Owning a business is the dream of many people on this planet, but not everyone is ready to take the risk and start doing something. The situation is further complicated by the fact that there is a lot of noise around: some will tell you how to make a million sitting at home, others will share an “incredible story and tricks” on how to buy a Ferrari tomorrow, and still others will offer expensive training with 5 zeros.
Before launching a startup project, determine the exact direction of the activity.
The direction of the company is the foundation of the house: a foundation is needed for future floors.
The ideal business is located at the intersection of skills, interest, and earnings. A basic aspect of building a successful startup is finding your ideal intersection point between your skills, interests, and financial benefits.
Ask yourself why? This seems to be a simple question, but the time comes when things don’t go the way they wanted, hope for improvement will diminish and you will need to remind yourself why you are in this business. For an entrepreneur, development and growth are processes that never completely end. As a result, it is essential to formulate a mission. This approach allows you to constantly maintain focus on the goals of the project, as well as remember the personal expectations of the business.
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What type of activity will you choose for your future company? What is your favorite thing to do? And, what turns you on and keeps you awake? You can’t create a successful startup without Commonly, true love for a job grows when you feel successful. When thinking about the direction of your company, do not focus on momentary passion, imagine what will give you a sense of satisfaction in the future.
What are your strengths? What unique talents or abilities do you possess? Are you a highly-skilled designer, developer, salesperson, or jack of all trades? Write down as many of your skills as possible.
You probably have not achieved excellence in all areas yet, but you have a set of talents, knowledge, and the potential to succeed.
Once you’ve identified your passion and your list of talents, ask yourself two more questions: Can you link your interests and skills to create a startup that solves other people’s problems? If so, here’s the second question: is the demand enough to make a profit?
The overwhelming majority of startups are launched to solve a problem that worries 2 people on Earth. In no case should you rely on the principle: I have a problem, which means that it worries everyone. Do your research and determine what is important for people.
But if you are not ready to close the project or develop in a different direction, you cannot start research.
When you suspect that you are terminally ill, and are going to the doctor, write 2 plans of action: the first is the case when the doctor confirms the fears, and the second – if he says that you are healthy. When both plans are the same, the need to go to the doctor disappears. By analogy, if you don’t know how to apply research results, you shouldn’t start.
An available testing method is focus groups. Take a group of people who have a problem, let them use the solution, observe, and ask for feedback. Another option is split tests. Track where people click on the site split the traffic in half, then change the settings and see how users are now behaving.
Now we’ll say the opposite – don’t do research. There is no paradox in this. To find out what is important for people is the first question. But to find out what they want – no.
Henry Ford once said: “If I asked what people need, they would answer me – faster horses.” It explains the point. If you were asked 10 years ago what product you would need to call your friends, you would hardly name a piece of metal without a single button.
Apple has never done market research. It is impossible to investigate what does not exist.
Actually, it was impossible in 2005 to predict the demand and know what people expect from a touchscreen smartphone. It is unrealistic in 1980 to understand what they want to see a graphical interface because the first one appeared along with the Macintosh personal computer.
According to one of the founders, they observed what problems users have and how they try to cope with them on their own. And then, it would seem simple: you discover a problem, and the solution is already in your head all that remains is to offer a more convenient way. However, don’t ask questions – you shouldn’t know what other people think of that. See how they behave. Moreover, people lie when asked.
The well-known fact: people who left the toilet were asked which of them washed their hands. Almost everyone answered positively, but the camera above the washbasin recorded that 40% of the respondents had lied.
People, answering a question, say how they would like to act or how it should be. But they won’t do that.
Sending an invitation offering to sign up for alpha testing is one of the most popular ways. Everything would be fine, but then they judge the prospects of the product by the number of subscriptions. By agreeing to an invite, people are not going to use the service.
It’s a free beer question. If you’re offering beer for free, many will do. And if you expect to be bought later, I’m afraid the conversion will disappoint you.
This can be a sketch on paper, a landing page on the Internet, a prototype made from paper, etc.
Here it might make sense to turn to design thinking and work on brainstorming solutions. Again, with any prototype, you need to go straight to your favorite target audience and improve the prototype until the first commercial version is ready. But here, no perfectionism, please.
What to do? Discussing the elements of an insight-based solution. We make an online or offline prototype and test it with the target audience. We record the results, improve and prepare the first selling release of the product.
At this point, there should already be a product that can be sold. Because any idea is good only when it is sold for money.
Depending on whether B2B or B2C or another market, you need to choose the right price tag and look at the test results. Most likely, before the stage of a stable business, you will have to change the business model 2-3 times.
What to do? Determine how and for how much to sell a product. How to succeed in this? There are lots of tools including A / B tests, creating impressive landing pages, etc.
At the fifth stage, the development team takes over. Developers appoint executors, define roles, establish communication channels and work together with the founders and the promotion team. Together with the founders, they decide which technology stack and which programming languages to use to solve the assigned tasks. Don’t know where to find a professional team of developers? Take a look at engineering marketplaces.
Now it’s time to start prototyping and creating MVP – a minimum viable product. What problem does it solve? First of all, it allows you to get feedback from users and understand what needs to be improved and corrected.
“This is a powerful method to quickly test the effectiveness of your idea. After all, it is much more reasonable to first launch a business model with minimal opportunities and then, if it meets expectations, expand the functionality and invest in development.” – as nicely explained by Brian J. T., the CTO at Engre.co, in one of his recent interviews.
What is your business model? Can it be scaled up? We finally decided on the direction, problem, and product before launching a startup. Make sure there is a market for your solution. The next step is to calculate if your business model is capable of bringing the product to market, making a profit, and scaling up.
The larger your customer base, the cheaper it is to manufacture one unit of your product. For example, if you are building an application and the development cost is $250,000, a customer base of 10,000 would mean that the cost per unit of your product is $25.
If you only have 4,000 customers and you need to generate a certain amount of income, the price of your product goes up. However, if your competitors offer a much cheaper product, you’re in luck – you ran into a potential problem early in your startup.
The business model must scale, or the company will die.
One of the main advantages of developing and selling software is that the cost of increasing the volume is negligible.
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Completed the first six startup steps? Then you raise financial capital (if you do not intend to develop the company through your efforts), create a product, achieve a successful product/market combination, and create a repeatable and scalable business model.