I am going to break this down step by step according to my experience of what works best and is the most efficient and safe way (if there is such a thing) to move forwards:
Step 1: The Idea!
Often times viewed as the most important part of a startup which I would say is false! What comes after is much more important but anyways lets get into it!
You want to find an Idea that is: something you are passionate and knowledgeable about, something that no one is doing or doing in an inefficient or dated way (disruptive tech.) , an idea that is attached to a real PAIN POINT that provides pain each and everyday, and something there is a market for!
The last few points are rally important because “it doesn’t matter if you like what you are build and you find value in it, it matters if your users find value and can benefit on a grand scale”!
Step 2: Fleshing out that idea!
Now we get to the fun part and by far one of the most important things to do starting off in any venture (this step is often overlooked and results in the loss of thousand of dollars and you most valuable asset: time!). So what is it? Start collecting peoples feedback on the idea and looking into the market.
You want to validate the idea by pushing towards market need and market fit. This means there should be a large amount of people who struggle with the problem you are looking to solve and would actually use your solution (in that order) [If you find the first is true but the second one is an ehhhh or you get a lot of idle interest than you can always pivot based on user feedback]
So what I push you too is getting out there and talking to people.
Things to consider during this process and anytime you are talking to people:
Do not lead them to a destination
Try to be as unbiased as possible
Allow them to describe your solution without pushing them there
Ask general market questions and let them lead the conversation
Step 3: MVP TIME!
Okay now we are getting somewhere (hopefully pretty fast)!
An MVP is a minimum viable product, I.E the simplest version of your solution that can prove people care about what you are looking to build. The name of the game here is SPEED! So when ever possible do not Code, spend money, get complicated, worry about the design, and Take a Lot of Time when building this MVP.
Love this…had to put it somewhere ;P
For example to test out our Key Assumptions we did not go and start coding up an app but instead we threw together a website using weebly and manually got people to sign up. From there we reached out over text or email and had them meet with a complete stranger based on a common interest at a specified time and place. Total time to string together: 6 hours!
I encourage you to find a similar solution to the above and then begin to iterate on that mvp. Once you feel like you have unbiased interest and people who continually use your mvp then and only then move to step 4!
Step 4: Lets start focusing on getting together a team or start building yourself!
I am going to start this step with a piece of advice: Find a co-founder, Solo founded startups are out there but trust me having a founder who is equally committed is HUGE!
Okay! Now you have an idea, some people who care about that idea, a decent market, and the early semblances of a product!
Now we can start building a SIMPLE solution that improves your MVP ad starts heading in the direction of your Grand Vision :D
I present you with 2 paths: 1. if you have the technical abilities to confidently start building the product than great! get to it!
If not: Find yourself someone(s) who can!
How do I do this? Great question!
Think of EVERY person you have ever met and ask yourself “can Joe over there build my product” if yes than reach out. I don’t care if Joe has a job, 3 kids, and is halfway across the country, still reach out and ask that person if they are at all interested, you really never know. (i will say, it is much better to be: face to face, and equally committed).
Otherwise use every other resource you can think of: posting physical flyers, posting on websites (reddit, quora, linkedin, angel list), reaching out to your school, going to where technical people congregate, etc. Get creative!
to wrap this step up, Start building but keep it SIMPLE again, the ugliest piece of crap you can through together in the shortest period of time.
Step 5: Get it in peoples hands!
People often worry too much about a Launch… let me ask you this do you remember the launch of airbnb, google, quora, Someonew, etc. (probably not [if you do…im impressed]).
Go to those people who have identified the pain point you are solving and ask them to use it, they will usually understand a beta means rough but if it solves their problem they wont care.
You are looking for 2 main things here:
- Retention: how many people are on it week after week (day after day), if that number is low, why are they leaving? whay are the people who stay staying? good questions go from there.
- Is it growing itself. Virality is a component that can be directly correlated to a technologies success. Is my product selling itself? yes = keep at it, get it to as many people as possible, no = why aren’t they sharing? (probably not good enough to share [takes a lot] )
Step 6: ITERATE ITERATE ITERATE
Listen to your boss: I.E. every person who uses your solution and find what they NEED based on what they tell you they want. From there use metrics and this feedback to divine your product development and keep iterating!