Is it enough to start investing time and money in an idea simply because the idea "sounds good"? A good start is to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of the idea (This is known as a SWOT analysis), followed by a quick mockup or prototype.
How to start: Write it down (on a sheet of paper, text it to yourself, Google Docs, anything).
Need my help: Lunch is a good time for me, or while mountain biking..., but usually lunch time.
How to start: Start by showing your idea to friends and family. See how they react. Jot down suggestions, then SWOT those suggestions.
Need my help: I can help you by creating mockups and prototypes that help you explain your idea to others.
Alight, at this point it starts to look like you got something worth putting time and money into, so it is time to figure out how much time and money.
How to start: The first task is to estimate how valuable the idea is. Get yourself a simple business plan template and fill it out.
How to start: Begin by specifying what needs to be done. Break down the idea into Milestones, Sprints, and Tasks. Don't worry, you will most likely be working very closely with me on this.
Need my help: I can help you with some basic project management and break down the idea into Milestones, Sprints, and Tasks. I will provide time estimates for tasks assigned to me and my team.
Some tasks will have known solutions, while others will need research before finding a solution. In order to guide the design process, it is important to get users to interact with the application as soon as possible. Therefore, it is important to identify those tasks that will comprise the Minimum Viable Product that users will be able to use to provide feedback.
How to start: Begin by prioritizing the task lists. Move any non-priority tasks to the backlog.
It is important to explore and compare solutions to problems, not just anchor to the first solution available. Exploring multiple solutions allows us to refine the stated problem and identify compromises that need to be made.
Budget restrictions will limit the amount of exploration to be made, but the budget must include at least one major exploration.
Say you need an ecommerce solution. You find WooCommerce and Magento provide a solution. You explore WooCommerce and find that it fits all your needs. Should you explore Magento? Yes. This is a major exploration that can expose significant unforseen limitations down the road. Start by finding out why some businesses choose Magento over WooCommerce, for example. Then perform a quick and dirty setup of Magento. Maybe you find things you'd like. Things you did not think about. Things that WooCommerce does way better. Explore until you have confidence you are making a good choice.
Need my help: Exploring multiple options may present technical barriers for you. I can help you overcome those barriers so we can keep exploring.
Alright, let's make this thing real.
How to start: Build your development team. Setup Development, Staging, and Production environments. Provide developers with specifications of what needs to be built.
Need my help: I can help assure that your project is built to specifications. I can be your lead developer.
Improve working solutions. Replace what did not work.
How to start: It is important to have metrics in place to identify what is working from what is not. Then go back, and find solutions.
Need my help: I can help you setup analytics software to monitor the success of the solutions implemented.
Nowadays, Virtual Private Servers can take you a long way before having to worry about deploying your own data centers. However, security may provide enough concern that you may chose to deploy your own data centers.
I can help you setup and manage a scalable app in the cloud and handle few critical events (like making sure load balancers are setup, monitoring uptime, etc.)
However, once your application grows to the point where constant monitoring may be necessary, I suggest you start building a DevOps team, but at that point, you are way past a Minimum Viable Product.