7 entrepreneurial projects of my own: Digital & Traditional business models. 7 years + acquiring key customers & launching products @Coca-Cola, Ecolab, easyJet UK
You do not need an MVP to raise money at such an early stage, and you do need to raise money from VCs at such a stage (they usually only invest with traction). Here's some tips:
1 - 3 Fs - Family, friends and people with spare money...in
exchange for a bit of equity.
2 - Startup competitions for idea stage, might give you
money and resources.
3 - Gov grants for early stage startups
4 - Business Angels, check for associations on your city
5 - Crowdfunding
Yes, you should be solving a problem that affects millions of people. Nice to have is of little interest for investors...unless is a moonshot.
If affects billions of people, and in different regions, there is a lot of market share to split amongst several players, which is the case of messaging apps, email providers, etc.
Congrats! I started pitching at 18, and there were no mentors or advisory...
1 - Learn how to code, this will be very valuable in the
future, or at least how to use no-code tools.
2 - Understand the problem that you are trying to solve,
talking to people that have it.
3 - Incorporate the learnings and refine the solution/idea
4 - Build a prototype with no code if possible and try it with
the people that you spoke.
5 - If they are willing to use it them you need to build an
MVP, and or find a Co-Founder that codes or your learn
how to code (on the long run will be better with a co-
6 - Finding a mentor would be very helpful
Work on the problem that you think that your idea is going to solve first, ideas only worth money if they solve problems...
1 - You need to learn how to code! or will have to split the
company shares with a technical co-founder.
2 - Validate the idea by understanding the problem, iterating
on the best solution, make possible users try it and after
Ideas worth nothing without execution...I had at least two business ideas that here copied...they even started to execute, but one got banckrupt and the other case only part of the idea went forward;
1- You need to study the problem that you are trying to solve for large companies very well.
2 - See if the companies that would be your customers have competitions for startups or business ideas, and apply.
3 - If your idea is a solution that they need, they will give you money or/and resources for to execute the idea...
I tried several solutions myself while building my businesses, and it also depends on the type of business that you are planning to build;
1- If its digital with no need for F2F/virtual contacts with customers - You should maintain your 9-5 job, and work the second shift in your startup, or try a job that gives you some schedule during the day for your startup F2F appointments with customers.
2 - If you are building something that needs a lot of demos, meetings with customers, you will need a lot of flexibility and consulting or freelancing is best for your time management.
1- I would say that you need a Problem, that is common to millions or billions of people around the world.
2 - You need to talk to those people to have a deep understanding of their problem.
3 - Iterate around the possible solutions for that problem.
4 - Show the solution (product or service) to the people that have the problem, and see if they use it, and if not why, and incorporate the learnings until you find a product/service that people want and would pay for.
In the very beginning, and in most of the cases, you do not need code to validate your idea...test first before developing, with techniques like the concierge, build a landing page and do the operation on backstage, just like Airbnb did ou Zappos, use no code tools, templates...
Only after idea validation you should build code, and then the best is find a technical co-founder that has built something, because at that stage you will need an MVP.
1 - Check the incoterms and regulations for the territories that you want to ship ( Commerce chambers)
2 - Study the competition in those territories
3 - Customize your value proposition taking in account these
4 - Link with your target buyers via linkedin in those territories and try to understand if your value proposition is in line with what they need.
5 - Incorporate feedback and improve value proposition
6 - Start creating content targeting those territories and tag those people that you spoke already...
Multisided Platforms have the chicken and egg problem, to build them, in the beginning, you need to do things that don't scale:
1- Go to the most difficult side (users) to adopt the marketplace and make them a demo. ex: buyers
2 - Ask them what they need to buy
3 - Then go look for the sellers of what they need and onboard them and call the buyers...
4 - Do this before you start too much coding...you will need to do the old way without tech or just with basic MVP, to understand if they need your product
5 - You validate the idea while you speak directly with all sides, and can improve the product with their feedback.