So I'm a 19 year old college student with a website and app idea that I believe can thrive in today's society. I've contacted multiple developers but they are all so expensive. I have no where near the capital to build what I want to build. I've considered learning how to code but with having a job and focusing on school it's kind of been hard. I have read that some start ups have presented a business plan to investors and acquired some funding. Would this be the ideal way to go? Also, how would I go about building a team? It's only me right now, but I feel like I would need some guidance by someone that has had experience in this. So how do you guys think I should go about this?
Try and find someone your age that can code and persuade them to join you on your journey. It's either that, or learn to code. I've done both.
Finding a Co-Founder
- Go to meetups
- Find a school that teaches computer science
- Find someone on GitHub.com
The truth is there's 100 ways to solve your problem, but it will take risk and based on your question it doesn't seem like you're willing to take any. If you believe in your idea, it may mean sacrificing school? If you're not willing to risk that, then why should an investor risk his capital on you? It just shows your conviction.
Not everyone is suppose to be an entrepreneur. If you are, you'll need to step up and take action.
P.S. I started when I was 17. Failed. Tried again at 19. Failed. Kept at it till I was 24. Won. Again at 29. Won. Again at 31. Still going (= Clarity). Just start.
I started my first company when I was 13 and started working full time at Apple when I was 15. So I certainly believe people can accomplish whatever they set their minds to at almost any age.
But in many cases, I think the best starting point for someone like yourself is to work for a founder and gain experience first-hand before starting your own company.
Find a startup of less than 10 people who operates in an area similar to yours. Offer to volunteer or work for next to no money. Offer your help in any area you think you can help. But pick a team whose CEO is transparent and willing to give you time to immerse you into what's going on at their company.
I think "plunging into the deep end" of entrepreneurship is really painful and hard. Why should you have to learn every lesson the hardest way possible?
Happy to talk about any of this in a call. Best of luck.
There are many ways to solve your problems. And to me the main problem in your case is money.
In my opinion, seeking for an investor nowadays is useless. The most popular way to raise some money today is crowdfunding. You can go to indiegogo.com or any similar website, present your project and the amount of money you want to raise and people will start making donations. Or you can look for a developer who's willing to go into a partnership with you.
I'll be more than happy to discuss more details with you on the phone.
If you think your idea would attract investors, you could take a route similar to many other tech startups. Investors don't care about your product, remember this, they care about your company. Will your team be able to innovate? You will want to start building a team of qualified candidates before you even seek funding, because without them, all you have is a product idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Assembling your team before you even have funding shows initiative and sets the foundation for what investors can expect from you.
I agree with the other answers on this page as well, there is no one right way, but you are surely capable and nothing *really* stands in your way. Go get it!
All of these answers are important, but before doing any of that, first consider validating your idea. That means getting customer feedback outside of your circle of family and friends. Funding can certainly speed things up but it also means you lose some control over the vision, the pace and the deliverables. The sooner you get funding the more likely it is going to cost a higher portion of your equity. I'd consider going as far as you can without funding first, if it's possible.
Bottom line is that you shouldn't go far into building your product, and certainly shouldn't spend more than a few dollars before having some solid customer validation on the concept.
Depending on yur location there may be some grants available for early stage validatioin of your concept without having to give up too much control or ownership.
My Startup is just about to launch our flagship product on the Google Playstore and so far we have not pursued investment. We are all (including the programmer) working for equity (part ownership).
Start listening to "startups for the rest of us" podcast... And listen to this episode which, half way in, includes a similar question posed to the hosts of the show. http://www.startupsfortherestofus.com/episodes/episode-144-because-you-cant-have-enough-listener-questions
If you want to learn programming yourself, I have aggregated a ton of free resources and online guides:
I find that there is a high quantity of very useful/ high quality programming/engineering information on the internet but the "order" of which you learn things and how the different subjects interact with each other isn't very well enunciated.
My list of guides tries to serve as a "repo" to centralize high quality learning material.
Now a days, you create a basic 1 page landing page on Instapage.com with a free mailchimp account to collect emails and start putting the idea out there through channels such as producthunt.com, Facebook Ads (target other countries for lower CPC), and Google AdWords targeting (with .25 cent CPC) to start getting some traffic.
In your "website test" include a contact form and a way to submit email if a person is interested. This will also help in getting other people to help you (show that, "hey, people really want to buy this.")
What you're doing is putting your website and app in the market first to see the response. You'll get an idea how much it costs to acquire a customer, or if people are willing to pay for it.
I think you can do all this yourself. With the landing page and material, make sure it is clear that you are not preselling an app you don't have but taking info for people that are interested.
You can probably find a person on Elance that can assist with feedback and making the app.
I usually ask people this - if you were offered a million dollars, what would you do with it and how would you spend it? It's a mind-opener - it takes away the financial aspect and makes you think of what you would do if you already had the money.
Maybe your 19 year old can figure out how to code? Maybe there is someone at their college that they can entice to join them for a portion of future profits/sales.
Let the kid learn how to start a business - it's good for them!
Ideas are not confined to age; it all depends on how you execute the idea you have. Keep these points in mind if you wish to move ahead with a start-up idea:
1. Do your market research: Conducting market research is the first step to determine if you really do have an idea worth pursuing. Begin your research by writing down what you think the problem is that your business idea would be solving. Physically write it down and keep it in front of you. Figure out how many people are having this problem that you're solving and go talk to them. Consider writing up a survey for these potential "customers" to take and see what they have to say. After you get your results, check out the competition and figure out if you are different enough (in a good way) to do battle with them. Keep all your research materials when you are finished, as they could be helpful in securing funding later.
2. Secure intellectual property: Intellectual property (IP) refers to the process by which an individual or company can own the rights to a created product. Examples include patents, copyright, and trademarks. It is vital to the success of your company that you follow the proper protocol to protect your differentiating factor. By securing your IP early on, you will protect yourself against copycats. Conversely, make sure you are not the copycat, even inadvertently. Confirm that you aren't violating any existing IP rights or non-compete agreements, otherwise, you could face serious legal ramifications. Once you know you are in the clear, file your patent or apply for your trademark or copyright.
3. Decide on branding: Branding is about more than just choosing a name; it is about deciding on an identity for your idea. You want to choose something you love, but you also want to choose a name that conveys the experience of using your product and the problem that it solves. Be aware of any existing product successes, or failures, that are associated with the name you choose and how they may impact adoption. This is the time you should also secure your website domain name and other associated marketing materials. This is also where you craft and internalize your elevator pitch, so you know exactly what to say to anyone who may ask what your company does.
4. Incorporate: Incorporating is a big deal for a start-up because there are so many aspects of the start-up lifecycle that affect it and are affected by it. Incorporating is the process of turning your business into a legal entity and deciding how it will be structured. Typically, start-ups will be incorporated as an LLC, a C corporation, or an S corporation. Both LLCs and S corporations have special tax exemptions, while a C corporation is considered a taxable entity. In addition to the tax differences, there are a host of other considerations that you need to make when incorporating. For example, equity compensation, which is a major issue when raising capital, is different depending on the business structure you choose. Additionally, you will want to consider where to incorporate, as different states have different ways of taxing businesses. One of the de facto standards is to incorporate as a Delaware-based Corporation because Delaware is considered by many to have favourable corporate law practices, and because C corporations tend to be looked upon more favourably by venture capital investors.
5. Choose a co-founder: Not having the proper support for even the best of ideas can kill your execution. In fact, some investors look at the founding team first before looking at the idea when considering making an investment. If you have a co-founder already awesome. If not, you should consider bringing someone else into the fold. Look for someone with solid track record who you have, at least, some history with. The key feature is finding someone with a skill set that is complementary to yours. Style and personality are also considerations to make, as you will be working alongside this person every day and need to know that you can accomplish goals as a team. Also, there might only be room for one person in the spotlight, so understand that one of you might be working behind the scenes and will need to be ok with that.
6. Write a business plan: One way to set your start-up off on the right path is to write a good business plan. Using the market research, you did earlier, create your plan of attack and decide what you want to accomplish with your new business. Determine goals and milestones, and what steps you need to make it to those milestones.
7. Pick a workplace: Where you work does influence your start-up as you are getting off the ground. Different environments will suit different working styles best. Many founders choose to work from home initially to save money, but others choose to rent at a coworking space, share an office, or rent and office for themselves. Do not be afraid to experiment, but do not let the search for the perfect space get in the way of your work.
8. Find a mentor: Mentorship is a touchy subject. First, you should determine if having a mentor is good for you as a founder. If so, finding the right mentor can make a huge difference. Even with the combined expertise of you and your co-founder, a mentor can provide deep industry insight and wisdom to help you navigate some of the challenges that come your way.
9. Apply for an accelerator program: If you need some additional resources and expertise, consider applying for an accelerator. An accelerator is a program for start-up businesses that helps speed the growth of the company by providing a mentor network and sometimes a small investment. These programs can also give their companies the opportunity to formally pitch the media and other members of the start-up community during a demonstration day at the end of the program. Bear in mind, however, that most of these programs require equity share of your company.
10. Raise capital: For many start-ups, taking it to the next level requires a financial investment in the company. Founders give equity in their company to angel investors or venture capital investors in return for money and, sometimes, advice. The resources can be an enormous help but taking capital investments does have a dark side that should be understood before you move forward. If you need to raise capital for your business, you should begin by deciding how much money to raise and how it will affect your start-up. Once you have that figured out, you should decide how you will be raising it by crowdfunding, from an angel investor, or through a traditional VC firm. Then, you need to practice your pitch.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath