Safe Startup With Us
A startup is a difficult activity, but at the same time, it is the biggest drive in life after sex. Being ambitious entrepreneurs, we have accumulated our history of failures and success. In recent years, we have formulated 15 rules that allow one to go through this difficult path in an easier way.
15 tips that can help keep your startup safe
1. Check yourself and the investor for compatibility.
Money is an important thing, but be careful with it and choose the right source. Since the majority of business angels and funds will take away your company’s shares, you can say that throughout the entire period of your startup, you will be “married” to them. Therefore, you’d better love your angel or foundation. Check in advance if you are suited to each other. If you have any doubts about the investor – refuse the deal.
2. Build a prototype with your own money.
Do not begin to attract investments in a startup without building a prototype. Raise money for a team from your own savings or ask your relatives and friends to invest in your project. Sell what can be displayed is much easier. In addition, you will prove that you can embody your startup idea. Advice: follow the principles of Eric Ries and his Lean Startups.
3. The prototype should be as simple and cheap as possible.
Minimum means minimum. Do not try to build an industrial solution on a penny budget. The prototype should demonstrate one or maximum of several functions. It should be simple – both for understanding and for application. Invest in interface creation and usability.
4. Start testing the prototype immediately.
As soon as the prototype is ready, ask friends, colleagues, any person from your environment to start using it. Listen to all their comments and improve the product. Generally, if you are looking to get an investment from people like Dave McClure someday, you will have to prove to users that, first, they need your product. Do not worry if there are errors in the product.
5. Never act alone.
Most individual startups fail (we know from experience). You need to have a strong team of co-founders. Do not start a project if you do not have a specialist in design and interfaces, a marketer, techies and developers. Do not treat people in a startup as hired workers. They are co-founders and partners in your common cause, and this is how you treat them.
6. Top managers from large companies are not necessarily good startups.
One cannot assume that the top managers of large companies are always great entrepreneurs or mentors. Big business and a startup are completely different things. Also, you should not be sure that an adviser from Mail.ru or Yandex will help you easily reach investors or partners.
7. Speak in public as much as possible.
As the founder of the project, your duty is to make people enthusiastic about your product. You need to be passionate, active and incendiary. The more you perform in public, the better and more natural your presentation will look, and it will be easier for you to convince everyone that you are cool. Always check the result, look at the reaction, listen, get feedback, learn from mistakes, improve the product. You must inspire people to work with you, to use the product and to invest in a project.
8. Look for investments, distribute other tasks among employees.
Divide all your workload while you are busy with the process of attracting investments, so as not to run the “routine”. Your team should have a product manager. Surround yourself with talented people. As CEO, you need to focus on finding investments — it will take 90% of the time.
9. Do not waste time visiting startup events.
For the most part, they are more likely to attract the public, rather than raise money. But your time is the same value as money. And the investment should pay off in full.
10. Work on a big market and solve big problems.
Check if your product has a large market. To become truly interesting for an investor, you must either seriously press the existing players of the multi-billion dollar market, or solve a real problem. Small problems attract only small investors with modest investments. Major problems are of interest to wealthy investors of the highest level.
11. Be closer to buyers, but even closer to investors.
If you are raising money for a project from a foundation in Boston, you need to move to Boston. A foundation or an “angel” is not just a source of funding. Most investors have serious connections and good relationships with other investors, funds, partners, mentors, and so on. They know the market, they achieved certain results. You have to find a way to make money on it.
12. Do not expect too much from your business angel’s connections and acquaintances.
Do not get carried away overly previous advice. When you choose which business angel to apply for investments, do not overestimate its mentoring opportunities and connections in the market even if your angel knows Dave McClure (500 Startups). In most cases, he will help your startup to a minimum.
13. Become a member of the business incubator.
If you are in Europe, you must enter the incubator Seedcamp or in Startupsauna (they will help you for free, without requiring you to unsubscribe shares or a share in the company). In addition, you should pay attention to Farminers, Techstars, Y-Combinator, Launchpad, etc.
14. Do the product quickly or shut this down.
Ideas cost nothing until they are implemented.
15. Feel free to say that the idea failed.
Set clear goals from the start. Take a few approaches, listen to user feedback, release a new version, check it in public and continue until you reach the desired indicators of the user base, level of engagement and so on. But if you do not achieve any results after 6 months, stop. Failure is also a norm for a startup. Do not be afraid and do not be shy about it. To achieve great results, be prepared to fail every time you risk.