Startup Core

Good Cofounders (they can’t be replaced, make sure you never want to).

The idea almost always transforms, strategy changes, and goals shift but what you can not change about a startup are the people. Putting a good team together is half the climb, and trust us, as fun and exciting having a startup seems, it's a back breaking uphill climb and if the people you have with you are pulling you up instead of down, you get to the top.

Launch fast.

Stakeholder engagement is the make or break of an idea, it's your users who can really tell what your product should be and what you should be working on, launching soon as you can gives you the room to go back, review fix test and perfect what you are making without losing resources, don't wait for the perfect product to launch, get in touch with your users as fast as you can.

Understand your users.

Most successful startup stories are where the founders made something they needed to improve their lives, the experienced the need over and over until they understood the gap and came up with a complete solution. Answering the needs and re structuring the solution as many times until the user is satisfied is an indication that you understand what your user wants, that's the key to growing your market and scaling fast

Let your idea evolve.

Another key aspect of understanding and engaging your stakeholders is that you re iterate the cycle where the user feedback helps you evolve your idea into what your users want. This is the followup to knowing what your users want. Let your users guide you what to make. Fixating on the initial idea is a big mistake and frankly is what separates people who have the smarts to have a startup and who don’t.

Measure what motivates you.

Having a meaningful measure that gives an insight into your business helps you stay focused and motivated. For example Keeping track of the number of your users will help you figure out what you are doing right and what not to do as the numbers increase and decrease.

Excellent customer service is your unfailing chance.

Most large companies with an enormous customer base have atrocious customer service, an excellent customer service is your key to competing with these large companies even with a small number of customers and because people have gotten used to being treated terribly, an exceptional service will throw them off. Focusing on offering excellent service and creating a product that your users want will be directly proportional to the growth rate of your company with a loyal customer base.

Be cheap.

Most startups or any business for that matter fail because they run out of money, we can't stress enough on the importance of this point, if not for any other reason your startup will most definitely fail if you run out of money. Spend as little as possible to the point of being cheap, staying lean will help you while you evolve and keep the process fast without weighing you down. Stay "Ramen profitable"

Fight the demoralization.

Lack of focus is another death warrant for a startup. Demoralization can cause immense amount of strain on a startup to the point of breaking. Don't get demoralized, make a conscious effort to keep fighting this, build support just for the time when the weight gets too heavy to carry.

Don't give up.

Moments where you may get demoralized will be inevitable, so even if you get demoralized don't give up, the most immediate cause of a start up dying is running out of money and that is almost always paired with a key founder bailing. But like lack of focus is the underlying cause of demoralization, demoralization is the underlying cause of giving up. Persistence perseverance and patience are what will take you to the other side of the line, so no matter how demoralized you get, just keep trying and keep trying differently every time you fail, because this effort will be your preparation when luck meets you for success.

Deals should be the least of your focus (they are the anti-focus).

Don't make getting investment or having a successful exit your goal, because these distract you from making what your users want and distraction usually ends up in demoralization. Which if not addressed, is the beginning of the death of your startup. You only end up making one winning deal, the rest will fall through so don't focus on them too much and let the process continue in the background until you do that one winning deal.

Summarizing the list, we see that stakeholder engagement is the most important key to getting everything else right. You make what your users want and you pretty much have a winning deal. The rest is the process of understanding and figuring out what is it that your users want and how best to do it.

Bring your idea to Startup ChallengeSummer '17

and win #betterthancash