Starting out to build your first idea can be daunting. Fortunately there is a wealth of information and education out there – but what do you focus on first? How much must you spend? What should you spend it on? And how do you get the word out?
You can seriously improve your chances of survival by making sure that each area of your business is strong, and well thought out before you start trading – just follow these 7 top tips:1. What’s the Big Idea?
Your purpose matters! If it’s just money, there are much easier and less stressful ways of making it. Your purpose will keep you on track and guide you when making decisions and when times are tough.
Ask yourself; why are you best positioned to uniquely solve this problem for your potential customer? And if you can answer this in a one-line pitch to tell whoever you meet, so much the better.
2. Know your Customers (and competition!)
Understand very clearly who your customer is, if they’re a buyer, seller or creator, and their specific age. This helps you understand the correct demographics, branding, language, messaging and keeps you focused on your target market when testing your idea.
Then, know your competition. Who are they? Why do you consider them competition? And how do you make sure you’re different?
3. It’s all in the details
In order to tell people what exactly it is that you or your product does, it’s a good thinking exercise to be very clear on what you don’t do. That way, you’ll clearly see where your advantages lie, and why customers should pick you over your competitors.
4. What are the risks?
The best way to mitigate risk in the early stages is to speak to potential customers, investors and other startup founders and entrepreneurs. Share your idea with people you trust and listen actively to the feedback. This is the best time to tweak your idea before you start spending time, money and effort.
This is the valuable early learning stage when you're testing your mockup or prototype on potential customers. A key lesson here is to build the absolute bare minimum that you can to get your concept across. So if a sketch on paper works, use that! What you’re trying to find out is if anyone cares about the problem you're solving and will potentially give you their cash to solve it. Get out of the building and talk to people you don't know for some honest feedback.
6. Start building
Now that you know that people care - go build something! This is the place where things normally grind to a crawl, but ask yourself every day - what feature can I remove? What is the least I can build to get the product out the door? You're not aiming for perfection here - all we want is to get something workable into a customer’s hands. That's when the real learning begins - so get a landing page out there to capture leads and interests soon possible, and start the build from there.
7. The dreaded pitch
Pitching is a skill – but it doesn’t have to be hard. We've worked with Guy Kawasaki, the undisputed king of pitching to build the perfect pitch deck. This is a guide, which you should adapt to your specific idea and style. But whatever happens, pitch to everyone, all the time. Pitching helps you refine your message, learn what customers and investors want and even help you land customers or investment.