How To Start A Startup?
Startup is a journey of finding & solving problem.
Which problem to pick? How you solve it? How fast and good is your solution?
These are the common questions you might face during this journey.
In this article, let’s look into the life cycle of Startup.
Think about our strategies for each steps to increase the odds of success.
Step 1: Idea
A good idea is the starting point of a good startup.
How to find a good idea?
Pick The Right Niche
Niche is a specialized segment of market.
As a solo-founder, narrowing your niche could decrease the competition.
Pick a niche that you are familiar with.
The domain knowledge that you own can help you make a better product.
Pick An Idea That Matters
A problem that many people have is a good idea.
A problem that nobody care is a bad idea.
A bad idea leads to a bad product that nobody use.
Pick an idea that people really care about.
Pick An Idea That You Are Able To Solve
Some idea requires high level of coding skills.
Some idea requires a great number of marketing budgets.
Some idea requires connections with certain group of people.
Think about the resources and skills that you have.
Then pick an idea which is at a suitable difficulty for you.
If you want to read more about how to pick an great idea, don’t miss our other post:
Step 2: Validation
After determining your idea, now you should validate it.
Validation provides some hints about the project.
It tells you whether you should spend your time and money into actually building the products.
If you receive a negative result after validating, you can jump to your next idea quickly.
So how do we do validation?
Talk Directly To Potential Customer
The easiest way is to talk directly to the potential customers.
Don’t ask your family and friends for validation. They’ll probably give you positive feedbacks and lead you to be overoptimistic.
Talk to stranger and ask for their real feedbacks.
You can find them on forum, where people asking about related problems.
Build Landing Page & Collect Emails
Landing page is a website that you show people the idea of your product.
You write the problem that you’re solving, the way you’re solving it, the advantages of your solutions.
Instead of putting your product on it, you place an email form on it.
If people are interested and excited enough about it, they might want to be notified if your product is out.
Presale Before You Actually Ship Your Products
Instead of collecting emails for validation, presale is a stronger indicator for validation.
You still build a landing page, but this time with a presale button.
If you can make people pay you money before even getting anything, you probably have found an excellent idea.
Step 3: Build
Build A MVP (Minimum Viable Product) First
Building a MVP means that you build the core functionality quickly.
You don’t have to build a perfect product to start.
You have to build a simple product, launch it, get users and collect feedbacks.
You make the product more close to perfect by listening to the real feedbacks.
Use The Tools That You Already Know
To build a MVP fast, you should use the tools that you are already familiar with.
Instead of finding a best tool and learn it again from the beginning, you can use the skills that you already have and upgrade it in the future.
If there’s a market for your idea, you will get users no matter which tools you choose.
Try to get to product-market fit quickly with the tools you have.
Step 4: Launch
Launch With A Small Group Of Users
At the initial stage of startup, you are still under validation with your MVP.
You don’t need to reach out to a big group of users at this stage.
Instead, you only need a small group of users who you can reach out frequently and get feedbacks.
Sharpening your products, removing the bugs, adding more essential functionalities.
Launch to a small group to help you build a better product.
Launch On Forum
If the feedbacks you get from your initial group of users are already quite flawless, then it’s time for a bigger launch.
You can submit your product to a bigger forum to get bigger exposure.
The growth engine of your product starts turning at a higher speed.
You might face more challenges and rewards at this stage.
More Platforms To Launch
If you are looking for more platforms to launch, don’t forget to check our other post:
Step 5: Marketing
The most powerful marketing is by making an amazing product that people can’t help but share it with their friends.
Try to make a good product that people really enjoy using.
Content marketing means that you create some contents that are related to the problem that you address.
It could be a blog post, a podcast or a video.
People facing the same problem might find your contents through the search engine.
People read your content, get familiar with your brand, and finally become your user.
If you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss our step-by-step guide of content marketing:
Build In Public
Build in public is also a good way for indiehackers to promote their products.
If you are in a team of one, you are probably spending most of your time on building the product.
You know that marketing is as important as building, but you just don’t have enough time for it.
Then maybe build in public might be a great way for you to do marketing.
You just need to spend some extra time to write down the process of how you build it.
Write it on twitter, blog, email, forum or wherever you want.
You existing and potential users can follow through your journey easily.
It also create an extra opportunity to get more feedbacks and have a closer relationship with your users.
For more resources about marketing, don’t forget to check out our resources database!
Step 6: Monetization
B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-customer), C2C (customer-to-customer), C2B (customer-to-business), O2O (Online-to-Offline),…
One-time products, Subscriptions-based products, Advertising, Freemium, Sponsorship, …
Pick the best combinations for your business.
Build More, Re-Launch, Keep Marketing
Keep building to make your product better.
Keep launching to increase your product’s exposure.
Keep marketing to grow an audience and increase your users.
These three steps form the essential life cycle of starting a startup.
Great idea + Luck + Consistent turning of this life cycles = Growth.