How To Launch A Successful Startup
How To Launch A Successful Startup

The startup is a new project in the innovation sector, which is working on the commercialization of its ideas. In theory, launching a startup is simple: an idea, a team, investors, a product – and you’re almost done. But in practice, there are lots of questions.

We have compiled a step-by-step guide for launching a startup and will answer the most popular questions about the main problems of a startup.

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1. How can I figure out if my idea will work?

An idea is the foundation of any startup. Here’s your checklist for a good idea:

  • innovation;
  • scalability;
  • relevance;
  • the idea, that is interesting to the team;
  • minimum implementation plan;
  • team, that is open to criticism;
  • not a too complicated idea;
  • In-depth study and ease of launch.

 Besides, you should develop a prototype and tested hypotheses. For a startup, it’s important:

  • create a minimally viable version of the product;
  • show it to consumers;
  • evaluate their reaction;
  • and decide whether to continue on a course or change direction.

2. Where should I find like-minded people for creating a team?

Go to thematic meetings, conferences, lectures, and parties. Tell the maximum number of people about your idea!

We recommend participating in different meetups and hackathons. Many young teams come there to test ideas in a limited time format and find like-minded people.

3. Where should I find an idea?

As with team members searches, hackathons and meetup groups will help. At such events, the organizers propose to solve certain and existing business problems or problems of consumers.

You can also use the methodology of design thinking, choose a problem that is interesting for you, examine it and find an unobvious solution.

4. You have a team, you have an idea. What’s next?

Keep checking how viable your decision is. Create a prototype. Look for the first customers. Projects supporting startups will help:

  • Mentoring sessions (matchmaking). Mature entrepreneurs and experts in a certain field advise start-up companies, help to look at the solution from the other point of view, help to find weak points and recommend improvements.
  • Incubators. These are programs aimed at developing a concept, creating a team and a prototype. They help develop a raw idea and shape the product at an early stage.
  • Accelerators help polish a product, develop a sales technique, enter the market, find first customers and attract investments.
  • Start-up competitions. This is a perfect opportunity to conduct a crash test of your idea at any stage, get feedback and product tips, find a source of investment or receive an invitation to international incubators and accelerators.

5. Where should I get money for a startup?

There are 5 main ways to finance startups:

  • Bootstrap helps you to work on a project without any external investment, at its own expense. At this stage, you create a prototype, get feedback from potential customers and understand if the market needs a product like that.
  • FFF (friends, family & fools). If you still need to attract small investment to get the first version of the product done, try the FFF method – attract small amounts of money from family, friends, and acquaintances who believe in your success.
  • Business angels are private investors who will help you not only with investments (we are talking about the amount from several tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars) but also with mentoring, sharing their experience.
  • Venture capital investments. Venture funds invest in startup ideas with an already proven business model and good growth dynamics. Price tags are from hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Crowdfunding is an option for young startups. This is a relatively easy way to get the investments you need. They use the remuneration principle, that is, people who give you money receive something for this (for example, a free copy of the product).

6. You have an idea, a team, and money. What is important to know about production?

First, make sure that your idea will save customers from some kind of problem. Analyze the audience, its size, find analogs of your decision and determine how you will differ from competitors.

Prototype development is a prerequisite before launching a startup. It is a working version of the product, but not the final one.

Gradually complicate questions for verification and improve the characteristics of the prototype. As a result, the first demo version that you show to real users will not be that raw.

If a startup is at an early stage of development and the team has already produced a product for sale, some of the “angels” will probably be interested in it.

  • Next comes the first stage of financing.
  • The second stage is the direct implementation of a startup on the market.
  • And the third stage starts when the project has already proved stability in the market and plans to develop even more services.

You should test your project before implementing it, and you should come up with a working model, you should polish the idea. The main thing is to launch the product on the market gradually: for example, first launch one batch and receive feedback.

7. Entering the market and finding your first customers. Who should I contact, where should I go and how should I promote the product?

If you know the audience, it will be easy to find it. Look for «early adopters» – these are people who like to be the first to test products, give recommendations and suggestions for its development.

Then, focus on the main advantage of the product and try to convey it to potential customers. Use calls, letters, personal meetings. If you see that all this works, you can switch to using paid advertising channels.

8. What’s next?

The company remains a startup until it finds a reproducible and scalable business model.

What do you need for this:

  • Make sure that the audience is large and achievable.
  • Then make sure that the company covers the needs of the audience and, at the same time that the sales and turnover are growing.
  • Calculate the economic performance and make sure that the business is profitable.
  • If not, think about what’s wrong. Perhaps the team chose the wrong business model or did not define the audience in the right way.
  • Try to make a pivot – change the earnings model or the logic of creating a product. With it, you can change the course of a startup, to test new directions of development. Most often, the pivot is used if the company could not reach the target audience or achieve the goal.

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9. And if everything goes well and the company grows, streamline business processes and scale your business!

The task of the startup is to minimize the risk of failure to achieve the intended goal at each of the described stages.

Accelerators help to avoid the most common mistakes. Market and industry stakeholders can support product launch and the first stages of promotion.

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