21-year-old kickass founder at Tryon who decided to turn a notebook filled with doodles into a startup.
And he’s going at it full speed.
I met him in a marketing class, one of those lessons filled with theories and big words to define the tiny things people don’t pay attention to.
And here’s a catchup we had,
just two friends talking about building alternative routines,
shaping ideas, good times,
bad times and the fun in-between.
So, what does it feel like to start a startup ?
Eric Ries gave this definition and i’ll use that.
“A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
Pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Well, trust me, it’s not at all.
Some fifteen years ago, the biggest competitive threat to your business was down the road, but today you are competing with everyone across the globe – a large tech company, a group of university students in the U.S. or a teenager in Russia.
Not to mention technology improvements requiring you to stay up-to-date with all relevant information in your market. Startups come in different sizes and can be anywhere in their life cycle between 0 and 100.
How do you realize you’re ready to gamble at this game ?
Everything starts with an idea.
Usually it starts with a strong personal experience with a problem that needs to be solved but can also be influenced by business motives. The important question to ask before you submerge yourself into the startup world is
Do you have a burning desire to solve this problem ?
In other words, is the solution you came up with something you’d do for free ? Or are you in for a quick reward ?
If your answer is the second option – turn back and consider something else, you won’t last long out there. If not, you’re ready to take on the challenge.
What if I want to kickstart a startup today ?
One of the first honest lessons learnt when I started is that nothing teaches you more than launching your own business.
Over the first three months of my startup, I taught myself how to code front-end to bootstrap our first prototype.You’ll have to deal with a lot of different tasks, which will feed your skills arsenal.
What if I can’t stick to a monogamous business idea ?
During this honeymoon phase, a bunch of new ideas come to your head, day and night.
Make sure you don’t miss them. Start a notebook and let your inner Picasso do what he has to do through sketches, graphs, any outputs.
Just don’t overcrowd your product/service with something nobody will use.
Instagram (called burbn at the time) started out with loads of features just to find out that they only need one.
Think of your business as a flower – the concept you start with might change a dozen times over time.
And that’s fine.
What if someone steals your idea ?
That’s one of the first questions I used to hear all the time after explaining my project.
Don’t be afraid of asking for another perspective. People don’t have your same drive or skills to copy it and big companies already have suggestions waiting in line.
How do you deal with the flow of new faces and opinions of people you meet along the way ?
Remember standing in front of your father asking for money to get candies ?
Well if you want to grow your business, you need an investment and speaking to people is pretty much the same, but in hardcore mode.
Not much empathy will be involved, so refine your pitch to perfection.
Regardless what your startup does, there will be people involved.
Whether it’s suppliers, users, programmers, investors – all of them are different and communication is key.
Learn how to deal with them.
What if you’re not much of an organized human being ?
You’ll have to learn some basic planning.
It’s important to set measured goals and a strategy on how you will achieve them. But don’t waste too much time in front of a white board.
Go get your hands dirty.
But before that, try and answer this:
- is your product/service needed ?
- what market are you entering and who’s your competition ?
- how much funding do you need to kickstart ?
- how will you monetize ?
Any cool word I can learn and recycle to sound like I’ve got my life together while sipping wine ?
Minimum Viable Product.
Cherish your m.v.p. like your first child.
It’s what you should be aiming for when you start your business, how you will test your assumption, if your idea is something people need and see it in action. A prototype like this can come in any shape depending in the size of the project and industry.
Godspeed if you’re brave enough to start your journey.
I promise you won’t regret it.
Say holla: firstname.lastname@example.org