By FAR, the greatest mistake that startup founders make is that they start with the wrong things. They tend to have an assumption or desire about how to solve a problem and they go.
How do I setup a startup, preferably a software company, with no money to begin with? You don’t just start coding.
If you are to actually have what you might consider a software startup, get busy building a business. Do you know the market intimately? Competitors, history, potential partners, costs, revenue models, what potential customers think they want – and what they might actually want?
That’s your job. That’s the half of a business that creates the value. Start with…
- About 500 sit down face-to-face, one-on-one interviews to figure out what not to do and to build a foundation of people to whom to turn with the initial solution. Yes, FIVE HUNDRED. Start spending your days in coffee shops 🙂
- Non stop marketing. Not promotion! We don’t have anything to promote yet! Marketing. The work of knowing and developing the market. Not our first point, talking to potential customers, nor promotion, but market research, competitive analysis, from where you might get funding, how such things exit, what works and what doesn’t, etc. This is to figure out what to do (insider secret: because customers are usually wrong – you do the interviews to figure out what NOT to do and you do marketing to figure out what TO do)
- Establish some market share by building out some industry assets: a Facebook group, a twitter, a mailing list, a newsletter… not on your brand – You don’t have that either yet – build some potential market share through industry related assets.
- Build the team. No startup in the history of startups is the success of one person. No investor in the history of investors funds one person. Figure out your gaps and fill them with experience in a team that can succeed. Build a relevant, committed, capable team and you can accomplish anything: startups really only fail when the team quits.