Top 5 Mistakes Modern Aging Applicants Make

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The Modern Aging program is always on the lookout for entrepreneurs with the next big idea to change the aging population for the better. We accept submissions from any stage, even just an idea! You know your Modern Aging journey begins with an online application, but how can you make your application truly stand out? Start by avoiding the top five mistakes we have found.

1. Forgetting the What and Why and How

Start by thinking of the basic questions anyone would ask to get to know more about your idea. Are you able to answer the ones below easily and succinctly?

• What is your idea?
o Explain your idea clearly—if you can’t explain it simply, you probably don’t understand it well enough
• What problem does your idea solve and how does it solve it?
• Why this problem?
o Tell us how you came across this problem—was it something you observed or a personal experience? We’d like to know the (short) story behind your idea.

Quick tips:
• If words fail you, why not video? Record someone using your idea to show us how it works—if it’s a manual device, for example, this can be a great way to demo your idea.
o Need inspiration? Take a look here for catchy prototype demonstrations!

2. Thinking you are the One and Only

We know you have done your market research—but have you done enough? Make sure you’ve established these three things:

1. The target population
2. Their diverse needs
3. Competitors

Quick tips:
• Make sure you have a defined market; “the elderly” is too general. Seniors are not a homogenous group and have diverse needs. Figure out the specific group you will be catering to.
• Consider how your product would be of use to your target group—what problem needs solving?
• Know your competition—what similar solutions exist right now in the market and what advantage does your idea have over them?
• Go out there! Speak to potential customers to get their opinions on your idea and see if there is a need for it—who will represent the majority of your customers?

Read more about why market research is such an important step for any startup here.

3. Innovation, what Innovation?

We know there are lots of ideas focusing on elder needs in the market. How are you going to make yours different from what’s already out there?

Quick tips:
• Take a risk! Don’t be afraid to think out of the box—that’s what sets successful innovators apart.
• Think: Why would a customer choose your product over another? Find a way to stand out from the crowd—is your technology more advanced or are you offering a more sustainable option? Highlight that!
• Again, research is important! Look into both your regional and global competitors—has a similar idea been established anywhere else? How successful has it been? How can you customize your idea to the local or regional market?

Fusion92’s vice president of innovation Jacob Beckly shares a great dialogue on the power of innovation. Read more here.

4. Smells like team spirit

Moving on to the human side of your idea: who are the brains behind it? A team builds the success behind an idea; tell us about yours!

Quick tips:
• Share: what are each member’s expertise and their role/contribution to the team?
• Make sure to think through how complete your team is. Who do you still need on board? It is okay if your team isn’t complete or perfect but knowing who you need to take your idea to the next level is invaluable.

Salim Ismail from Entrepreneur India shares the different roles any core team should have—check them out here.

5. Look to the future

Show us how you got to where you are now, and what plans you have to take your idea further. Even if it’s not solid, mapping out your progress and where you intend on taking your idea is an important part of showing us the vision you have for your idea.

Quick tips:
• Draw up your development like a timeline! It’s such an easy way to show what you’ve been up to from day 1, and how you want to develop from now.
• Start from the beginning—what motivated to your passion behind the idea? Take us through a storyline beginning at the problem you’re tackling and how you arrived at the solution
• Make a list of short-term and long-term goals you want to achieve—this may help with solidifying how you want to take your idea forward

Read more about how good planning will benefit your business in the long run here.

We all make mistakes; the key is to learn from them! If you would like to apply to the Modern Aging program, you can submit your applications here. Applications are accepted till June 30th.

By Diya Gopalan
Edited by Jananie Audimulam

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