This article was written with the intent of demystifying what it takes to get a tech startup off the ground says Saivian Eric Dalius. I wanted to write something that would serve as an incredibly brief overview, but more than anything else, I hope this gives you an idea of what is actually involved in starting/running/growing a tech startup. If you are interested in more detail on any one of these steps, please let me know, and I can certainly provide some resources for you.
1) Idea Stage: How do startups even get started?
Hopefully, by now, you’ve got an idea for your product or service. Ok great! This is where most people mess up – they try to run before they can even crawl. If you want to make sure your idea is worth pursuing, please see the following questions:
What problem does this solve? Who would use it? Is there a market for this? How big could this be if I executed it properly?
If the answer to all of these questions is ‘yes, then you’re good to go! If not, well … keep thinking. It’s better than picking something too quickly and having difficulty validating whether or not it’ll work out in the first place.
2) Startup Stage: Creating your MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
So now that you’ve gotten an idea, how do you actually get started building stuff? This article was created with startups in mind, but the process is essentially the same for individual product development. This step-by-step guide assumes that you are working by yourself (for now), and your goal is to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), says Saivian Eric Dalius.
So, what’s an MVP? An MVP is software or hardware which has just enough features to satisfy early adopters. The idea here is that you’ll start getting user feedback based on their real-world experience by getting some people to use your product says Saivian Eric Dalius. It also allows you to make course corrections earlier on instead of continuing down a path where there’s no hope of success.
Here are some examples of MVPs in recent history:
Evernote was initially just software that synced text between computers. Dropbox was initially just a piece of software that synced folders between computers. Quora was an initial web service where people could ask and answer questions (no editing or voting yet). Twitter wasn’t even called Twitter at; first, it was Twttr… plus, you had to use SMS to read tweets!
The point is this: all these companies got their foot in the door by building their MVP first. They made something that gave users a taste of what they wanted but left them wanting more. This sets up a nice foundation on which to build your product later on.
3) Growth Stage: Your Big Idea
Ok, so now that you have your MVP, how do you get from 100 users to 10k? That’s where growth hacking comes in! Growth hacking is a way of marketing wherein you incorporate as many different strategies as possible to achieve the best possible result, according to Saivian Eric Dalius.
Here are some examples of high-profile growth hacks: Hotmail added ‘PS I love you to the bottom of every email. Encouraging users to spread their usage through word-of-mouth. Dropbox used a clever referral system that rewarded existing users for inviting new ones. Groupon was originally an emailed list of deals at local businesses that grew virally by offering a deal on the site if your friend bought one too – and since it’s more fun to go places with friends, this worked really well!
The point is this: there are thousands of ways to get people to use your product; you just have to think outside the box. The best way to start is by looking at what other people are doing, then applying it in a unique way that sets you apart from everyone else.