Just like humans go through different life stages, every entrepreneur does at the beginning of their projects. The founder of Startup Genome, Max Marmer displays six phases startups go through. As an entrepreneur it is important to know how to handle these phases in the right way.
First of all you should concern yourself with the question how you want to change the world. Research into a problem and find the best solution for potential user and clients who might have interest in your idea. Beside stock this phase requires something that is called the minimum viable product (MVP). This means that a new product is pared down to a minimal version. Nevertheless this version should be that developed, that at least it can be released. After figuring out if the product goes down well with the public, the set of features can be completed.
A world-famous concern which applied this method, is the file hosting service Dropbox. Their MVP was a video in which they portrayed their service and the appearance it would have. With this strategy the company gained already in the initial phase 75.000 users.
It is a hard step to go from a hypothetical solution to a real product, which are people willing to actually pay for. Therefore at this stage is no way around to invest money to measure, if the public approves your project. Especially technological companies are doing this for crowdfunding campaigns. For instance the smartwatch Pebble made 10 million Dollar with its Kickstarter campaign. As the people wanted the smartwatch, they were willing to spend their money on it.
The best way to successfully overcome the third phase is to:
You have to analyse characteristics and nearly everything that is about the startup such as market, clients and more on. Further you will find the right business model, accommodated on the environment. Above all the designated target is to increase your customer base.
Now it’s time for larger fundraising rounds. You have to be ready to fight with your product in international markets. Push your startup to the limit and become international like Airbnb and Uber did. Fundraising rounds of over $ 1 billion in the first case made this possible. As a result people all over the world are using Airbnb and Uber.
After reaching other markets through large fundraising rounds, you have to concentrate on keeping your project up. Just because you have already been successful does not mean that you are finished yet. There is still a lot of work to do.
At the last phase your business model is already working or at least reliable. You have successfully internationalised your company with funding. But the question is, what comes now? Either you sell your startup to a giant like Google, Facebook and Co. or you go public. You have to constantly renew your products and be always up-to-date in order to consist on the dynamic market.
A lot of young entrepreneurs underestimate the process of startups. Since startups tend to scale early, a lot of beginners screw it up. As mentioned previously, scaling is the fourth stage of startups. After your minimum viable product is matured and the core features of your products are developed, it is time for customer acquisition. The most important stage before scaling is efficiency. Because the right business model will initiate further steps.
Moreover scaling includes a product that is so well-elaborated, that the whole team is able to replicate it. As a result it does not even matter if you as a founder are present.
Basically there are three main mistakes that screw up scaling:
Do not hire too many people, specialists or managers too early. Considering the data, the team size of startups that scale prematurely pretends to be three times as big as other startups at the same stadium. Therefore you should stay focussed on your product and on the hiring process. Keep your circle small at the beginning. It is better to figure out if your employees fit in your company, than investing too many money in people who are not necessary.
Another defining feature of premature scaling is overbuilding. Do not put too many features in your product. At first you should focus on one or two main features before adding others. Test your product on users and make it better step for step.
Premature scaling often includes spending too many unnecessary money on growing the business. The pressure of succeeding and growing can make the startup insecure and undisciplined. Startups with too much capital tend to overhire, overbuild and of course to overspend. Before you start looking for funds, you should think twice about it if you really need it.
All things considered, scaling means to step on the gas pedal without overdoing things. Just keep your objective in view and take our hints to scale without screwing it up!