I have a startup idea. Where do I start?

Great question!

Most people have ideas, but you really need to ask yourself are you a procrastinator or are you a doer?

This is how procrastinators think:

Throughout this article, I’m going to advise some rather unconventional advice. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to me.

Step 1: When I get an idea, what’s the first thing I do? Tell everyone!

Sounds crazy right? I already hear people thinking, what if someone steals my idea!

The fact is, I am yet to meet someone who comes out with an idea that is not already in place in one shape or another.

The fact that somebody is creating your product, validates the market. Don’t be discouraged, be encouraged that there are customers willing to pay for a service you were thinking of offering.

Next, you’ll have to think about how to drive those customers to you.

Cue.. the evil laugh!

There are numerous ways to drive customers to you, and if you’re interested in this. Read a book called “Blue Ocean Strategy”. It advised you on how to take unnecessary expensive elements out of your business model while sticking to the core areas that address customer pain points. It’s how low budget airlines work.

Step 2: Release Content

This is a key area of your business and it’s absolutely fundamental to your business idea. You need to be incredibly active in your target market. Where are your customers? They are probably on Reddit, or a forum of some sort, or a particular group or community. You need to be a mini-celebrity wherever your potential customers are lurking. Join them, help them, and constantly add value to them. Do this by releasing content. The more content you release, you’ll get better. Humans are very adaptive creators, we’ll always keep getting better and better at releasing content because we’ll constantly learn from areas that work.

Become curious, examine the topic in detail, challenge people, get a buzz and don’t be afraid. The internet is full of trolls and keyboard warriors, but persist and eventually, people will cave and respect your input.

Soon enough you’ll start to get fans and followers. Your curiosity will allow you to innovate. You may find you were completely mistaken about your idea and a new one may form – this is a good sign!

Soon enough, if you keep this up, remain consistent and keep persisting you’ll have a following in the tens of thousands. People will recognise you’re a subject matter expert, your network will widen and you will start to become an authoritative figure.

Step 3: Validate the Market

When you validate the market, you’ll want to push out an idea or suggestion. After you’ve mingled with your prospective customers, you want to think through a business idea.

Spend very little money in creating mockups that show the customer journey, and just ask your audience what they think.

It can be something as casual as:

“Hey guys, over the last few months I been thinking there’s a real need for XYZ, I’ve put pen to paper and created this mockup to show how it will work. Let me know your thoughts?”

One of two things will happen. Either they say it will suck in which case it’s back to the drawing board, or they will love it! In which case, you can be like if this is something that you’ll use – sign up here.

Get pre-product email signatures. This is one of the highest forms of social currency.

Step 4: Iterate the product

Over the next few weeks and months, keep in touch with people interested. Remember you only need 1,000 true fans for your business to work.

Release updates, show them newer mockups, ask them if you can take out certain features. Yes, I mean take out. Remember sophistication is the ultimate form of simplicity.

Keep working with them throughout the journey, iterate, edit and take all of their feedback onboard and you’ll eventually have a product that your customers have helped you create.

Step 5: Launch

Well done! You’ve now got a product where you’ve:

  • Identified a niche
  • Satisfied the market criteria
  • Validated the product idea
  • Have a market and fans to launch it to

Remember it takes hard work to get there, and twice as much hard work to stay there. Your customers are your priority, keep working, keep iterating, and keep improving, but whatever you do, just ensure your cat doesn’t end up looking like this.

Thanks for reading!

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