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start and grow a tech startup

How To Start And Grow A Tech Startup :Idea Stage

starting and growing a tech startup

The pathway to business success is usually in 6 main stages:
Idea stage- Market stage-Product stage-Website stage- Growth stage-Funding stage

Over the next few days I am going to walk you through each of these stages to move you from the idea to profits in the shortest amount of time.

 

This series is for two kinds of people

1 The Idea Guy

You have a lot of ideas but have been looking for a step by step roadmap or checklist to help you turn those ideas into a highly profitable startup.

2 The Early Stage Tech Founder

You have already started a tech startup with less than 20 employees and less than $100,000 in revenue. You built the product but the users have not come or paid you as much as you would like.

You are also looking for a step by step roadmap to help you grow your startup and maximize your profits.

You would rather know what to do without trial and error.

If any of the above describes you, let’s get started.  You can reach me at jeff@growingstartup.com if you need any further explanations or if you have questions.

 

1 Develop Idea

“Your goal as a startup is to make something users love. If you do that, then you have to figure out how to get a lot more users. But this first part is critical—think about the really successful companies of today. They all started with a product that their early users loved so much they told other people about it. If you fail to do this, you will fail. If you deceive yourself and think your users love your product when they don’t, you will still fail.”-Sam Altman, Ycombinator

*Think like a tree*
Like a tree, your ideas are seeds with the potential to become highly desirable fruits in the form of products, services and other forms of value. For a fruit to gain traction, it has to be appealing and desirable, within reach and fulfilling once it’s eaten.

*In startup terms-*
Appealing and and desirable means your product has to be presented in a form that your ideal customer finds appealing and desirable. For example, a Toyota Corolla and a Toyota Camry are both automobiles and have many of the same parts however they are packaged differently to appeal to people with different tastes.

What about this idea will your ideal user love?
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What makes it appealing to target?
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What makes it fulfilling ?

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2 Before My Startup story :Problem Clever Solution

“Kevin Systrom gave an inspiring talk about Instagram and he explained the reasons why it became such a success. I think you can nail it down to these 3 precise problems Instagram fixed:
Before Instagram, capturing beautiful images was hard. The camera of the iPhone and the invention of photo filters on mobile phones solved this problem.

Before Instagram, uploading photos was hard. Again, the mobile phone and Instagram’s smart uploading process solved this problem.

Before Instagram, sharing images was hard. The integration of Tumblr, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter made sharing photos incredibly easy.”-Christian Reber

Before the Growingstartup.com(and this particular roadmap you have in your hands), getting a step by step checklist on starting and growing a business required attending reading books/blogs, attending Business school, hiring a business coach, watching a lot of Youtube videos, joining an accelerator or by just trying to figure itt out yourself. Growingstartup.com’s interactive checklist solved this problem .

Secondly, before Growingstartup.com, turning your ideas into a startup required writing it down in a journal in an unstructured way—and it wasn’t very easy to share parts of that idea with friends or partners in a collaborative fashion . Growingstartup.com’ structured startup planner solved this problem.

Third, before Growingstartup.com, a lot of entrepreneurs complained of loneliness and not having a network of like minded founders to reach out to for help and advice. We solved this by creating a social network where founders get to share contextually relevant advice. For example, the go-to-market strategy of a founder in the real estate market may not be relevant to another founder who runs an Ecommerce startup.

a
The framework goes like this **Before My Startup=State the problem Clever Solution **:
What is the problem(s)=
What is your clever solution=

Results
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Bonus tip: Do your homework before you start with your idea, understand how big your market is, understand in which countries you can grow the fastest. Build a brand and a product that works globally, not just in your country. The world is your market.

b
Define your own mission.Why do you want to build a business? 
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c
What’s your main objective as an individual?(what’s your goal in life?)
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d
What do you want your own career to look like in 30 years?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Bonus tip: Don’t be small-minded! Widen your horizon and think how you want to influence the people around you, and maybe even change the world. Define the purpose of your business, and you as an individual.

 

3 Founder/Market Fit

Not everyone has the temperament or skills to work in technology. Some people are more analytical over creative and vice versa. In the same vein, a timid individual probably shouldn’t become a salesperson or a football coach.
Some industries require a lot of travel or speaking or writing or deep thinking. Do a mental evaluation to see if you’re ready to make an impact in the industry of your choice.

Most importantly, the founder needs domain expertise or a unique insight in the industry he is in.

A unique insight and domain expertise will help you innovate faster because you will see things that others don’t.
For example it is said that Jeff Bezos reads a lot so it’s no surprise that Amazon is probably the world’s largest bookstore. In contrast, Steve Jobs was a lover of music so perhaps it’s no surprise that Apple was able to innovate in the music industry better than other technology companies did at the time.

Do you have domain expertise in this field?

* Yes
* No

4 What is your unique insight? What solution do you see so clearly that others don’t?

“I’d written a research paper about shoes, and the paper had evolved from a run-of-the-mill assignment to an all-out obsession. Being a runner, I knew something about running shoes. Being a business buff, I knew that Japanese cameras had made deep cuts into the camera market, which had once been dominated by Germans. Thus, I argued in my paper that Japanese running shoes might do the same thing. The idea interested me, then inspired me, then captivated me. It seemed so obvious, so simple, so potentially huge.”-Phil Knight, Nike Founder

Describe your insight 
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5 What Business Skills Have You Developed?

Knowing the skills you already have will help when hiring or working with others. It will also help you to know which skills you should develop. After all many successful founders were masters of at least one skill.

In our opinion, a basic knowledge of all of these and a mastery of at least one of these skills will help you become a successful entrepreneur: Accounting, Economics, Finance, Sales and Marketing.

Which of these business skills do you already possess?

* Communication(Writing & Speaking)
* Accounting and Finance
* Marketing
* Sales
* Management
* Leadership
* Strategy and Planning
* Design
* Programming/Engineering
* Other ………….

6 Have an opinion/Take sides

The best startup founders are opinionated. They argue for a better way of doing things even when others don’t see their point.
Steve Jobs and Apple were very opinionated about design when other software companies focused on hardware and did not necessarily agree with him. Apple transformed that opinion into reality by creating beautifully designing machines that were intuitive and easy to use. Today, they are one of the most profitable businesses in the world.

What’s your opinionated argument? What do you believe that other people do not see or agree with?
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

8 Feedback and Research

After speaking with 6 to 10 people in your market, write down what you learnt and how you can apply it to your startup

What did you find out about your market?

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What solutions will you provide to solve their problems?

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What can you build in the next 4 weeks to help your market?(If it takes more than 4 weeks to build, it’s not a minimum viable product)

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Conclusion

Remember: Ideas that are not developed and acted on will either die or be executed by someone else. Everyone has ideas but those who develop and execute them end up with the glory.
Next, it’s time to think about your present or future team members.