There are very few journeys that are as interesting as that of an entrepreneur. It's also one that many consider daunting. Nothing is more challenging than taking those first steps and figuring out the whole process of setting up the startup. What makes it worse is there is no well-documented process that tells you how to do it. But this journey is doable – hard, tough but doable. And once its doable, there is nothing more rewarding. So without talking further, let’s look at how to get your startup started.
So, with much ado, here is how to start a startup, from coming up with an idea and ensuring that you get that idea into the market.
Think of an Idea
Use the First Principles' Thinking, which goes back all the way to the age of Aristotle and recently made famous by Elon Musk. Basically, what it means is this – strip away all the existing constraints and biases until you reach a point where nothing can be deduced. You just start by building back and then come up with a new solution. As an entrepreneur, especially if you are thinking of launching a product, you need to look through the First Principles lens. Make sure your idea helps to solve an existing problem while avoiding the most common ideas. This will help your startup stand out and ensure you can attract the right kind of funders and investors.
Don’t be Afraid to Iterate
Before an idea reaches its potential, it will have to be improved. Here, you make your idea into a product or service that you can sell. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How major is the problem that you intend to solve?
- Is someone doing something today to solve that problem?
- Is the solution faring well?
- Will it cost too much to switch from the existing solution to a new one?
It goes without saying that the last question is the most essential. It allows you to enter competitive markets. However, don’t try and make a decision on your own. Run your idea by friends, trusted mentors and advisors, and anyone else whose opinion matters to you.
Build Your Team
As a startup, you will need to put together a team. Infact, your business will be as good as your team. Hence take the time to find the right people who share your passion. Such individuals will motivate you when things are down and ensure you don’t lose sight of the goal.
Find a Place to Work From
You need a place that allows you to work peacefully, innovate, execute and deliver. Look for a place that is cheap and affordable and has all the amenities you need. While a lot of people start from their homes, it might be advisable to find a more professional place that allows you to also connect with fellow entrepreneurs. A coworking space is a great place to start in this regard. So, find an affordable co-working space that allows you the flexibility to increase or decrease the space as needed.
Get the Paperwork Done
Get the paperwork in order to register your startup with the right authorities. Make sure you hire a lawyer, who can help you navigate through the legalities of setting up your venture and help you sail through GST and other tax-related obstacles.
Don’t Mess up Your Finances
The funds are your lifeline, whether you are self-funding your business or taking angel money. Figure out how much you need to start, what are the things you will have to spend on, how many months can you sustain before your business starts turning a profit. Most experts agree that startups fail because they run out of money before they make profit. You don’t want to be in that situation. Hence spend as less as possible and spend it wisely.
Get Your Prototype Ready
Get your idea into the building stage and once you have built it, it’s time to test it. This will demonstrate the value of your idea and also help you save money before the launch date. Get feedback from different sources and incorporate the change. Remember, testing is necessary in the early stages if you are looking for funding.
Know What Your Customer Needs
Understand your customer before building your product. Most startups fail because they get the wrong product. If you are in the technology space, you may have spent thousands and months in developing a prototype that no one wants. Hence make sure you know there is or will be demand for the product or service you will sell. Start small, sell, watch and make changes till you get it right. As a startup, you are bound to get some part of the script wrong. But as long as you know how to make that part right, you are covered and you actually have a chance of making profit. Start with doing researches, attending trade fairs, doing surveys and actually selling to customers. Once you have ironed out the niggles and flaws, and made the necessary changes, it is time to launch your product. Remember, even after the initial launch, there will be ongoing testing and development. Don’t shy away from it. Continue to improve your product so that you can rule the roost in the market. Once your product is successful in your chosen market, you can think of expansion.
So that completes the list of things you need to do before starting up. Remember, the great thing about launching your business is that you get to do your own thing.