Not all startups need a desk decorated with an iMac, or have an app.
But all startups do start as an idea.
An idea can be anything you can dream off, sometimes literally. It can be physical, digital or service oriented and have a platform through which your customers can use, consume or gain from it. Whatever they get from your idea is all based on a simple necessity that they need, or didn’t know they wanted.
If you can fill any of the above requirements, congratulations you now have a startup.
The Basics of Starting Up
An idea can be anything you can
dream off, sometimes literally.
Weborithm has ‘started’ many ideas over the years. Some had a short lived existence and some have sustained small teams over the years…and then-some.
At the end of the day, they were all just ideas thought up in the middle of the night, while taking a walk or while browsing an obscure internet forum.
Ideas can hit anyone anywhere, not just in a boardroom or by Harvard drop-outs.
Our process for ‘starting up’ usually consisted of the following:
- Can I build it myself, or do I need a team?
- How big of a team?
- Who is my potential customer?
- Would I use it myself?
- Would you, as a customer, pay for it?
- Who are you competing against and how can you be better than them?
P.S: You must answer ‘Yes’ to at least 3 of the above.
Once a need, plan and concept are decided on…the work begins. The dynamics of building something yourself versus doing it with someone else is very different. First off, and very important, is delegation. Who does what?
Here’s where most startups fail.
If you are the guy with *just* the idea and have no real contributing abilities, that actually help get the product built, then you should probably build a skill set first (unless you’re the guy with the money, in which case you’re the founder investor now).
Some of us were in the same position and took some time to learn a craft or two, surely we all found areas that we could really contribute in, which is very important for any startup. It’s never too late to learn something new.
Combining a workflow and having a central point for task benchmarks is important. This helps everyone stay on track and creates a healthy environment towards completion and accountability.
Your Minimum Viable Product needs to have the basics of your concept set in stone and offer the user the What, Why and How of your idea.
My smoothie stand combines fresh fruit with dry fruit combinations to help provide various health benefits, and to help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
What is your startup product and what does it do? Does your product make sense at first glance.
The best way to address this is with an elevator pitch. “My product is _____ and caters to the user looking to do _____ . It helps the user to accomplish _____ .”
If your MVP can make a simple task automated, easier, more accessible or faster then you will have a customer for it.
The right combination of fresh and dry fruits can help you lose, or gain, weight.
Why is your startup product necessary? Why did you feel that it needed to be built?
When we built our auction plugin, there was nothing on the market like it. It was in MVP stage for almost 2 years before us, and the WordPress community, really started to pay attention to it. The product started to kick off only after 3 years. Sometimes it takes time for the market to mature to the product as well. We learned this, so you didn’t have too.
Lesson: Make sure that your user base is large enough for you to actually see some traction.
Our smoothie ingredients are mixed in various portion sizes depending on your requirements.
How does your startup product work? What are the main features that stand out?
Your product should be easy to use without the need for an instruction manual. This again goes back to your elevator pitch.
If it takes you 30 seconds to describe the product it should take your user no longer than 30 seconds to understand how to use it.
Launch, be ready to fall
Even if your product falls flat after launch, doesn’t mean nobody wants it. It could be several factors:
- Poor marketing
- Not enough information
- Bad timing
- Your competitor had a bigger announcement
- It’s Monday
When we launched our startup for web design services, we didn’t even have a proper website ready. I know, right?
We started with one client, who we offered a free job…just to get our name out, and before they ‘revealed’ their new site we put ours together in around half a day. That included the domain name, i.e Weborithm, the logo and a 4 page website.
That was quite the day. Here we are, 11 years later.
Since then we’ve worked with clients all over the world and built sites, products and campaigns of various magnitudes. But it took us almost 6 years of self-discovery and learning before our skill set was polished enough to be able to deliver to a client.
To think, making a living on the web was the idea that started all this.