‘Startup’ – one of the biggest employer in the world. The word ‘Startup’ represents passion, commitment, innovation, creativity and at the end an aspiring multi million-dollar company. Confused on how to build and make a successful startup? Read this ultimate startup guide…
What makes a startup a multi million-dollar company?
And, does a startup become successful only by making money?
Well, we are going to find answers to such questions here in this article. If you are a risk taker, then you have the necessary mindset to think about a startup. Do not worry, reading this article does not involve any risk. Let us find out how to build and make a successful startup with this ultimate startup guide.
How to Build and Make a Successful Startup?
This article not only discusses the steps that are vital to making a startup successful, it also highlights what is required to initiate a startup idea. Let us begin.
It started with an idea
Yes, every startup has a story, a background, an inspiration, a series of questions that it answers. All the startups begin with a plan. An idea which has the potential to solve worldly problems. An idea which makes human lives easy.
Development of an idea is one of the most challenging tasks. A startup begins as a solution to problems of people; later it turns into a business. Focus on the advantages of the solution. Think about its benefits. Well, there can be more solutions for a single problem – you need to find out whether your answer is the best or not.
“How to do that?”
Find out where your solution stands in terms of durability (how long it can serve as a viable solution), sustainability (can it sustain in the market and expectations) and trustworthiness (how is it the best).
How to get an idea about ‘an idea’?
- Think about the limitation in the lifestyles of the people around you. Or travel a few places and find out the difficulties people are facing in their lives.
- Can an existing method be updated with the help of technology? Modernization of a regular operation can also help you in formulating a problem that you can answer with your startup product.
- Identify the market which is not performing well up to their potential.
- Develop a whole new technology by studying the fundamentals.
What can be a better approach than expanding your perception about your startup problem by working in the same domain? Also, the expertise of the seniors working in the field will help you in learning without long-haul responsibilities and financial crunch.
Thus, take some time to acquire a little experience in the relevant fields.
Work on the Prototype
“Wait, I don’t have funds. How can work on a prototype before acquiring capital?”
Well, you need to understand what a prototype is before thinking on this issue. A prototype is a visual representation of the proposed idea. It doesn’t perform any function; it gives a glimpse of the future.
It is easy to create prototypes, and there are tools such as Axure, UXPin etc. which help in developing the prototype. How does a prototype help in making a successful startup?
- Presentation to the investors: If you think that your verbal talks would convince an investor then you would waste your and the investors’ time. The prototype would act as the blueprint of the plan. It’ll help the investor in getting the road-map.
- Examining the practical issues: A prototype can assist you in reviewing the inputs and outputs of your idea. Thus it will help you in realizing the sub-problems of the concept.
- Earliest opinions: A prototype is easier for a novice to understand an idea that sprouted in your brain. Thus, you can receive genuine, useful views on the product that you desire to make.
- Aid in development: As mentioned above, a prototype works as a blueprint of the plan. Therefore, it acts the first version of the product. You can easily identify your next step by looking at the prototype.
Once you are ready with a promising idea, now you need capital to work on it. The capital can be your savings or someone else’s. You need to tap the interested investors, convince them with the durability, sustainability and trustworthiness of your startup idea.
Note that an investor can be anyone, she can be your family member or your friend or a head of a big conglomerate.
It is crucial to understand that you can’t have everything in place like products in a supermarket. You’ll have to work hard. If you read successful startup stories, you’ll find that many startups spent years working in a temporary office (most popularly in a garage).
They didn’t hire employees for years. The founders took up various roles within the startup and backed each other. Thus, they managed their limited funds efficiently.
Just accumulating or receiving funds for a business is not enough. Strategizing the expenditure is equally important, keeping in mind the future course of the plan.
You are recommended not to hire employees in the beginning of the startup, fine.
“Then, how to deal with the issues which no one under the hood is able to tackle?”
Start networking for such problems. There are many aspects that comprise issues in a new business like legal issues, developmental issues, testing, human resource management and everything for which a multi-national company has departments.
You can’t spend all your funds in making department but need expertise at some points. To overcome the lack of expertise, you should surround yourself with intelligent and designated people like a board member of a company, a lawyer, a software developer and people with other different backgrounds.
Stay in touch with your colleagues of previous workplace, your seniors, juniors and classmates of high school and college, every person that you meet in a gathering with a useful profile. All these people are like a library who hold experience with knowledge.
For example, you will reach at a point during your journey of the startup where you will have a product but not genuine customers if you don’t make connections with right people. There is a testing stage in all development models.
Surround yourself with people who have good experience of market and customer satisfaction. Talk to them during the development phase. Learn what is expected by people in a product and how a customer is satisfied. Ask them to use the product and share their experiences.
The Right Team
You do not need a big team. You need a few motivated people who are equally passionate as you are for the startup. They should not have the attitude of a employee but an employer who is consistently dedicated for the betterment of the workplace. Someone who comes to your workplace to earn a regular income should be kicked out of the core team.
A vision of building an exemplary company should be the driving force than high salary and bonuses. Try to comprise a team which involves people with different attributes like a problem solver, someone with good leadership skills, someone who is best in software development and someone who understands finances etc.
The Risk Management
As mentioned earlier, if you are a risk taker then you have the mind set to begin a startup. Risk taker always has a backup plan. Risks should not become a threat throughout your development cycle. It is better to analyse risks and take certain steps to minimize their impact.
Every new undertaking involves a risk. Hence, every step in making a successful startup involves a risk like market risk – what if the market shrinks or vanishes for the product like film photography, product risk – what if the product doesn’t produce desired results, financial risk and natural risks etc.
You can extend the list of risk as much as you want. The essence is that risks can not be controlled. What you can do then? You can mitigate the impact of the threat that a risk causes. Like financial failures can be dealt with a contingency fund, product risk can be mitigated by testing product and narrowing down the cost of production.
You need a backup plan for every kind of uncertainty. It will not only save your money but also your time and energy.
Keep running costs low
Have you read successful startup stories?
Many of the successful startups started at places where you can’t imagine an office can be created like kitchens, garages, parking spaces etc. Not every entrepreneur afford a high class office in a skyscraper in an urban town.
You need keep the running cost of your startup as low as possible so that you can consistently focus on the betterment of your product, not on fund management.
How can you keep your running cost low?
- Virtual Office or in-house office: You can organize meeting online, cloud can help you in sharing documents. You need not a physical space for your office. In case you want to meet a client, you can prefer a cafe or a restaurant. It will cost you less than the rent of an office and the staff to serve your client (only recommended if you do not have much interaction with other people).
- Outsource: Instead of hiring an expert, you can outsource a piece of your work to a senior programmer at early stages of the business. You can pay per hour and thus you’ll save huge that you would be spending on salary and other operational costs.
- Scale timely: Founder of Airbnb started by taking photos from house to house, Facebook started from a college, they didn’t think of making things big initially. Their idea grew into a grand company. Dream big but don’t make a mistake of putting your efforts all in. Take one goal at a time and achieve that. You can scale the product with time. You don’t need servers and cooling towers in the beginning.
- Subtract the unnecessary: Save money by removing the unnecessary elements from your startup like redundant staff, loans, formal business structure etc.
Prioritize Customer Experience
Once you have developed the first market version of the product. Let the consumers experience it. A Consumer wants an amazing experience not a great idea. Good use experience cause develop vocal audience and places your product firmly in the market.
Reputed companies have kept the expectations of the consumers high. One bad experience can pull you back and your competitors ahead of you. Think as a user while formulating solution to the problem you began with.
“How to become consumer-centered?”
There are three stages for it, highlighted by McKinsey:
- Observe: Use analytical tools and metrics to find out the mood of your audience. Find out what influences people the most and what they seek in similar products.
- Shape: Design your product around the observations and the input you received from the analysis.
- Feedback and perform: Align your priorities according to the feedback and expectations of the customers. Deliver on that. Your observations can be correct or slightly different. Compare them with the feedback and improve.
Make use of effective social media and surveys to find out thoughts of the consumers on your company and product.
As the journey of a startup passes it turn from an informal idea to a established business. You start you business on your own rules but you work later on the rules set in the market. Market is driven by demand and supply.
Businesses are in consistent competition. One good stroke by a company can create space for criticism for the other company. Take criticism as a feedback and make appropriate changes. It is vital to stick to your original idea.
You should not lose your originality because of criticism.
Apple has not become the world’s most valuable company in an year. Its founder started it when they were young. Mr. Job is no more, Mr. Wozniak and Mr. Wayne have wrinkles on their faces now. Yet their vision is driving the Apple to new heights.
Success will not happen in a fortnight. Be patient. Every company is not same. Don’t be afraid of small failures. Try again, stay motivated. Get inspired and inspire others to believe in themselves and take a bold step to fulfill their dream.
“The one with the startup mindset will actually try identifying ways to succeed instead of succumbing to failure”