Often I get asked how best someone can build a huge idea that they believe can make millions, my advice is always the same. What can you do today?
When you are just getting going I don’t think writing a business plan is the most important thing. It was be changing so rapidly and it will also be difficult to define the idea in a few pages that you will start to lose interest.
What I recommendation is to just start. Think of a part of the business you think is key to the value proposition and start doing it. This doesn’t even have to be online. You can start offline. In fact, I recommend you do. This way you are making sure your first customer/client interactions are face to face and they are able to give feedback you might never had considered. It also means you can be testing assumptions (this is a point I will always return to). Just do something, and you will quickly see what it is people want more of!
So, you have started now. What’s next?
Don’t keep the project private…but don’t tell everyone…
People will be able to give you different insights on the idea and perhaps direct you to some information you otherwise wouldn’t have found. This also stops you from working on something for 2 years, launching it, and then finding out no one wants it. Talk to people, get their feedback.
The counter to this is don’t shout out from the rooftops that you are working on something. I don’t say this because they might steal your idea. I say this because it just puts needless pressure on you to see out the idea. If you don’t enjoy it after a while, just leave it. You shouldn’t have to answer tho anyone.
Limit your time on the project, and sleep less
Your early stages should not make you stop delivering on your other obligations. Limit your time on the project so that your time is spent in a focussed manner. And if you still don’t have time then sleep less. If you continue with this project in the future you can believe that running your own business means less sleep. So get started and see if you can handle it. Some people prefer leaving the office at 5pm and not having to think about work anymore. No shame in that.
Do the dull stuff first
The first things you do should not include the following: design the logo, start a twitter account, get business cards, or agree on titles. These things are purely cosmetic factors in a startup at the early stages. Do what is important to the business. You need to be in it to build something big, not to look like what you are doing is cool.
Did you like it? Do you want to put in more time? What worked and what didn’t?
Make sure you aren’t going head first down the rabbit hole. If you didn’t enjoy where it went, stop and start something new.
I hope this helps – as always you can contact me on Christian@studentupstarts.com