Over the course of this summer, three different high school students reached out asking for help on their entrepreneurial venture. In each case, they had an idea laid out in a document and were trying to figure out the next step. With no prototype and no prospects, it was clear what to do next.
Entrepreneurs should start small and start now. Here are a few steps:
- Customer Discovery – Meet with five new potential customers per day in person or over the phone and intimately learn what they do and don’t want in the product. Read about Customer Discovery and Lean Startups.
- Prototype a Product – Teach yourself how to build a prototype product using Codecademy and constantly refine it with potential customer input.
- Entrepreneur Books and Blogs – Start with three of my favorite books and read new entrepreneur blogs every day for five years.
- Executive Summary – Put everything down into a two-page executive summary. This document should be revised constantly and used as a communication tool for potential advisors, mentors, and investors.
- One Page Strategic Plan – Create a Simplified One Page Strategic Plan to outline both tactical and strategic imperatives as well as metrics. This should be updated quarterly, if not more frequently.
Anyone with a laptop and internet connection can follow this process and get started. Everything starts small — the difference is that entrepreneurs start now.
What else? What are some more thoughts on entrepreneurs starting small and starting now?