Startups — A Journey through 10 Stations
A life of a startup can be easily represented with the life of a human being.
As we all know there are four basic stages in a human life.
similarly a startup also undergoes through these stages but in a slightly different manner. As a startup it is very essential to know how to face each of them so the startup survives rather than facing DEATH.Every startup is a journey to reach their successful destinations. The roads during the journey might not be always favorable. This is always an adventurous journey filled with risks.
What is so Adventurous
The only adventure in this journey is to become a sustainable business which is not as easy as you think.
What is Sustainable Business
It is a business that involves long-term, strategic planning that allies business growth with positive environmental and society continuity. A sustainable business will always generate more money than it’s expenses.
Most of the startups have a journey having 10 main halt stations before reaching their final destination
- Idea Station
- Prototype Station
- Early Customers Station
- Efficient Adding Customer Station
- Scaling Business Operations Station
- Being Operational Break Even Station
- Generating Business Profile Station
- Defending Profits From Competition Station
- Recovering Business Investment Station
- Return On Investment For Shareholders Station
Station 1 — Idea
This is the most important station as the journey starts from here. For starting any business you need to have an idea. For an idea, you need to consider many real life problems. Always try chose a problem which needs a solution urgently and people are ready to pay for the solution at any cost. The problem should always be addressing a huge market in order to maintain a sustainable business.
Station 2 — Prototype
Once we have fixed upon the idea, we need to start making a fair enough working model for the idea. This is basically known as prototyping.
The prototyping process is a physical manifestation of the growth mindset that informs design thinking. Prototyping can be be classified into many
- Prototype to choose Appropriate Direction
- Prototype to Attract Funding
- Prototype to Garner Feedback
- Prototype to Define Patents
- Prototype to Facilitate Final Product
Prototype to choose Appropriate Direction
This is a stage where we make prototypes for each leading directions of the ideas and compare these to determine which is cost-effective, sustainable etc. This also helps in understanding the limitations and then push those limitations off.
Prototype to Attract Funding
This is a stage where the prototype will be well refined through a couple iterations and are ready to be send to the investors for funding.
Prototype to Garner Feedback
This is the stage where the prototype gets refined based on different feedbacks of the previous prototypes
Station 3 — Early Customers
As soon as a working prototype is ready for the idea, its our task to get some valid customers who would really want to use the product.
How can you do this
- Reaching Out to the Existing Network
- Learn From Your Competitor’s Customers
- Social Media
- Local Meet ups
- Early Press Coverage
Station 4 — Efficiently Adding Customers
When you feel that your product has gain some huge traction, you need to find a way to maintain and build similar kind of customer base for your product.
Station 5 — Scaling Business Operations
This is the station where you analyze your product to check if the cost of acquiring a customer is less than the income. If you find that it’s less then it’s the right to scale up your business. This is the station where you can hire necessary people to do the repetitive jobs in your business.
Station 6 — Being Operational Break Even
This station helps you to know whether your business require any more funding to move forward
How do we know
Once you find that your monthly income has been matching with the monthly expenses then you can have a stop on fundings.
Station 7 — Generating Business Profile
This the most exciting station as this the stage where your company starts earning profits
How can you know this
When your monthly income becomes greater than monthly expenses, it’s time for profits.
Station 8 — Defending Profits from Competitors
Once you reach this station, you need to always ensure that your company is falling down in the market.
How do we do this
- Avoid strategic inertia
- Fight for the best talent and consider mergers and acquisitions to gain capabilities
- Create incentives for long-term value creation over short-term returns
- Focus on spotting tech disruptions developing outside the company before it hits.
Station 9 — Recovering Business Investments
This is the station where you recover the total investment into your business
Station 10 — Return On Investments For Shareholders
This is the final station where you return all the share from a small repair to the workers, investors and founders.
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