Building a startup is not an easy task. It’s challenging and hard-work. During the last 20 years, plenty of startups saw the light, and we can see patterns to emerge.
People who grew their startups to billion dollars companies mainly followed the same process. This article is about to give you the key to success in order to build your startup from scratch.
Don’t get me wrong. Success is hard work. However, if you follow each of the following steps thoroughly and verify milestones often, you’ll build a successful company.
Milestones to Success
Your road to success is punctuated by 3 main milestones: Product / Market Fit, Transition to Growth, and finally Growth. The main aim is to:
- Get the product right
- Market this product
- Grow your business
If you want more information about these milestones, read Sean Ellis’ article: Milestones to Startup Success.
Keep in mind that different types of startups, lead to different kind of execution. You might therefore have to adapt the checklist to your own needs.
Product/Market Fit (PMF)
The very first step, before thinking about Growth, is to create something people actually want. This phase is all about discovering who are your customers and building a product they’re ready to pay for.
- Brainstorm ideas
- Do you have the right idea?
- Is it an idea worth pursuing?
- Check your motivation & energy
- State your hypothesis
- Embrace the Lean startup & Agile Methodologies
- Customer Development: discuss with 50 prospective customers & influencers
- Who are your Customers?
- What are their Problems?
- What Solution resolve their Problems?
- Business Model Canvas
- Problem / Solution Presentation
- Define your vision
- Evaluate the market size
- Do things that don’t scale
- Get a name
- Test Traction through a Landing Page
- Design MVP Mockups
- Experiment with a prototype
- Develop an MVP
- Define your Sales Cycle
- Get 50 customers
- Start charging money
- Verify the PMF: don’t proceed if you don’t have it
- Embrace the Data-Driven Culture
Read more about the Product / Market Fit.
Transition to Growth
Once you get the right product, you can start Marketing it. Here, you want paying customers.
- Develop Personas
- Define your message: Advantages & Benefits
- Design a beautiful website
- Ensure your website is conversion-ready
- Implement the Growth Process
- Work on your Onboarding
- Think about your Brand Experience
- Start your Acquisition
- Test your distributions channels
- Integrate Customer Success
- Ensure Customer Satisfaction
- Weekly calculate your Growth Rate
- Think about company’s Culture
- Calculate your Metrics: CAC / LTV (relative to each channel)
- Optimize Metrics & Business Model
- Raise money
Now that you know which channels are working, and which one aren’t, you can start to grow. Double your investment on the channels who are working and get a growing flow of customers.
- Experiment often
- Keep Learning
Starting and growing a startup requires patience and hard work.
The most important is to build something people want.
Don’t focus on the wrong thing.
Always monitor your actual development.
Listen to your customers. Build something they love. And you’ll do well in business.