8 Steps to Building a Startup That Matters

Learn how to bring your ideas to life with our 1 page business plan

We’re told 9 out of 10 startups fail. Learn how to use our simple tool and you’ll be more confident in what you’re doing (and why), clearer on what to focus on right now and reduce your chances of becoming another statistic.

“Great thinking for entrepreneurs” Tim O’Reilly

Before setting up The Happy Startup School, we ran a successful startup studio, helping many entrepreneurs bring their startup ideas to life. Those few years were our apprenticeship in startups — learning from others mistakes, as well as our own. We worked with various tools and techniques but felt that too many of these, and the startup world in general, focused solely on the mechanics of starting a business.

We felt that it was time we made our businesses more human and in the process gave them a better chance of survival.

We could see that the world was changing, the Purpose Economy was coming and the existing tools weren’t fit for purpose.

“More of the economy needs to move further up Maslow’s pyramid” Alain De Botton

You may have heard of the lean canvas or business model canvas? We’ve found these work just fine if you want to build a product business, but if you want to build a community – a tribe of superfans – they start to creak a little.

Introducing The Happy Startup Canvas – a blueprint for creating a meaningful company

This is where our canvas comes in — it helps you to tap into the growing trends that will ultimately affect how your business operates and start to bake purpose into your company’s DNA:

  • Customers care more about who they’re buying from — they‘re becoming more interested in the story than the price tag
  • Employees care more about who they’re working for — they want to feel like they’re contributing to something worthwhile
  • Founders care more about the impact they’re making — there’s a growing breed of entrepreneur that wants to make money and do good. And if you’ve got this far, we’re guessing you’re one of them.

The 8 elements of the canvas are meant to become the DNA of your organisation. It will get you on the road to aligning your values to work and allow you to build a more authentic, impactful business as a result.

Developed over 3 years ago, it’s since then it’s been used in workshops and accelerators all over the world, translated into multiple languages and helped tens of thousands bring their ideas to life. And it’s been one of the key factors in us building our community of 100,000 founders and movement makers.

But while it’s a simple tool, it takes a bit of work to know how to use it. Luckily help is at hand…

Over a series of posts we’ll walk you through this proven method for bringing purposeful ideas to life — whether that’s for a new business, project or reigniting the flame on an existing venture.

These 8 steps will help you to get clarity on your ideas and give you the confidence to move forward. You’ll shift from thinking to doing.

“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul” Edward Abbey

Each post will have a challenge for you to complete from the course materials — from getting clear on your why, to developing a killer value proposition.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the lessons

  1. Purpose: Be clear about your why
  2. Vision: Share your vision for change
  3. Values: Tell the world what you stand for
  4. Story: Know your story
  5. Problems: Find a problem worth solving
  6. Solution: Make something people actually want
  7. Early adopters: Find people that care
  8. Value proposition: Make their lives meaningfully better

Case study: M.I.Scribe

Marcus & Ieva, M.I.Scribe — read the full story

“Using the canvas has helped us to take a step back and evaluate our underlying core beliefs and set out a foundation based on values. I think that was the hardest part — to try and distance ourselves from what we were doing already and focus on the why. It made us question our motives and see new perspectives. We found that once we had explored our core values, things began to flow more easily.”

Ready for the first lesson on Purpose? Let’s go »