There are many opinions and methods for getting started and as a new entrepreneur, these opinions can and will sound good. So the question really comes down to, which startup methodology do you choose? Do you create your own, just wing it, Lean Startup and the list goes on. To add to the confusion, sometimes depending on the type of startup you are creating to the method or common practice for getting off the ground will be different. So, if many methodologies will apply similar practices, then how does one choose? So we are back to where we started, which method or practice do you choose?
First off, you need to identify what type of company you will be creating and research your industry. If you do your research you will prepare yourself for many obstacles to come. You will also notice that many startups today just hop into business without doing their due diligence. Example, I was on AngelList.com a little more than a half a year ago and I was applying for a job. Before I ever applied to a company I would do a little background check or so-called, “digging” on the company, what it does and its founders. I found so many companies that appeared like they had a good idea but just by doing a simple competitive analysis one could find that there were preexisting companies that are doing similar things that already have a foot in the market.
Now, I’m not saying that one should ever give up just because there is a similar product already out. Competition is great and is what drives our country. However, looking at the products from an outside standpoint as a user, I had no driving reason to switch from an existing product to the new one. No wow factor. Simply doing your research can help you prevent this problem and create your Wow factor before its too late.
Second, which best practice or method for creating your company do you use? As discussed before there are many options so let’s address a few of them. One of the more common ones is the “Lean Startup” approach. This approach literally walks you through how to create your company and how to prevent some of the more common pitfalls that many companies come to face. It talks about building, measuring, learning, developing an MVP and so on. (You read more about it here: http://theleanstartup.com/principles). This practice is also taught at many college and master level courses, as I can speak from experience. I was taught this in an Entrepreneur class at FAU for my Master’s degree. As I believe in this practice there are so many people that have repackaged the Lean Startup methodology to their own and claim they have found the secret, which is a joke. On the other hand, you have people who have started multiple companies and used the same practices and they share what they did to be successful. Of course, there are the two other methods, just wing it or throw money at it. Both of which are stupidly reckless and generally lead to nothing good.
So getting started. By doing your due diligence you have already avoided many pitfalls. This means researching the market, your competitors, industry analysis, trending reports and everything else you can possibly think of. Always be prepared is an understatement. Be two steps ahead of the game and you will never be surprised. Reading up and addressing issues that are mentioned in the Lean Startup Methodology you will once again avoid many issues that a large number of people and companies run into.
Finding the right co-founders and team. Your team and co-founder/s are everything and sometimes can make the difference of getting an investor or VC Firm on board with your company. Your team represents you in every way, pick and choose your team wisely and strategically. That does not mean wait forever (not literally) until you find the best person for the job, but sometimes the most passionate and driven people are the right choice. Finding the brightest and most skilled people for your company might be hard to come by. However, finding someone who shares your vision and can relate to your dream or goals that has half the talent is better at times.
Once in the workplace many people say and practice the open door policy. I am a firm believer in this. This does not mean that you can not have a conference room with a door that can close. However, this means having little to no offices, and those that have an office keep the door open, as one can assume from the name. This allows each person to always relate back to a team psyche. This also allows every individual to feel just as important as the one beside them. It also makes the CEO/Founder/s one of the team.
Keeping a good workflow in the office. There is a fine line between having fun and having fun while being productive. I feel that this is a rather obvious one and I do not need to explain. That said, as a CEO/Founder of the company, when the company remains small things can and most likely will remain rather subtle and you are not seen as the “BOSS”. However, when getting into the 20 plus employee count, the CEO/Founder generally will become marked the “BOSS”. The relationship in the office space can and will hopefully remain the same if one is true to their beliefs and business practice, but one has to make sure that as the CEO/Founder you make sure to let your employees know that you are their friend, but you are their boss at the same time. That poses the questions, “would you rather be respected or feared”? Why? Be sure to keep both in mind and make your decision wisely as there is no right choice and it is a personal one at that.
I will blog again to complete the rest of the Best Practices for Creating a Startup Company. Be sure to check out my site SeanSullivan.Co for my blog and about me.
I am always looking to get involved with new startups, tech or really anything innovative! Feel free to connect or contact me for any reason.