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You have an idea for a startup, but you’re worried that you’re not going to make the best of it? Let’s be clear: Nothing will ruin your idea faster than delaying the process of turning a business idea into a product. So today we’re going to cover some of the core startup tips on how to get started from your concept to the actual implementation and “get real” with your business.
Startup Tip #1: Start with the product vision
Where do you start your startup? Right from your objectives and goals you want to achieve! Figure out precisely what it is that you want to do. If your startup’s vision can’t fit into one sentence, you’ll have a tough time convincing users that you’re doing something worthwhile. Also, without a clearly defined vision, you are deprived of a reference point that helps you make the right strategic and tactical decisions. Here are some of the examples of startups who have a clear vision:
- Airbnb: creating an open world where everyone can feel at home wherever they are.
- Basecamp: communication is the foundation of project management.
- Lyft (Uber-like startup): providing people with pleasant and affordable rides.
Startup Tip #2: Develop a strategy
You will never achieve goals that you haven’t set for yourself. With that being said, innovative startup projects are no different from traditional businesses – they must have goals and a strategy to achieve them. They may change as the project evolves, but it is difficult to guide the team without them.
Two types of strategies that are definitely worth paying attention to at the start: business strategy and marketing strategy. You can think about functional strategy later when the product appears, and the need to expand the staff will arise: sales, advertising, PR, HR, etc. There is also a value block related to strategy and answers the question: why are we doing this? This is the vision, mission, and values.
Startup Tip #3: Use flexible approaches
Sometimes you talk to the founders of a startup, and it turns out that development has been going on for a year or two, but the team has not yet interacted with a single live customer. There are critical cases when several versions of a product have already been designed or even fully assembled, but not a single user has seen them. This is a typical late start problem.
To avoid this situation, use agile methodologies. However, a complicated methodology is not required, general principles are more than enough: quick launch of MVP, iterations with obligatory release at the end, constant analytics, communication with the end-users, storing all the ideas and wishes in the backlog, project journal, team discussion of the project status, and further actions.
If all this sounds strange and you want to do the project long and quietly according to the usual waterfall or step-by-step model – read some of the books on this list first:
- “The Lean Startup” Eric Ries.
- “The JTBD Approach”
Startup Tip #4: Offer limited functionalities
You are solving a business problem, right? Then one of the startup tips for you to follow is to refuse beautiful things that have nothing to do with your solution! Today’s users are willing to choose products with limited but unique functionality (like Snapchat), and services like Facebook are considered boring.
Get in the habit of saying no to any suggestion of a new feature. The same goes for feature requests from users. Consider adding it only after it’s clear that more and more people are demanding the feature. For example, Twitter didn’t start using previews for links until 2015, nine years after its launch.
The main danger here lies in the fact that the creation of features often requires some kind of functionality refinement (i.e., other features), which quite quickly turns the product into something complicated and incomprehensible.
Startup Tip #5: Examine Similar Market Solutions
You are unlikely to be the first to come up with a genius idea that no one else has thought of before, but at the same time, it will make you billions. Most likely, the niche you are about to enter already has competitors. If there are none, it is probably a sign that there is no money in that niche. So, here are a few startup tips that you should follow:
- Explore topics that are close to you – Try to assess how many clients your competitors have, what free activities they offer, how they organize promotions. Go to a few free webinars and see what questions listeners ask (this is also a great source of insights for an educational product)
- Pay attention to indirect competitors – For example, if you start an online school where you teach children programming, your indirect competitors will organize art clubs online and other projects that compete for children’s attention.
- Think about how you will be different from your competitors – How will you improve service or offer customers a service that other companies don’t have?
- It is handy to train in 1-2 projects to see how the “inner kitchen” of an online school is arranged from the inside.
Startup Tip #6: Find a co-founder
The success of a startup largely depends on its founders – their energy and competence. This is one of the essential startup tips out there. As it is possible to make a startup on your own, but there is a significant risk that you will run out of steam in the middle of the road before you get to the launch.
Look for a partner and keep in mind: it is better if it is not relatives or close friends. Starting a business from scratch is not an easy thing to do, and there is a great risk of losing both friends and business.
Hence a couple of rules:
- Choose people as partners with whom you feel comfortable working and communicating. It is good when the co-founders complement each other in skills and personality (for example, one can take care of marketing, and the other – the methodology of teaching and conduct classes).
- Negotiate all terms “on the shore” – Decide how you divide your profits, what you invest your earnings in, and what you do if one of you wants to leave the startup. It is best to make a contract in which you spell out all the terms of the agreement.
Startup Tip #7: Communicate with your clients. Constantly.
This is difficult for lots of entrepreneurs, so if you feel that it might end up badly, don’t do it. The main benefit of communicating with customers is that you begin to understand what your customers are thinking, how they feel, and how they use your product. Understanding this is critical to the growth of any business. Even if customer communication had no other benefits, it would still be worth pursuing. But there are other benefits, after all:
- You’ll better understand your customers’ type and know what’s important to them (it will improve your marketing strategy as a result)
- You’ll turn unsatisfied customers into satisfied ones
- You’ll get feedback and comments that would otherwise go unspoken (and could lead to customer dissatisfaction or even customer abandonment)
Startup Tip #8: Focus on a small market niche
A narrow target audience is exactly what will attract investors to your project. For example, a specialized social network or an informational blog for Russian-speaking doctors. Yes, this limits the potential for scaling the project, but investors will appreciate its feasibility. This one is very practical and solid advice out of all demonstrated startup tips.
A lot of startup tips are connected with every development stage and do touch upon your business plan. As well as the general development plan where you indicate all of the features implementations and product a complete application. However, what if you are entirely new to it and don’t really know where you should start but have a deep desire to do it right. How can you surpass this uneasy matter?
JetRuby has developed a technological flow with one core priority: understanding how your digital product can be correctly designed to avoid such complications. The very first step of our technological development flow is called a Product Development Strategy. It is an accessible business consulting service where our experts will produce a general plan covering the future product development and the action plan with high-level features. Already got interested? Leave your project details below, and we will contact you in under 24 hours!