Balaji Srinivasan has an excellent Startup Engineering paper titled Market Research, Wireframing, and Design that serves as a Startup 101 guide for entrepreneurs. The big idea is that starting a startup without deep thought, research, and exploration in advance is a poor way to do it. So much depends on the market, execution, and timing that more intentionality is needed upfront. From startups vs. small business to economies of scale to market sizing, there’s much more to selecting a great idea.
An excellent breakdown of the stages of the entrepreneurial journey:
|Stage||What’s required to complete?||Min Time|
|Idea||Napkin drawing of billion dollar concept||1 minute|
|Mockup||Wireframe will all user screens||1 day+|
|Prototype||Ugly hack that works for single major use case||1 weekend+|
|Program||Clean code that works for all use cases, with tests||2-4 weeks+|
|Product||Design, copywriting, pricing, physical components||3-6 months+|
|Business||Incorporation, regulatory filings, payroll, …||6-12 months+|
|Profits||Sell product for more than it costs you to make it||1 year+++|
Srinivasan then takes the reader through ways to do market research using Google’s Keyword Planner and Facebook’s Advertiser Tools combined with landing pages, ads, and SEO. So much of what previously was guessing and gut checks can now be assessed and analyzed fairly quickly. Again, entrepreneurs should do the work before choosing an idea haphazardly.
Finally, the author goes through how to think about pricing and packaging, wireframing, copywriting, and design — all critical elements that traditionally don’t get enough attention.
Part high level strategy and part tactical ideas, every entrepreneur that isn’t already scaling their business should go read Market Research, Wireframing, and Design.