I have a great idea. Now what?

A group of lightbulbs hanging from a ceiling

Okay, you have a great business idea, which you have spent time and effort validating.  And now, presto, you are ready to start a startup. So what do you do now? Before you run off and do something like register a business, check out these thoughts from Ariel Rosenthal, the technical founder at Xprt, who has started a company (and failed!) and started again. 

Choose Your Startup Co-founders.  These will be the people you will live and breathe with for the foreseeable future.  Make sure that not only can you work well with them, but that you actually like them.  It’s kind of like a marriage; if you can’t see yourself with them in the future, what are you doing with them now? 

Plan. Do entrepreneurs use business plans anymore?  Having a plan will help focus the mind and give a structure to your business idea.  Using this, in conjunction with the business model canvas or lean canvas, executive summary, financial projection and a pitch deck, will ensure all your bases are covered. 

Find Investors. This is about more that just finding people to put money into your startup.  Building a relationship with the people who will have some sort of stake in your startup is crucial to the success of your business.  Avoid selling right away, but make sure you can explain your business quickly and clearly.  Follow up with progress reports, which will allow the investors to engage with you easily.  If they have already met you, and know you, they are much more likely to invest. 

Include Marketing. Building a fabulous product is great, but what if no one knows about?  Marketing should be part of your overall strategy from the start, so you can ensure users are aware of the development as it goes from concept to MVP (minimum viable product).  Work in tandem with the developers to prepare for launch. 

Stay Lean.  Do what you’re good at, and outsource the rest, as far as you can.  Understand that if you’re not a programmer, learning a programing language will cost you a lot time and effort.  Hiring a programmer for project work frees you up to focus on other things. 

Be Agile.  Don’t be afraid to change your idea.  Pivoting when an idea isn’t working I the way you would like, saves a lot of time, energy and heartache in the long run.  Keep your eyes open.  Plan ahead, and have a plan b and plan c.  If something isn’t working, change it. 

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