Missed opportunities at early stage startups

I’ve noticed a trend with early stage startups that always makes me think of missed opportunities. From my experience they are comprised of development and business oriented founders who are focused on their idea and their respective area of expertise. They establish the essential pillars of the company and have the best insight into how their idea should work and should behave. They are also the primary people that should be making the decisions on business and development.

But there’s a third pillar missing there — design. This pillar is usually included in the company’s structure when the time comes to design something. When the need comes to make something nice-looking an easy to use, is when most startups contact a professional like me. But at this point I always feel there’s more I could have done for the idea.

Ideas are most vulnerable in their infancy. Every decision you make at the start of your venture will echo throughout the rest of your journey.

Designers have experience with their fields, and have most probably worked on multiple projects similar to yours. This is their pillar. So why not include a designer at the start of your journey? Let people learn about your problem early on, so they can propose good solutions.

Having said that, I do realise that a lot of startups don’t want to be careless with their money and want to utilise it wisely. You don’t have to bring a full time designer on board. Get an experienced person who’s going to be able to give you advice and consult you while you’re starting out.

Prioritise your design needs

  • Do you need to spend your money working with a brand designer or would it be wiser to do some competition analysis?
  • Do you need an explainer video?
  • Have you identified where your potential for innovation is?
  • Do you have an idea of how to position your brand visually with your target audience in mind?
  • Do you need a marketing specialist? Do you have a launch strategy?

Having a person on your team who has already dealt with some of these issues means you’re ready for these challenges and can move through them quickly and with confidence. Not having somebody onboard means you’re basically taking a stab in the dark for most of these things which leads to, well, missed opportunities.

I’m a designer at Bien.