According to Forbes, 9 out of 10 startups fail. Such statistics force aspiring entrepreneurs to give up their dreams. However, everyone has a chance of success - for this you need to know where to start a business, how to properly and efficiently prepare for the start of work and launch, what to take into account, how to avoid pitfalls. In this article, we will talk about how to effectively launch a startup - we know the specifics and nuances, because we have our own startup - the first system in Ukraine for conducting sports competitions, and we will share the best advice and our own experience that will help entrepreneurs achieve success.
Startup idea generation
Most often, ideas for successful startups are born from a problem - yours and/or people’s. This approach gives you the advantage of quickly finding your target market. In addition, a survey of founders of failed startups revealed that the main problem was the lack of market demand for their product.
This is how the idea of the Golden Team startup came about. Maksym Kalin, the founder of the Ukrainian IT company "Golden Team", is fond of cycling. He took part in professional competitions and noticed a significant problem — there is no system of high-quality and accurate recording of the results of cycling competitions in Ukraine. Because of this, invited famous athletes, who could raise the prestige of the competition, refuse to participate.
The community of Ukrainian cyclists has been waiting for a solution to this issue for a long time, and Maksym has long been planning to create an innovative IT product that would contribute to the development of Ukrainian business. That is why I decided to develop a high-quality system of timing and organization of cycling competitions - this is how the Golden Gate IT startup was born.
Market research of startups and competitors
Find out if there are similar solutions on the market. Who are your competitors, what functionality do they offer, what are the features, advantages and disadvantages of the products. Use services for analysis, for example, Serpstat, search by key queries, industry ratings, analytical reports from the venture market. Also, market research allows you to gather information about potential customers through surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.
For example, during the market research for the launch of our idea, we discovered that foreign analogues exist, but at a very high cost and it is not easy to adapt these systems to the Ukrainian market. And at the same time, they realized that there is nothing like it in Ukraine and you can safely launch a startup. Because our system will not only be able to trivially measure time and speed, but also help organize cycling competitions - from registration to instant submission of results and full information to participants and guests of the competition.
Creating a startup business plan and choosing a financing program
First of all, you need to draw up a business plan. It is the foundation of your business and a road map on how to structure, manage and grow your new business. And it is also your tool to convince people that cooperation or investment in your company is a smart choice. When drawing up a plan, consider all the key elements of your business:
- industry and target market;
- competitive offer;
- a detailed description of the use of funds - how and for what;
- financial forecasts;
- marketing, sales and customer interaction channels;
- cost structure;
- income streams.
A business plan will help you determine how much money you will need to start a business. If you do not have this amount, you will have to choose the best option for financing a startup.
Gather a team for a startup
Build the organizational structure of the company, preferably in two ways:
- The first is the minimum viable model: the team needed to start. It can consist of several people, for example: developers, one manager and marketer, several other specialists - this is enough to test the business model.
- The second is what the company will be like in a year. New positions are usually added to the starting structure.
If you need to develop an IT product for a startup, you should hire an IT company that has all the necessary employees: analyst, UI/UX designer, frontend and backend developer, QA, project manager. For 12 years, the Golden Team has been creating products for startups from different countries in the medical, social, economic, cultural and entertainment fields. We are ready to offer you the most modern technologies, unique ideas and solutions - contact us for a free consultation.
Create a minimum viable product (MVP) to launch a startup
Avoid an all-or-nothing approach, MVP starts from the ground up. Make a list of all the features and capabilities you plan to implement. Then prioritize: let 1-2 features be key, 3-4 additional but not required, and a separate list of features that can wait. The development of MVP allows you to properly organize the budget and direct part of the investment to the marketing and branding of the startup.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, admit it and rework your MVP – don’t let failure demotivate you. For example, we created a second version of our product because during testing we encountered the fact that the first one does not work as intended - we will tell you more about this later.
Before launching the product, it is necessary to make sure that it works well, quickly, clearly, according to the plan and that users do not expect an unpleasant experience. And here the most important test is "in the field", that is, work in real conditions.
Our startup was tested in several stages. First - in the office. We tried to simulate the conditions that may arise during the competition, take into account various situations: the number of participants, speed of movement, weather, etc. In the office, the system worked perfectly. But as soon as we went outside, where the competitions usually take place, the inspection failed. But the team did not give up, analysed the mistakes and made a second version of the MVP. We gave it to athletes for testing - and it showed better results.
Announce the MVP of the world
Before you can start selling your product or service, you need to build a brand, spread the word and gain followers. We have collected a few tips for you, what exactly you can do for this:
- Start marketing 4-8 months before the release, promote the idea and the upcoming product on social networks.
- Partner with major conferences in your field, present the project at events.
- Use social media platforms and industry blogs to spread the word about your new business.
- Publish a press release about the launch of the project in the mass media.
- Create a startup website, set up search engine optimization. Run a corporate blog, publish at least one useful and interesting article every week.
- Use personal contacts.
Analysis of the first results
After quickly launching your startup, collect and analyse data based on key metrics to investigate its performance and address weaknesses:
- the number of registrations and users, their dynamics;
- how many people use the paid version;
- conversion rate;
- most and least used features;
- customer retention and churn rate;
- daily and monthly users;
- average time spent on the site.
In addition to quantitative metrics, also use qualitative indicators to get emotional and detailed feedback. To do this, talk to users about their experience. Be sure to ask "How would you feel if you could no longer use the product?". And offer options for answers - I will be very disappointed, a little disappointed, not disappointed (rarely use), no longer use the product/service.
Development and scaling of a startup
After the test period, elimination of shortcomings, you can proceed to scaling. As part of growth, you can:
- expand to new regions, build a network;
- to look for new target consumers;
- expand product offerings;
- implement innovations;
- improve products;
- improve interaction with customers;
- optimize business models.
- grow the team and create a strong company culture;
- improve the marketing strategy.
For 12 years, the Golden Team has helped many startups create successful products. For many companies, we implement technological solutions that are now successfully working and developing. We understand the specifics of creating and testing an MVP, so we save you from unnecessary moves and offer only the most necessary to get started - to save you time and money. So if you have an idea and are wondering how to start your business, contact us.