you'd generate income.
  5. Don't take offense if I (or anyone else) tell you that your idea won't work.
  6. If you tear down someone's argument, offer a different solution that they could possibly use.

That's it!  We'll tear down some ideas in the comments of this post, specific tear down posts, and also in upcoming So Totally Business Savvy Podcasts (you could even leave a voicemail that details your idea, or to tear down someone's idea – 714-643-5301).  Have fun, and we can't wait


  • Jay Ragusa

    April 1, 2011

    Ok. Here is my story, my company and my business model. Try to find the holes in it.

    A few months ago after signing on as a customer I began to examine this business and I can't find the downside. I am even more convinced that it will be huge as others have joined the corporate office and leadership team. I am an independent rep for a year old company called North American Power. This company will soon be household name.

    I tell people how to take advantage of the deregulation of the energy business. I simply explain what deregulation is and how there is no catch to change energy providers. I introduce them to a website where they can go and sign up for our service, where they pay a lower rate per kwh on their electric bill. They are free to return to their public utility at anytime for any reason. The only change is the line item on the same bill they already get. There are no other changes to their service or billing.

    For every household or business that chooses a lower rate, through my site, I make an upfront customer bonus and the exciting part is that I make a small residual on that bill every month as long as the customers continue to pay their electric service. They save money and I make a residual.

    Another way I will make money is through network marketing effect done correctly. Our company is not a recruit to earn model. You will only make money if customers sign up, not additional brokers. However you will make money on customers your brokers sign up as well!

    The economics are so good to become a broker that the average person, if all they do is sign up their own house, and never even get one customer converted, will earn about two times the current one time broker fee of $49 in almost no time. (I predict this fee will soon be zero but I have no inside knowledge on this)

    This company is bringing together the best of network marketing, the viral effect of the internet, with little or no cost to get started in your own business and selling a product where the customer actually makes (saves) money on a bill they pay anyway!

    Please find the holes. – Assume the company knows what they are doing in the energy business, (believe me they do) and its not some teaser rate where everything changes after you become a customer.

    • Jrod

      April 1, 2011

      The only loophole that I see is that it is a network marketing company, which may not be a bad thing. But, the up front perception would turn people away because of what network marketing has been over the past 10 years. Just my 2 cents.

      Is there any effect on service by which state you live in?

  • Harry

    April 2, 2011

    Dean, i have been meaning to post on this comment and had a busy week last week and even as I post this now it is on the run so if it does not come out quite correct, my apologizes to those who will be picking my business thoughts apart. I always like feedback and whether it is good, bad or ugly it is always welcomed.

    My business concept is actually already in the process of being introduced to my local market. It is a service business based on what I would call the "Old Milk Man" service but with a focus on dog related products. We will be providing a local free home delivery service to dog owners looking to purchase All Natural, Holistic, Premium Dog Food along with Eco-Friendly Dog Products. I always like to say that it is business with "An Eco-Friendly Twist" as we will really be focusing on the niche market of natural foods, toys and resources for dog lovers. I will not put a plug in here for the site but if you wanted to see the site please let me know as it will be one of the platforms for our business to serve our local community.

    My concept is to develop an initial market focus of 15 mile radius and then grow from there. I think there is a great need for this type of service, especially for working families who do not have the time to run down to the store and also for the senior population who may need help with carrying a 30 lb bag of dog food from the store, to the car, and into the house. The main concern I have is will I be able to compete in the market. I feel passionate that if done correctly the service will catch on and will help create an ongoing loyalty customer base as we will have access to the brands they are use to and also will be looking to add on with items such as toys, etc…

    Let the tear begin and please let me know what you think. I am a very service oriented person and love interacting with customers one on one and feel this is a great arena to be in.

  • Harry

    April 5, 2011

    Dean, great couple of questions and thank you for asking.

    How do we handle inventory? Currently I have a program that allows me to handle inventory through a system called Inflow Inventory. I also have the ability to use QB but have not opted for this feature as I like alot of the features the Inflow offers and had pretty good success with it when operating a lighting distributorship. Of course with this said, my ultimate dream would be to have an app that would allow me to have it on my Ipad and use this as an in person system in the field. I do have the option of ordering products once a week from the manufacture's rep who has a large distribution warehouse within in hours drive of our location.

    What competition do we have? Great question, natural dog food and toys is a growing market as is Eco-Friendly in general as consumers become more aware. We have a local store that carries many of the brands we plan to offer and of course there is the big box stores as well. As far as free delivery, we have not found anyone who offers that locally. Some internet companies do offer free shipping with certain qualifying orders online.

    What customer research have you done already and do you have customers in queue already? Currently we do not have customers in the queue as I have not marketed the service locally at this time. I am preparing to but am proceeding cautiously as I learn to juggle my current schedule before preparing to launch.

    I agree with the demographics completely and what you mentioned confirms what we have discovered. We ultimately want to focus on the niche market of those looking for natural and healthy food along with a raw alternative and many times this is a younger market.

    Thanks so much Dean and all comments are welcomed. :O)

  • Jay Ragusa

    April 7, 2011

    Ah but you guys are incorrect in this case. There are other MLMs in the energy industry charging over $400 up front and $30 per month. I have been a customer for about a year and following the company closely as a broker. The fact is North American Power is different I believe you will see on April 16th. When we launch in NY. Currently we are in CT/PA and MD. We will be in NY on April 16th then NJ in June adding MASS and IL by the end of the year. I want you guys to look at this closer. I understand the initial MLM fears but this is different. I will check back then with our new platform where nobody will loose any money!