I have a start up idea, but not very much technical experience. I have a little, but not enough to create what's in my head. What would be the best way to get started. This would be my very first start up and would like to try and do things as correctly as possible with very little costs because I am a college student. Would creating a business plan and a landing page be the ideal way to go? I know in order to gain some traction, investors, or a technical cofounder I would need to show that there's a need, want or desire for my service. I do know a few sport celebrities that can possibly help me get this out. How should I go about this?
No one is going to get motivated by a business plan or for that matter, a landing page.
Your first step as a first-time, non-technical founder must always be to prove that your idea is not crazy. This means that you must do extensive customer development as comprehensively as possible.
This could be that you build a landing page that converts into hundreds of qualified leads, it could be that you have a customer that has provided at least a verbal that if you build it, they'll pay for it or better yet, is willing to prepay. At the very least, it should be 100+ recorded or verifiable customer interviews all indicating that they want the vision you're outlining.
From there and only after that has been achieved, would I begin by recruiting a technical cofounder. Search through my past answers on my profile to find how to recruit a technical cofounder. You want only a commitment that if you can raise money within the next 120 days on this idea of yours, a commitment that they will join. Anything more than that, and it's likely too big of an ask.
Then, you need to raise money. Enough money to fund at least the cost of your technical founder to live while focusing 100% on this for 9 months.
Being a non technical co-founder is REALLY hard. It can be done but I really don't suggest most people try it as their first foray into startups. It's better to join an existing team and learn so much from being with a great entrepreneur that you admire and respect.
But if you really want to jump into this, happy to do a call with you.
Answered 8 years ago
The first thing you must do is determine if your good idea can translate into a good business. Who are the customers? How many of them are there? Are they willing to pay, and if so how much? How much does it cost to deliver the product or service? How much does it cost to market the product/service?
This can be done with a simple P&L, the first person you need to convince that this is a good business opportunity is yourself. That is usually not hard since it's your idea and you obviously think its a good one, but be critical of yourself. And once you have a basic plan ask some trusted people what they think, see if you can convince them that it is a good business potential.
After you have done this you can move on to other things like finding technical people and creating a business plan. A lot of the heavy lifting for the business plan will already be done based on what you did above.
Answered 8 years ago
Ideas for start ups are easy: the ability to execute an idea is what makes an idea (and you) valuable.
Starting a successful business begins with the willingness to fail. You won't get everything right, but you will learn a lot in the process. Beyond that, "extensive customer development" (as Tom Williams suggested) will save you valuable time and money. Create a hypothesis, then go out and ask people whether it is something they are interested in. Allow your idea to shift based on what you learn.
Also, start before you are ready, and get your prototype in front of as many people as possible to get valuable customer input. That doesn't mean you need to implement every change they suggest: the real value is the dialogue from such a partnership. You will gain great insight into your business from these discussions.
Surround yourself with other budding entrepreneurs, even if it's just virtually. A mastermind group can be a great source of support and insight to keep you moving towards your goal. Listening to founder stories are also useful. Some great podcasts I'd recommend: "The Fizzle Show: Honest Online Business Advice" and "Seth Godin's Start Up School". There's many more, but those two top my list.
If you feel you could use benefit from some goal clarity to make sure that when you get where you're going that it's someplace you actually want to be, I'd welcome the opportunity to talk with you. Hope that helps!
Answered 8 years ago
Good (and common) question.
It's difficult advancing your startup / raising money without a CTO, but it's not impossible.
Here are first stages that you need to take:
1. Research your idea (how it will be done, costs) and the market [potential customers, competitors (what they're doing, how you're different) etc]
2. Refine your idea/business model/target market based on your research.
3. Share your idea with friends and get as much (negative*) feedback as possible (yes, I know that entrepreneurs are always scared that their idea will get stolen, in reality, this almost never happens).
* An important point for this stage is that you avoid the 'ugly baby' syndrome (if you show someone the ugliest baby in the world and say: "this is my baby, what do you think?" they will of course say that it's the cutest baby ever" because they don't want to offend you). So instead, say something like: "my friend has this idea he wants me to work on with him, I don't think it's such a great idea, what do you think?" - this way, they will feel more open to tell you the truth.
4. Refine your idea/business model/target market based on the feedback you received.
5. VALIDATE your idea (most important stage) - see how in my Clarity answer on this subject here: https://clarity.fm/questions/596/how-do-you-get-access-to-the-right-people-to-validate-an-idea
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs. I'd be happy to help you.
Answered 3 years ago