I imagine this is an article in the unicorn style of being. Many want to know the steps that lead to a startup’s success, the thousands or billions of dollars that make news worldwide, and the answers to questions that new entrepreneurs don’t even know to exist.
In the consultancies I’ve been working on, we try to follow an order that is at least basic, such as the following tips for an entrepreneur who will set off on a solo flight or with partners. Check them out below:
Before actually opening your business, you must answer the question: what market pain are you solving? With this answer, you will be sure that you are starting a business with the potential for success as long as this pain exists and it is not your “feeling” that is influencing you to decide on something wrong.
2. Validation of the thesis
Before you even start, validate that the pain you have diagnosed is real. Don’t “think that.” Research, talk to people within your customer profile, understand if the pain exists and if your solution will solve the problem in the best and most efficient way possible.
Build an MVP (minimum viable product), the simplest version of a product that the product can launch with the least effort and development. Run your MVP, test it, make adaptations, and then develop the final product and/or business model that will be your startup’s flagship.
4. Business plan
Build your startup’s business plan, draw the structure you will need (especially people), and be very clear about the main challenges, platforms (web, mobile or offline), places to launch the business, suppliers, and partners you will need. An excellent model, among the ones we use, is the Business Model Canvas, a visual tool to help organize business ideas. Thus, it is possible to create (with creativity and vision) a business model that is uncomplicated to consult and update.
With the plan drawn, go after the best professionals your business needs. There is no point in saving money on people because if you invest in people with a lot of experience and expertise, they will help you build by criticizing, giving suggestions, and solutions. They are the best investment allied to technology.
It is essential that, in this first moment, you have by your side fewer people but more senior levels who will help leverage your business. Think about equity to ensure that they stay to grow with your company and not just in search of high salaries.
Define the indicators (key performance indicators) that will be tracked daily in detail, indicating if the model is working. I like the OKR methodology (for defining and tracking objectives and key results) that even breaks down the KPI’s by areas according to the company’s goals.
With the business being created, start relationships with partners, competitors, and especially investors.
8. Launch your business
Have a PR agency (press office) and make noise in launching your target audience’s business.
9. Invest in marketing
Digital, offline, influencers according to your business. Be aggressive to grow your base.
Influencers: remember that they are not mere product hangers, nor are they talking store mannequins via the web! They have to be 100% in line with your company’s purpose. Speaking of engagement, the influencer can be you! Entrepreneurs who create their businesses and promote them end up becoming influencers. Some people are good at both, but it’s not everyone, okay?!
10. Do not think about profit
In the first moment, do not think about monetizing but investing to scale the business! If there is a need, go after the investment or reinvest what you earn in the business. At the beginning of the startup, the key is to grow!
An observation: when you know the pain you will address in the market, several people are delighted and apply to become partners. While we are making the business plan, everyone has an opinion. But when it’s time to put your hand in your pocket, invest, and face the real difficulties and challenges, you will see (i) who is here to stay, (ii) to lean on you, and (iii) to abandon the ship before it takes off.
Don’t get bored, remain friends. Everyone has their moment or their role in the startup entrepreneurial life. Success, CEO!