You have a great startup idea? Here’s how to get started — My own opinion!

Ideas are not worth a dime, anybody that tells you a great idea is all you need is misleading you and has probably not being in the startup wilderness. I am however not saying a great idea is worthless. What makes a great idea worth anything is the implementation of the idea. A million other people probably have the same idea as you or something similar.

The Nigerian startup scene has grown considerably over the last six years when I launched my first startup(the now defunct waaazap.com). It was a social network and boy did it have great engineering and design. As soon as it launched, people began to use it and blogs talked about it. This got to my head and I felt I had arrived. It didn’t dawn on me that I was yet to start my journey into the startup wilderness. At this time other sites were born, Naijaborn.com, Jobberman.com, Sturvs.com, Yarnable.com, Owambe.com, Naijapals.com, 9jabook.com, Lagbook.com, Nolongthang.com(by my own very main gee @pinkybrayne aka King Koded aka Javascript warlord). Everyone wanted to have a slice to the SOCIAL NETWORKING cake and be the next Zuckerberg! Sadly waaazap and most of these other sites failed. We launched at a terrible time when Facebook was on a massive growth aderenalin. But some of us learnt from this failure while others gave up! I wouldn’t mention names! Only Jobberman survived! And here’s why they survived:
1. They had a product that solved a problem that disturbed the nation.
2. They had funding and mentorship from a veteran Chika Nwobi(whom I need not introduce) but for those who don’t know. Chika is a very smart business man and investor. He birth Mtech, Cheki, L5labs and recently 440ng.
3. They focused on what mattered the most which was finding a better way to solve the problems their product tackled. UNEMPLOYMENT.
4. They had key partnerships with huge companies.
5. They didn’t spend all their time coding or designing. They actually started with an open source software.
6. They knew the real hustle was offline!
7. They had a formidable team.
8. They didn’t leave space for competition.

Enough story! Back to the topic of this article. A great idea is just the beginning of building a great product. To build a great product, you need to understand some key elements and some of them I’d talk about below.

  1. What’s my idea all about? You need to understand what your idea is all about. Does it solve a problem? If yes how does it actually solve this problem.
  2. Is anyone else doing this already? This is very important as you’d be making the same mistakes the likes of waaazap made when they started. You need to do a lot of research on your idea. Find out who is doing anything similar and how you can be very different and faster than them.
  3. Forget the friends and family syndrome. Most people would tell you to test your ideas with your immediate circle, I call this method or ideology bullshit. What if the people in your circle don’t need your product or have the problems you are trying to solve? Do you think Zuckeberg is testing internet.org with his close circle? Test your ideas with the people who actually need your product and have the problem you are trying to solve. How you get to these people is actually none of my business. That’s your homework and I suppose you were prepared to hustle if not you wouldn’t be building a startup.
  4. What do I need to achieve this? This is very key to the success of your startup. You know you need food when you are hungry and you should know what you need to execute your idea. Needs are different for different ideas but one thing that’s very common with most ideas is that you have to have a competent technical team. People like Mark Essien and Myself are lucky enough to understand the bits of programming and this helps us cut cost when launching ventures. We can actually build our products ourselves. Some ideas require marketers, some require publicity, some require partnerships but one thing all ideas need is money! Jason Njoku can explain this better!
  5. How will this grow and if it does, how will i make money? Unless you are an NGO making money is one of the reasons why you are in the business. But you can’t make money without having a product that grows. The more customers or users you have, the higher the chances of making money. You need to figure out how to grow your product, advertising on Linda Ikeji? Growth Hacking? Whatever it takes you should be ready to do! After you grow a little then you can start testing out your revenue models. There are two revenue models to every business. B2B or B2C. You can be lucky enough to have an idea that supports both or just one but whichever way it turns out to be, make sure you really have a solid plan on how you would make money from doing this.
  6. Time? Yes time! The first investment your idea needs is your time! You have to be ready to breathe, eat, think and sleep your idea! A moment should not pass without you thinking about this new baby of yours. It’s like being a parent. Your kids are on your mind all the damn time. And if you happen to have a day job to keep body and soul together you have to be prepared to burn the midnight oil and consume a lot of coffee during the day at your day job to stay awake. I must mention that you might loose weight while doing this. You need to see the picture I took with Jason Njoku the day I launched Prayerbox. The only thing that made me look like I had things together was the Jay Osbie attire I had one(That guy makes fresh starves men! www.jayosbie.com). But now I don chop up small sha!
  7. Usage! Someone once said usage is like oxygen for ideas and that is so damn true. If no one uses your product then it will die gradually. But then if usage isn’t everything. People used Digg and Yahoo like crazy but look how they turned out. You need to understand the different usage patterns for your ideas. You always don’t need a million people using your product. Like I always say, 100 loyal users are worth more than 1000 signed up users. The only thing 1000 signed up users give you is data which sometimes you can’t do anything with.
  8. Constant press! This keeps people informed about your product and might even bring back users who only signed up and didn’t use the product. It also gives you bragging rights which isn’t worth much but can be a huge motivation to keep pushing it. I know this because I have tested it on Prayerbox and it has worked so well so far.
  9. Just do it! Don’t let bad google analytics day keep you down, it sometimes doesn’t mean shit. If five people visit your website daily and they are consistent then you are on to something so keep pushing and don’t stop. Some huge companies’ overnight success took a thousand days! And besides 100 paying customers are way more valuable than 10,000 daily pageviews.
  10. Have fun doing it! Either you fail or your succeed the experience is all that matters. Do what you love and you will never have to work for the rest of your life!

Like I said in the title these are my own opinions. Other people have their way of doing things but I currently run www.prayerbox.co and everything I have talked about here is exactly how I go about running Prayerbox. I hope you picked up one or two things from this article and I wish you the very best in your journey! You can hit me up on twitter(@waaazap) and I’d do my best to respond!

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