I received a notification on Quora asking “What are the steps to be followed for creating a successful startup?”, so I figured I throw in my two cents. Although there are multiple ways to tackle a problem, you should always be asking, “Who will use this product if I were to build it and charge a fee?” This is no easy question to answer, and sometimes difficult to discover. Few certain things are making sure your market is validated, being agile and having the patience of a saint. From what I have seen and preached, I would first:
1. Research the market
Build a research campaign to analyze the market’s pain point is, substitution to the space, current alternatives and target market. Combine both primary and secondary research methodologies to optimize one’s raw, unbiased data. When gathering data, be unbiased and neutral third person as to get the purest form of information. Tainted data may lead to incorrect conclusions and force you to go back to the drawing board. Upon receiving the data, draw insights from it, then find implications. Data → Insights → Implications
**Note: data is useless unless you're able to connect the dots to make it relevant for you.
2. Develop the value proposition
After conducting the initial market research, sit with the team or by yourself if you’re riding solo, and see where the opportunity lies. I suggest using business model canvas, lean model canvas or lean machine validation for this.
Business Model Canvas
Lean Model Canvas
Lean Machine Validation
Take any of the frameworks, and blow right through it. There aren’t many differences between the Lean Business Canvas and the Business Model Canvas. However, the Lean Startup Machine Validation Board is about validating the market which you should have done from the first bullet in this article. Don’t forget to check the instructions for each canvas as to ensure you’re doing it correctly.
3.) Understand the market prior to development
In this step, you’re checking to see if the solution you developed is what the market is looking for, and how to best grab their attention to stick around for the long haul. Comprehend the customers’ behavior, tone, message, attitude, etc as to build a Minimum Lovable Product. Doing this instead of MVP may yield better results if executed properly as it leads to stronger brand loyalty and advocates. Your product is going to screw up at some point, so make sure you put enough emphasis on the customer experience to lessen the negative reviews or deletion.
4. Build MLP and hype it
Start figuring out how to build the product and have someone market the hell out of it prior to launching. Better to a waitlist to buy the product during development than to launch and find people to purchase.
Let’s take Apple and Samsung for instance. When Apple is launching a product, people are hyped up and waiting in line for it whereas Samsung has to put heavy marketing dollars to get people in the doors.
5. Analyze and adjust
Don’t sit around playing on your cell phone; go see if anyone is buying your product. Figure out what is going on the net, how the product is being used on real live people and anything else you can imagine. From here, you can find enhancements, pivot, or scrapping the entire project.