How to create a start-up project
A start-up project (or company) is a generally innovation and just created project or company which is in a phase of development and research for markets. This project is often associated with higher potential, scalability, rapid growth and higher risks. Here are some examples of successful start-ups:
- Was started in September, 1998
- The largest search engine
- Google was a class project of two students of the Stanford University — Larry Page and Sergey Brin
- Was started in February, 2005
- The most popular video-hosting site
- Was purchased by the Google Company in November, 2006 for $1,65 billion
- The site’s content is viewed by over 3 billion people a day
- Was started in February, 2004
- The most popular social net
- 800 million of active users (in September, 2011)
- Was started in February, 2004
- The most popular online photo management and sharing application
- Was purchased by Yahoo! in March, 2005
- As on August 4, 2011 there were over 6 billion images in the Flickr’s database
That is why many people dream to turn their genius idea into a start-up and get millions and fame. But there is something common between all of them – wrong approach, and failure as a result. The very few of thousands could reach excellent results. Thanks to the correct approach described in this article, you’ll be able to reach better results, too. The main peculiarities of start-ups are:
- A genius idea that will earn millions
- Big financial risk and big opportunities
- Short time for initial realization: seed stage takes 1-2 months
- Minimal investments. The typical start-up requires only about $25,000 to get going
- Clear planning of costs and profits, sales tactics and PR-campaign
- Hard work on a project, just about 24 hours a day
- A start-up team needs a leader — a person everybody will unquestionably listen to, and the one who will make decisions
- Active PR
You need 4 things to create a successful startup:
- good idea to make something customers really want
- start with good team
- spend little money
- spend a lot of time
A short sequence of the start-up’s life cycle stages is the following:
- Seed stage
- Idea generation
- Searching for a developer (or a team)
- Coding (prototype creation)
- Testing and deployment
- Startup stage
- Project operation
- Searching for investor
- Working with customers
- Growth stage
- Expansion stage
- Exit stage
During the seed stage the main work on turning your idea into business is done. Having an idea doesn’t mean having a business, you’ll have to work hard to realize your project successfully. It’s important that the main criteria of success for a start-up idea are its unicity, helpfulness and precise understanding of your goals.
This is why one of the most important stages of developing a successive start-up project is the competitive environment analysis. You need to evaluate your both material and intellectual abilities soberly — there is no need to create another Google, though it wasn’t the first search engine. At the same time, you need to make the analysis regularly if you don’t want to miss something important.
As a result of such analysis you’ll get a Business Plan, which should include the following:
- Description of the opportunity and market size;
- Dates and schedule of the project;
- Review of the competitive landscape and solutions;
- Detailed financial projections;
- Capitalization opportunities.
You should also create an Executive summary (venture capital investments document) of your business proposal along with the Business plan.
Start up your project with a good business plan that shows investors and lenders your company's potential. Follow that up with a thorough knowledge of the resources available and a determination to make your business a reality, and you should be on your way to uncovering a source that fits your new business's cash needs.
Searching for a developer (or a team) and coding (prototype creation) go next. You can either do this together with your team’s members or turn to professional outsourcing development companies. They will analyze your idea, suggest some possible ways to improve and realize it, and deliver your product. In any case, choose your team critically, since you only need those people who are interested in your project’s success, and who can become an asset to it. That is why most startups began with a group of friends and like-minded persons.
A benefit of an outsourcing development is its scalability. Outsourcers make a team based on a project requirements, complexity and deadline. Depending on the requirements, your dedicated team might include a project manager, software developer, beta testers and whoever else needed to complete the project right, on time and on budget.
Testing thoroughly and frequently during the development process avoids bugs and customer-killing issues. After the testing is complete, deployment and documenting the original architecture begin.
Next goes a start-up stage, when the project is already started and it is time for active promotion and advertising. On this stage your tasks are:
- Analyze user feedbacks
- Analyze the mindset of your target audience
- Start active PR-campaign
- Start meeting with your investors, visiting conferences, informal meetings etc., talking to people. You need get comments and feedbacks from outside, otherwise you can miss important things.
At this stage usually arises a sharp question regarding the further project’s financing and, consequently, developing — as long as you’ve already spent your time and money. As practice shows, the main goal during the growth stage is finding an investor. If you the investor to be interested in your project, you need the following:
- Develop at least 70-80% of your idea;
- start a beta-version;
- get positive feedback;
- make your project attractive for investments.
Growth stage, expansion stage and exit stage are already reliable projects that are performing well in the marketplace.
Start-up Financing Stages and Forms
Forms of financing start-ups:
- Venture capital (VC) firms investing in start-up companies and new businesses
- Private capital investors searching for later-stage buyouts
- Angel investors looking for investment opportunities
There are some types of investment for start-ups:
- Seed Capital. If you’re just starting out and have no product or organized company yet, you would be seeking seed capital. Few VCs fund at this stage (but a lot of Angel investors) and the amount invested would probably be small. Investment capital may be used to create a sample product, fund market research, or cover administrative set-up costs.
- Startup Capital. At this stage, your company would have a sample product available with at least one principal working full-time. Funding at this stage is more available. It tends to cover additional market research, and finalizing of the product or service for growth to the marketplace.
- Early Stage Capital. At this stage of investment the project has an opportunity to achieve an enterprise level of the business solution.
- Expansion Capital. Your company is well established, and now you are looking for VC to help take your business to the next level of growth. Funding at this stage may help you enter new markets or increase your marketing efforts. You should seek out VCs that specialize in later stage investing.
- Late Stage Capital. At this stage, your company has achieved impressive sales and revenue and you have a second level of management in place. You may be looking for funds to increase capacity, ramp up marketing, or increase working capital.
For a successful search of investors and to make more sounds, you should submit to Startup Listing Sites. Certainly, getting on TechCrunch, Mashable, CenterNetworks or one of the other big blogs that cover startups is great, but there’s no shortage of smaller players in this space that can build awareness and drive traffic. At the same time, KillerStartups allows anyone to submit a startup, and the community votes on it. Other sites are Go2Web20, Listio, Simple Spark, StartupPoject and Feed My App.
If you want to do it, do it. Starting a startup is not such a great mystery as it looks like from outside. It's not something you have to know about "business" to do. Build something people love and spend less than you make. It is very interesting way to go to your success and new level of advance.