Three Tips for Beginning Your Entrepreneurial Journey
Three areas to focus on when launching a startup.
Early success in entrepreneurship means focusing on what matters
So you’ve decided you want to start a startup. Great news! Now what? Where do you begin? Where do you focus? Entrepreneurship can be extremely chaotic with lots of moving parts—from finding co-founders, to acquiring initial customers, to deciding what big problem to go after, the list is endless. There’s a plethora of things you’ll need to do when you launch your company, but a question we get asked often is, “Where do I start?” We encourage entrepreneurs who are wanting to start a high-growth company to focus on a tough problem in a big market, and zero in on the target customer at the beginning of their journey. Below are three helpful tips (plus many resources) to get you started:
- Focus on One Big Problem in One Big Market
Oftentimes, it's best to start with a specific problem you have personally experienced (or have discovered a large number of people have experienced) frequently and is painful each time it happens. Through research, confirm there is no question that it needs to be solved, and that you’re the right person to build the solution. You’ll want to do some self reflecting as well—are you passionate about the problem you're solving, and can you commit to it for 7+ years? We all know running a company is a marathon, not a sprint. Next, do a deep dive into the industry of this problem to determine how large the market is. Envision how this specific market will evolve over time. Will you be able to focus on one customer's problem now, but expand larger as you scale your product and team?
- Focus on Your Target Customer
Once you understand the problem and the market, it’s important to fully grasp who your customers will be and the value proposition to them. These are the people you go to see first to determine if the problem is painful enough. We encourage founders to talk to as many potential customers as possible. Ask intentional questions (you can reference The Mom Test to find Authentic Demand). Sometimes you can even uncover a more painful problem that they experience.
- Focus on Validation, Test Before You Build
Once you’ve honed in on the target customer, it’s time to validate the idea you have with those customers. Can you build an early version of what will be your product with a simple spreadsheet and manual calculating and charge customers for the results? Using NoCode resources like Zapier, Webflow, Glide, and bubble, can be a great starting ground with or without a technical background. You don’t have to build out a full fledged MVP to prove that a customer will pay for your product. You can sell before you build, and in many cases, it helps more. Investing time into early validation saves you from wasting time building something that people don’t want.
Once you’ve spent time focusing on the problem, the market, and the customer, you can dive into the validation of that solution to really prove you have a thriving business. These are three simple steps to follow to really jumpstart your startup success.
Looking for more? Here’s some Helpful articles that go beyond these steps:
- Use focus to your advantage
- No coding Skills? No problem.
- Don’t get caught up in the details when building out a product
- Create the most minimal solution to prove a problem exists
- Startups are counterintuitive, go slow at the start
- Listen more to your target customers
- Get your first 10 paying customers
- Iterate to the right solution, choose your problem and learn
- Have a strategy, and don’t rely on growth hacks
- Co-found with friends you’ve worked with, trust your life on, and would be happy to be stranded on a boat or airport with
- Choose the tech that fits best when coding a product
- You are not alone. Keep your head up! If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.
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