There are a lot of ideas out there and every idea has specific challenges. An idea can evolve into a startup, when it is connected to courageous persons, willing to take the risk. A company originating from an idea is a great thing, based on hard work, endurance and is developed at the cost of great privations. If you want to enter this world of failure and glory (and yes, of $ and €), keep on reading.
How to start a startup? Learn from others, listen to the market.
In nowadays there is a huge variety of books and blogs about how to start a startup. Two of the most famous ones probably are: “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries and “Rework” by the Founders of 37 signals. Both books, (which by the way in terms of the Internet time line are really old,) want to give advices to those persons who are thinking about leaving their comfortable life as an employee and start their own “thing” instead. Reading those books may give you interesting new insights and benefit from the lessons, others already had to learn from. Lesson ONE: A product should be developed following the customers needs. So listen to, on what the market tells you.
We at secu-ring also had to learn, that a product is not defined by technical ideas, but rather by the people who use it. Technical concepts have to fulfill market needs. So as form follows function an application follows user needs. Learning this lesson costs you some money, but when you have learned it, it starts paying back.
But how do you get Feedback from the market, if your trying to make a fresh start in a completely unknown field of business? At first you could use your existing network and ask friends and business contacts or try to call potential customers. If you’re not already a master of pitching, your conversations (or power point presentation) probably won’t create the level of comprehension and excitement, you’d have expected. So your idea is not ready for the market and you have to invest more time to refine it. You could team up with (at least) another person, with a different set of skills and you probably should do so. Together you can think about your strategies, needed features and present it on a number of occasions, like local startup events to gather valuable feedback. Or try to find a business angel, who will help you with his network and experience. If you have a lot of time and enough money to live on for a while, this could be an option. But time is money and your idea may occur to others too. So let’s speed things up a bit and take your idea right to the really important persons: your customers.
MVP: reduce features – increase speed
Just imagine, being forced to present your application or product in one month to your first customers (or potential Vcs). Therefore you should introduce your idea/application/service in an absolute minimalistic form, with a feature set only containing things needed to get it work and the one killer: Your USP. This idea of the so called minimum viable product (mvp) is very useful.
From my experience in developing applications for customers, I know that it is not easy to reduce an idea to the minimum. The best you can do is to write down the features your application will need to be just a little useful for a future user. Then cross out 75% of your planned features and you are getting close to the plan for an MVP.Developing this feature set will give you a fast evidence if your idea works or not.
If you keep things easy in the beginning, you stay a lot more agile and changes are easier to realize. And you will have to change a lot of things, based on the feedback, you will get from our early adopters. Maybe you have to rethink your idea as a whole, but then again, this will save you from many hours of hard work and no success, with you having no clue why. So don’t hesitate, implement your idea in a working application. If you think this is a mission impossible, ask us at secu-ring. We have created a service for this challenge to support your task to be the first on the market with an mvp that works.
In the whole startup scene there is always a big hype of who got how much money from an investor. So one might be led to the idea, that its all about money. But its not. The exact opposite is true. Its all about the idea and its implementation in software. Before you can scale your idea with a lot of money you need to show that your idea is working. Adding money to a bad idea doesn’t improve it. Realizing a good idea with a small amount of money will show that its a good and working application. And finding an investor for the scaling of a working application is a whole lot easier.