Becoming an entrepreneur and be 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 21 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 product. Just follow 5 steps of our startup guide to transform your great idea into a successful startup.
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’re reading this article, it's 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 the outside and answer a short list of questions before you take any rash decision and then regret forever.
Does your idea solve a well and truly big problem?
Will people be ready to pay for what you are going to offer them?
Can your startup become a business that is able to exist for more than a year?
Has anyone else ever done it or doing it?
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 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 enterprises have a few similarities: the way how those succeeded startupers approached, led, built a team, spread the brand name, etc.
However, the way to success is through mistakes. Entering the business world, you will have no idea how to act at some point and your plans will not always work out. Every startuper has his own way through the thorns. And by pushing oneself through them, you will get the invaluable experience that makes an entrepreneur out of the startuper. A true entrepreneur is ready to face every next challenge.
Create a business plan
Business planning is a 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 to discover any weaknesses in your business idea, identify opportunities you may not have considered and overthink every step of a starting your company. It is plan on how you will deal with challenges that are likely to arise and prepare your startup for success.
Usually, business plan includes:
Products and Services
Management & Organization
Startup Expenses & Capitalization
The well-written business plan is another point in favor of your business while convincing investors or lenders to finance your business.
However, not all business plans are the same. As well as not every business needs the same level of detail. A relatively simple business plan to start a small business might be enough for you. Then you can elaborate your business plan 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, as they are tailored for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Let’s be honest, to get the funding you’ll have to make a good impression on 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 can't do everything yourself. Just admit it. You will need experts from different areas (product developers, testers, designers, etc.). A developed team is a must. Make sure your team will work together during difficult times.
You can't get «perfect employees», who won't waste time, would do their best and make every step on time. Those employees don’t exist, because every person has his/her own strengths and weaknesses. Your aim is to nurture them by showing the value and importance of their contribution to the success of your company. Only team, which believes in the future of the startup will improve the productivity of your entire organization and force the achievement of result you expect.
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 yours startup potential clients*. Still, you don’t have to rush with MVP launch. Paper prototyping might be a reasonable step to begin with. Show and sell your idea through schematic visualization – illustrations and diagrams sketched on paper.*
In case of an innovative startup idea, make the demand for your startup product clear 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 receive feedback from clients. In short, MVP is a cost-effective way to test startup hypothesis. In a fast-paced world you need to respond quickly to changes. 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.
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. Moreover, try to get leadership on the market before your great patented idea becomes useless. *
Startup guide. Step 3: Collect data on the launch of MVP.
Collect data, organize and filter it to get more insights on 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, as well as for setting objectives and generation of all necessary tactical solutions.
Startup guide. Step 4: Evaluation of the result.
Follow these rules:
Use advanced analytics tools to measure and evaluate user activity, e.g. ,Google Analytics.
Run an A/B testing that directly compares a variation against a current experience.
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 continue, as well as to be improved constantly. The fifth step of our startup guide includes:
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 revise 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 startuper and 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!