Idea - First of all, you should figure out what exactly you want to create. We don’t ask you to close your eyes and imagine how you’re making your first million. However, we recommend you to check your idea with a simple and very useful tool - The Value Proposition Canvas by Peter Thomson .Also before startup launching, give certain answers for these questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What problems of your target audience can be solved with the help of your product?
If you can’t answer, don’t even bother taking the next step! According to cbinsights.com, “no market need” is the reason of 42% startup failures!
After that try to define the core functions of your product. Don’t go into detail: keep something for later. Your main task now is to figure out the basic concept of your product and evaluate your capabilities to implement your plans.
The best way to do this - is to use PoC (Proof of Concept). It’ll help you test the viability and practical value of your concept, as well as determine the overall direction of your business.
Market research - let’s play “Dora the Explorer and Competitive Market”!Your mission:
- to analyze the market deeply: type, scope, condition, dynamics;
- to assess product market fit;
- to find your potential competitors, and learn how they develop their products.
The winner gets useful data and a strong background for startup launching and successful business planning. So don’t hesitate to do this task thoroughly! Define a business model - we don’t even propose you to choose a business model for your product. You MUST have one. Why is that so? At least because, according to cbinsights.com statistics, a product without a business model is the reason of 17% startup failures.
And yes, we recommend you use a canvas once again. This time you can try the Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur.
Naming - Apple, Uber, Google, Tesla, Canon, Trello, Slack...All these company and product names are catchy, short and easy to remember. You should think about the name of your product in the same way. Yet, if you don't feel like creating the name of you company , you can always use one of these name generators:
To increase the effectiveness of the canvas, it’s recommended to create alternative business models, taking into account different business development scenarios. Only after drawing up and considering several models you need to choose one.
IT-consulting - pay attention to your business strategy and technological aspects. Of course, you can take care of all these things by yourself.But if you aren't tech expert and you want to save your time and avoid mistakes, it’s better to invite professionals. There are many software development companies that can provide you with accurate consultations on your startup. IT-consultants can help you:
- test technical feasibility of your business model;
- find the best technological solution for your business needs;
- prevent possible errors before the project starts.
It’s up to you to decide how to deal with all this: by yourself or with the help of experts.
May the force of marketing be with you! - We want to emphasize that without a strong marketing plan (even if your product is cool) you are always one step behind your competitors. So take a deep breath … and here is one more checklist, of course:):
Professional IT-consulting helps your startup to evolve properly from the very first step and move to the next stages faster. (read How IT Consulting Can Help Your Tech Startup )
- set your end GOAL;
- define your target audience;
- conduct market research;
- analyze your competitors;
- determine your competitive advantages;
- develop key performance indicators (KPI);
- market positioning;
- set a budget for marketing needs;
- create channels for distribution (website, social networks, email, etc.);
- think of of content you want to share with your customers;
- create a content plan;
- choose the metrics;
- analyze the effectiveness of your ad campaigns.
Of course, it’s just a draft list. Don’t forget to develop a more complex marketing plan for your business needs.
Surround yourself with like-minded people - you know, it’s much easier to start and maintain a business if you have somebody to rely on. Support at this stage is very important. Who knows, it’s your chance to find a good business partner!Choose a task management system - the more people are involved in your startup, the harder it becomes to manage tasks. To be more productive, you can easily automate this process with the help of specific software, like:
- Microsoft Project
- Trello, etc.
Discuss the features and design of your future product with a dedicated software development team. You have to set the things straight if you want to avoid misunderstandings and mistakes in the future. In the ideal situation, you should define certain requirements for your future product and its feature set.
Qualified and responsible IT companies always suggest to start with MVP (Minimum Viable Product).
MVP creation - A Minimum Viable Product is a product, the development of which takes minimum time and money. Such product has only key functions, the relevance of which should be checked. The main goal of MVP is to get reasonable feedback from your customers, better understand your target audience needs.MVP helps to:
- save money and prevent from investment in failing project;
- check if your customers are interested in your product;
- choose the right direction of your product development;
- make changes that help improve your product;
- find potential customers and first “fans” of your product.
- A/B testing;
- Users interviews (you can use such services as Surveymonkey or Qualaroo);
- Fundraising platforms (like Kickstarter or Indiegogo);
- Ad campaigns (Google AdWords/ Bing/ social networks);
- Video tutorials explaining the features and benefits of your product;
Collecting & analyzing of customers feedback - working with feedbacks is always unpredictable. You can think that the product is cool, but sometimes customers have the opposite opinion. So be ready to receive critics - it will help you to improve your product.
Correct mistakes + add something new = improve your product - do we really have to explain something here? Repeat two previous steps as many times as you need to be sure that MVP is good enough.
Report analysis - when launching a startup, you set yourself a set of tasks, the implementation of which must be carefully monitored and analyzed. That’s why you need a specific tool that will help you arrange task performance reporting.
For example, JIRA can help you create and manage different types of reports within the project.
You can track and analyze such variables as Progress, Issues, Timeliness, Showstoppers, etc. Moreover, you can control resource utilization.
Be ready to invest a lot of money from your pocket. That’s why a Pre-Seed funding stage is also known as bootstrapping. Short (and a little bit mercantile) piece of advice: maintain good relationships with your friends and family - they are your first potential investors.
Also, you can start your searching for your first serious investors, like business angels or business incubators.
Make sure that source, where you’re going to search info about investors, is reliable. We recommend you to pay attention to:
- 20 Most Active Angel Investors
- 10 Best Startup Incubators in the World
- Angel Investment Network
- Business Incubator Lists by State