I stumble upon a lot of different sources online about starting a startup from the ground up. However, most of them are written in a way that it’s confusing and contradictory to readers. A lot of them aren’t supported by actual evidence and real data, which is the main reason why I decided to write this story.
My aim with this story is to take away the connotation that starting a venture is hard and stressful. It doesn’t really have to be once you generate your own mental framework by using the following principles below. See, we all want to witness the world move forward and we don’t want our future life to be just bleak, cold, and gray.
However, not everyone makes their plans to create a possible future. You can literally create the next Uber, Apple, Airbnb, Oracle, Microsoft, and Twitter just from where you’re sitting right now while reading this story. The world definitely needs more leaders, entrepreneurs, and thinkers and you have the power to become one.
I hope that with this article, I inspire more generations to come to think bigger and to think differently. You can certainly become one right now!
Disclaimer: Whatever you are about to read is a result of a 5-year study, research, and experience about the topics of a startup, technology, innovation, and design.
1. Imagine the future while living in the present
This is somehow has become a fundamental requirement in order to become a phenomenal entrepreneur. A true visionary sees the future and will decide to do something about it. Have you wondered why most billionaire tech companies were founded and led by a visionary? Well, here you have it. You either work with one or work long enough to become one. Visionaries are the ones who invent the future because they are not afraid to disrupt the status quo.
2. Look for what’s currently missing
Now look for ideas that the future will definitely have and if is not present to the current reality, then you can make it. Be sure to think in terms of ideas that help humanity move forward. Ideas that make people’s lives better in any way. History has shown that successful billion-dollar companies were all started with a vision to make the world better.
3. Play around with different ideas
Write down ideas, like write them down in a notebook. Remember when they used to tell you that when an idea pops up in your mind, you need to write it down immediately? Well, this is why. Ideas come and go and they don’t stay. So, if you don’t write an idea that can potentially great in the future, it might as well vanish in thin air.
4. Ask the important questions or come up with guiding questions
Are you offering something valuable here? Are your users getting out of it? Are you saving them time or money? Are you solving a real problem?
Note: A lot of entrepreneurs skip this step and it is often the main reason why they end up failing, because no one wants or needs their product. Finding the answers to this is fundamental and it changes the way your startup grows. Having the answers to these questions put you ahead of the game.
4. Make a very simple prototype
After you’ve chose an idea to work on, the most important next step is to make a very simple prototype of your product or service that your users or customers can feel. Don’t jump directly to development, that’s a big mistake! Make sure to always go into the same process of the prototype first before development.
5. Show it to 100 people
Next is to find people in your circle and first show it to them. It doesn’t have to be 100 people, but the mindset here is that the more people you show it to, the better. This is because you accumulate more responses and feedbacks, thus gaining more insights into whether your product is something they might want or need.
6. Ask for opinions and feedbacks
This is a very crucial step that most entrepreneurs don’t bother doing.
Don’t make the same old mistake of assuming, always ask!
Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator says,
“Spend time with your customers”
7. Go to the next iteration round
With all the responses and feedbacks in your hands, use them to guide you to the changes you will apply to your prototype. Make sure to categorize the feedbacks that will help your user or customer accomplish their goal and those who don’t. Some feedbacks don’t make sense, that’s okay! You need to find those that make sense and you certainly don’t have to apply every feedback they give to you. Always focus only on what’s important and helpful to your end-user.
8. Find a co-founder or co-founders
Better if you have 2 or 3 co-founders. This is an aspect that will be crucial for your company's growth. A founding team impacts your ability to raise money or how the public perceives you and your company or even if the company will succeed or not. You need to be able to work with someone to increase your chances of success. You need help and working alone won’t get you too far.
Find co-founders that are extremely talented and that are willing to work for the common vision or goal. You also have to see if they are workable and sociable. You might want someone that is smarter than you in a different aspect and you need someone that will push you to your limits. A common mistake is that founders get friends to be co-founders. But if you happen to have a friend that smart, well-connected, and talented, that’s perfect!
9. Look for funding
Raising money can take time, it either takes 25% or 50% of your time.
The earlier you can do it, the better
A successful Italian Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Adriano Farano, once said,
“Fundraising is distracting, so distracting that it takes your time to do great things for your startup.“
10. Launch the product
Now you have to execute and you have to do this very well.
The billionaire NYC real estate developer once mentioned in an interview,
“Everyone have ideas, but it’s the execution that matters. You have to be in every second of it and it’s the small details that come together that matter. ”
11. Practice being patient
Post-launch, take time to observe how users or customers use and experience your product. Study them and exploit anomalies so you can continuously make your product better. This is also a good time to reflect on how your expectations mirrored reality. Did it turn out how you expected it?
12. Are your users coming back to use it or buy it?
A. Yes? Plan for next, keep growing, and move on!
B. No? Go back to iteration and launch again!
Here you go, gents! Hope this story has helped you understand the simple process of creating a startup. As you saw, it doesn’t have to be difficult to transform an idea into a product. Looking forward to seeing you work hard and doing whatever it takes to start your future company. I’m soon starting to tackle each point in more detail, so follow me to get updated! :)