Starting a startup is a challenging aspiration that has hundreds of pitfalls, especially if you don’t have a clear plan of what and how to do.
In this article, you’ll find our insights into how to successfully set off a startup. It will both come in handy if you are new to the world of startups or are already in the process of launching your project.
Define Your Idea
A successful project always starts with a clear idea of what you want to do and – what’s more important – a good understanding of the project’s purpose. Identifying the main idea of your startup and answering the right questions are a starting point of your project’s implementation.
Apart from this, whenever you consult an advisory company or come to a VC firm/investor for fundraising, they will always ask you what, why, and whom you are building your product to. Make sure you know how to answer for you’ll need this not only to attract investors but also to build your team, recruit people, and eventually sell your product.
Besides, in the process of answering these questions, it might turn out you need to change your idea into a completely new one. 😉
Form a Great Team
OK, you have a clear idea of what you want to build. You know perfectly who your target users are. What’s next? The next thing is to gather ‘the right’ people and build a cool team.
Ideally, you want to start a company with between one and three more founders. The main point here is not only about the risk sharing but also about the knowledge and skills these co-founders may provide you with. Besides, VCs are more likely to invest in startups that have a founding team rather than a founding individual.
For a tech startup, we recommend that you start with a management team that covers these aspects: a product person – the one who knows how to build a good product and whom to hire to design it, an engineer – ideally – a skilled and experienced CTO, a finance person, and a management, capital raising, and business development co-founder.
If you want to find talented developers, consider hiring remote workers because you might simply not find great specialists in your country.
Also, make sure you surround yourself with good advisors and mentors – those guys will help you understand your market, assist in identifying your strategy, and help you grow as a leader.
Make a Business Plan (and Then a Pitch Deck and a 1-Pager)
If you think you can perfectly do without a business plan, you haven’t succeeded in launching a project yet 😉 A business plan is the very doc that clears things up in your head, identifies all the important details, and – what’s no less important – presents your startup to potential investors. Besides, statistics say that people are more likely to get fundraising or obtain a loan if they have a good business plan in place. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you write a really good/clear/complete business plan.
Typically, it covers your company’s goals and philosophy (those “what?”, “why?”, and “to whom?” questions), provides market research results, gives development time estimates, your team structure, and illustrates your budget.
After finalizing your business plan you can move to preparing a pitch deck and a 1-pager.
Get Appropriate Funding
Starting as well as keeping your startup afloat is impossible without capital. The most typical sources of getting money for your business vary from personal savings and friends or family’s loans to Angel investors/VCs’ investments, banks’ loans, or crowdfunding. For sure, it’s hard to start a business relying only upon your personal savings, that’s why approaching investors for fundraising is a common practice in the whole world.
There are hundreds of resources you could use to approach an angel investor/VC, like Angel.co, InvestorList, SeedProof, or the old good LinkedIn. On the VentureRocket platform, you’ll also find a network of investor groups and VCs’ ecosystems from all over the world you can easily connect with and approach for fundraising.
That said, for early stage startups, the best way to find them is through personal contacts. As a rule of thumb, individual investors as well as VCs pay more attention to the startups recommended by someone they know and respect.
We’ll talk more on how to effectively raise your capital in the next article.
Execute Your Project
Finally, a successful startup launching depends greatly on its execution. What does it mean? This basically covers defining (and later – improving) your company’s strategy, determining its milestones and measuring its progress regularly, hiring, managing, and communicating with your team, spreading a word on your company, and tens of other tasks you usually do as a CEO to turn your startup into a great company.
Setting off a technology company may be a long walk (even longer than you might think in the beginning) that should never appear as a set of random actions. Thus, we say: find your idea, build a strong team, create a business plan, get fundraising, and then – finally – execute!