Practical Startup Guide: From Idea to Production
Becoming an entrepreneur and being one's own boss is a dream of millions. The evolution of the business world and market saturation nowadays may extinguish any wave of enthusiasm at the very beginning. Still, some of the dreamers make the cut.
A story of success for the 21st century: start out a small company and sell it a few years later for billions of dollars. A technology startup can bring you to the list of lucky ones.
So, what it takes to build a successful startup in 2018? Stop reading most essential books for every entrepreneur and start launching your own product. Just follow the 5 steps of our startup guide to transform your great idea into the optimal result.
Startup Guide. Step 1: Before You Start
Make Preparations for the Entrepreneurial Journey
Before entering the world of aspiring entrepreneurs, you need to have at least a sketch plan to get ready for all the challenges you may face on the road to your successful startup.
Since you are reading this article, it is obvious that you already have a business idea. Are you sure that the idea is truly great? Can it sustain a good business?
Make sure your startup idea is essential or at least suitable. The most startups failed not because they had a bad product but because this product was useless.
Take a look at your idea from aside and answer a short list of questions before you take any rash decision and then regret forever.
- Does your idea solve an actual problem?
- Will people be ready to pay for what you are going to offer?
- Can your startup become a business able to exist for more than a year?
- Has anyone else ever done it or is doing it now?
If you feel confident while answering those questions, you have an excellent chance to turn your great idea into a successful startup.
Remember, it’s only an ideation phase. There are still a lot of things to do, including exhaustive research, business plan preparation, pitching your idea to investors for capital, building a team.
Get Ready to Become an Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship is not a job. It is a lifestyle! Prepare yourself for the role. The strength of your startup will depend on the power of your idea, it’s true. Still, it’s also mandatory to develop yourself as a leader of your business. Look at the examples of successful entrepreneurs. Those people who are on top of big corporations, software development companies, or small enterprises have a few similarities: the way how those succeeded startuppers approached, led, built a team, spread the brand name, etc.
However, the way to success is built on mistakes. Entering the business world, at some point, you will have no idea how to act, and your plans will not always work out. Every startupper has their own way through the thorns. And by pushing oneself through them, you will obtain an invaluable experience and get ready to face each following challenge.
Create a Business Plan
Business planning is the right thing to do. Business advisors, bankers, investors, and experienced entrepreneurs would agree that you should develop a business plan before you start a business. It will help you discover weaknesses in your business idea, identify opportunities you may not have considered, and overthink every step of starting a company. It will help you deal with challenges that are likely to arise and prepare your startup for success.
Usually, business plan includes:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Products and Services
- Marketing Plan
- Operational Plan
- Management & Organization
- Startup Expenses & Capitalization
- Financial Plan
The well-written business plan is another point in your favor while convincing investors or lenders to finance your business.
However, not all business plans are the same as not every business needs the same level of detail. A relatively simple plan to start a small company might be enough for you at first, and you can elaborate it when seeking further funding and growth.
Find an Investor
Make sure you can cover your startup’s capital. Unless you have a loft full of cash or wholesale account, you will need financial help to turn your idea into a product. Seek for venture capital funds and mentorship to cover the first few years of your startup’s life.
Let’s be honest, to get the funding, you’ll have to persuade and amaze investors. On the first meeting with investors, you have only 30 seconds to make a good impression and get desirable opportunities, so preparation of an aspiring elevator pitch and a creative business plan is a must.
Your pitch, as well as your business idea, should be good enough to be developed over time. The better your pitch is prepared, the more confident an investor will be in funding your startup.
It Is All About Teamwork
You cannot do everything yourself. You will need experts from different areas (product developers, testers, designers, etc.), who would work as a team even at difficult times.
You will never find «perfect employees», your aim is to nurture them by showing the value and importance of their contribution to the success of your company. Only a team that believes in the future of the startup will demonstrate the highest productivity and performance.
Startup Guide. Step 2: Develop and Run a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
How to find out, whether consumers need your startup product or not?
In most cases, you can get the answer through direct communication with your startup potential clients. Still, you don’t have to rush with MVP launch. Paper prototyping might be a reasonable step to begin with, so show and sell your idea through schematic visualization – illustrations and diagrams sketched on paper.*
Analyze the demand for your startup product with minimal functions prelaunch. In other words, make a minimum viable product (MVP) for your startup and quickly release it to the market. Finalize your startup product as soon as you receive feedback from clients. The sooner you check your theory on mistakes, the sooner you will make a pivot to the right idea.
To launch an MVP, make sure you already have:
- A selected platform or a combined solution. Web, mobile, desktop, IoT or even VR – which one is yours?
- An idea for corporate design and style for the future. Start wireframing, prototyping, or mockuping.
- A development plan and technology stack. Optimize software development and operations lifecycle with specialized applications and tools.
- Website SEO and marketing plan to attract customers.
Please note, that an innovative idea should be secured. De-risk your great idea by patenting your invention (hire a patent attorney or make a patent application), sign confidentiality contracts with every involved person, etc. Make everything possible for your intellectual property protection.
Startup Guide. Step 3: Collect Data on the Launch of MVP
Collect data, organize and filter it to get more insights into your product performance. Create charts to monitor trends and detect touchpoints. Take into account that after the thorough analysis, the definition of the next steps and paths for the product development requires time. Include extra time for database operations, for setting objectives and generating all the necessary tactical solutions.
Startup Guide. Step 4: Evaluation of the Result
Follow these rules:
- Use advanced analytics tools to measure and evaluate user activity, such as Google Analytics.
- Run an A/B testing to compare expectations with an actual product.
- Ask questions to customers.
- While measuring the result, focus on the cause-effect indicators.
- Be flexible and ready to change the plan at any time.
Startup Guide. Step 5: Revise and Repeat
The analysis process should be continuous and constantly improved:
- Continue the measurement.
- Continuously expand the capabilities of the product.
- Integrate and launch updates quickly.
- Notify customers of any updates.
- Respond to customer feedback.
- Check the sales channels through advertising.
- Calculate the cost of attracting the client and evaluate the profitability of the product.
- Collect the data and check the market volume. Follow trends by attending professional workshops and conferences.
As a result, you should:
- Correct errors and fix bugs.
- Provide functional revision or update.
- Create a list of existing or missing future evolution processes for the project.
- Setup a further estimated roadmap, based on testing.
- Render a final verdict for your startup.
At this stage, it is important to understand that profit is not an indicator of success yet. If the startup’s working model is healthy, it is necessary to plan its further development and creation of a scalable, stable sales flow.
A startup is a great opportunity to make money. However, there are potential risks the startupper and the investor may face. We offer you a simple startup guide. The working model of the project is created, improved, and scaled, or another idea is generated. Following the startup guide for turning your invention ideas into a product will help you to bring into the proper correlation between time and money. Wish you to achieve success with our startup guide!