So you have a startup idea, what’s next?

Earlier this week I was talking to an entrepreneur that has a startup idea, but is having a hard time making progress. Naturally, he’s intently focused on raising money and believes cash from investors will solve the problems. While cash from investors would help with building his idea in its current form, it doesn’t validate a need in the market. In fact, demonstrating authentic demand would significantly help convince investors to invest.

So, what’s next? The recommended next step is to read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. From the book blurb:

The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively.  Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want.

Some startup ideas need a go-forward-at-all-costs approach because the market doesn’t know what they want. The vast, vast majority of startup ideas are better off going the “validated learning” approach where the entrepreneur starts with a thesis, works to get ideas and input from potential customers in an unaided fashion (don’t lead the witness!), and then iterates from there.

With an idea and a vision, the next step is to validate it.

What else? What are some more thoughts on what to do next when you have a startup idea?

2 thoughts on “So you have a startup idea, what’s next?

  1. Interesting, so we took the go-forward-at-all-costs approach. The MVP came out great, DAU’s are solid, retention is at 40% coming back the same week. The real problem of the go-forward-at-all-costs approach is right here: “Your product will need a major redesign at some point”. Don’t give out much equity in the first iteration, you’ll need it.

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