A great team
About a year ago, I started thinking along these lines: “We’re doing all this incredible work for our clients, and literally building people’s dreams! We help them to be successful by creating something from nothing. We’re so good at developing and managing meaningful projects for others (and we absolutely love it!). But if all that’s true, why aren’t we building similarly meaningful projects for ourselves in the same way?”
Building for others
Have you ever felt that way? You are an outstanding service company or an awesome manager and you love what you do. But you suddenly realise that in the end all your hard work comes down to is managing someone else’s project on their behalf. Building great things for them, making their dreams come true, yes, but at the end of the day, when the work for the client is done you don’t have anything left to call your own. You don’t own the projects you’ve built and all you have to show for your effort is the experience you’ve gained.
As a company we found that this idea began to weigh down on us, so we decided that it was time to start creating for ourselves and to treat our personal projects just as diligently and professionally as we treat our clients’ projects. So we declared: “It’s time to birth some startups! It’s time to create and build something great for ourselves!”
Want to start creating for yourself?
If you’re good at creating or managing for others, then maybe it’s time to consider doing the same things for yourself? I’d like to share with you about our approach and how we started to create awesome things for ourselves and make our dreams come true, just as we do for our clients. Whether you’re a company or an individual, what we will discuss here can be applied to anyone who really wants it. A small proviso though: you have to be passionate about the idea of building something that will last and which others will get benefit from. We’ve chosen this direction and already it’s producing fruit. We anticipate a lot more ahead and a lot more challenges too, but this article is designed to briefly look back on where we’ve been so far and encourage you to make some of those same steps to startup success.
So how do I start?
First things first, you need an idea. A fresh, innovative, world changing concept that’ll carry your dream to success and set you off on your startup journey. Right? A lot of people seem to think that way. That coming up with a groundbreaking idea is the first step you need to take before you can even begin moving in the direction of startups. But in reality there are very few DaVinci’s out there, sitting in their office coming up with incredible original concepts. For the large majority of entrepreneurs this is not the right way of thinking.
The winning way
In fact, the winners of the startup world are not people who just have an idea randomly stray into their heads, instead it’s people who make a decision to move in a particular direction, and then stay true to that decision. Often they don’t have any specific idea or even the means of getting where they want when they make that decision. They think about it. They talk about it. They look for opportunities. They take steps in the direction they want to go in and then they keep doing it until an idea is born. Then they can get to work on the actual implementation process.
So the number one step for you is to make the decision. To make a declaration that you as an individual or as a company will build something for yourself and then stick to this decision and work at it until you have an idea you can use.
What comes next?
You’ve committed to your aspiration to build startups. You’ve backed this decision up with action, actively seeking and trying out different ideas. You’ve finally come up with something that you like, which you think has the potential to really go somewhere. Where do you go from here?
The voice of experience
This is where Ekreative comes into it’s own. Over the last 5 years we’ve served hundreds of clients and built over a hundred different mobile apps, almost half of which were themselves startups. In addition we’ve worked closely alongside dozens of those startups helping them to transform their big idea into a technical reality. This has allowed us to accumulate an incredible volume of experience and get a great deal of insight into the do’s and don’ts of successful startups. Let me share a few of those insights with you now.
Validating the idea that you’ve had is the right next step in most cases. Validating it with experienced startuppers who already have some first hand knowledge of what’s worked before and what hasn’t, would be ideal! When we validate ideas for our internal projects we’re not afraid to be honest with ourselves and the same applies to dealing with our customers. Discussing your ideas with others is a crucial stage. It’s preferable to cover a range of different demographics, but among them you should definitely include voices of experience. If this is the stage you’re at, feel free to reach out and talk to us about your ideas. We give free consultations and will tell you honestly what we think based on our experience of seeing some startups take off while others fail.
So that’s our prescription for step #2 – discuss your idea with others (as many as possible), but make sure you have a few authorities of the “been there, done that” kind, who can give you valuable first hand advice.
Minimum Viable Product
Once you’ve validated your idea, you’re really passionate about it and you want to get on with the next step, what should you do? You need to make an MVP. Maybe you feel that I’m setting the targets too low? Why make a Minimum Viable Product, when you want to maximise the potential of your idea, reaching as many people as possible?! You’ve got the approval of experts, friends, mom and dad, everyone says it’s a great concept! Unfortunately, this is the stage where most great ideas get buried. There’s so much passion to create an amazing product and so many great feature ideas that the workload becomes enormous and many an otherwise success worthy idea runs out of either momentum or funding in the process of trying to realise the product.
Avoid this key mistake!
Actually there are a lot of other reasons why making and releasing an MVP first is a sound decision. I’ll talk some more about the reasons for and process of making MVP’s in a future post, for now though it’s enough to understand that at this early stage it’s actually best to try and hold our passion for the product in for a little bit longer, build an MVP and get it on the market. Once it’s released, then comes the time to let the passion flow, to implement extra features, snazzy extras and our vision for the long run of the product, but only after the MVP step. Even then, it’s best to phase in new features gradually and not try to do everything at once. Please don’t make the mistake of trying to squeeze everything possible into the first version of your product!
There’s a lot more I could say on each of these points, but in short, that’s the bottom line – do the MVP and get on the market. That’s your step #3.
There are a lot of nuances at every step of building any project. If you’ve already done great stuff for others, you probably already know that. As long as you understand and follow the process, have the right people by your side and they are actually involved and working on your project, those nuances will be covered and the end result will be great. These then are the 3 steps we discussed that would take you from a manager to an owner, or to take your company from being service-based to being product-based:
Step #1 – decide to create a startup of your own and don’t let go of that decision.
Step #2 – take the best ideas that you’ve come up with and discuss them with the experts.
Step #3 – build an MVP and go to market.
If you have any questions and want to use the opportunity to chat with no obligation, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk some more!