Before a business starts to go well, even experienced entrepreneurs sometimes forget about the aspects that can move their startup to the next level and help them find the resources for further development of the company.
Here’s some advice, prepared by the participants and mentors of infoShare Startup Zone powered by STARTER, that any startuper having product software and hardware should remember.
Startup tips – Start with an idea!
Paul Graham from Y Combinator once said: â€œMake something people want!â€ This phrase could be a motto for the creators of startups. An interesting project satisfies a need and usually does not duplicate existing schemes, but it can improve them or relate to them. In what way? There are many examples of businesses that rely on a similar business model, but they differ in something important: manner of sales, functions, manner of customer service, offer, compared to the competition. This makes a potential customer notice them, and distinguish them from among other similar businesses.
A sales model or innovative offer are not enough. An innovative idea provides the user with a new quality of life, it makes it easier, fills a gap and is the answer to a particular problem.
Mateusz Ojdowski from Movade, a company constructing mobile solutions, advises young entrepreneurs who plan their own business to verify their ideas and seek inspiration around them. It is worth to start to look around the world, to think about what works and what doesn’t so that it can be improved. Finally, the best ideas are those which are useful and practically says Mateusz Ojdowski.
Kamil Åukasiewicz from Everytap, co-creator of an application (software) that is available even in Guatemala, based on new Beacons technology (hardware) highlights that thinking about your own business almost always translates to thinking about solving a particular problem.
If a given project is to succeed, it must bring a specific value. It’s hard to start anything without having in mind a specific purpose other than earning millions of coins – adds Kamil Åukasiewicz.
Look for inspiration
Where to look for inspiration? There are numerous examples, it’s enough to notice the need and find a way to provide for it. Literature, blogs, business meetings (startup events, business events, social media) – these are just some of the possible sources of inspiration. It is important to actively explore them, to be active within the industry to which we aspire.
According to Piotr Bucki, a business coach, expert in marketing communication and public speeches, what counts is to acquire knowledge, which can be most effectively acquired from the wiser. When constructing a business idea, you shouldn’t simply follow Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, or Brian Acton, the father of WhatsApp. – Career cannot be based on CRL+C CRL+V. You have to find your own path and follow it, but do not be afraid of twists and turns that provide information which way to follow in order to start your own business says Piotr Bucki.
Build a team and work on the project
Guy Kawasaki, an entrepreneur from the Silicon Valley and author of numerous publications for startupers, rightly notes that coming up with an idea is easy. What is the real difficulty is the implementation, putting an idea into practice, transforming it into a business.
It is not a mystery that hard work is essential in order to start building a startup. – Building a business is a marathon, it’s a long term investment. No one will earn millions tomorrow or the day after. It takes time. Building a product, gaining a good position on the market, attracting first customers, remaining in the minds of potential customers it takes months and sometimes even years of hard, tedious work – warns Karol Zielinski, the founder of Squidility and PayLane, provider of online payments for e-business. It is difficult to gain interest of the investors without presenting the results, statistics, financial performance, and not just the vision and capabilities. – Even the best idea if not implemented is worth exactly zero – concludes Piotr Bucki.
The beginnings of building a startup are often associated with working overtime, or even lack of measurable financial returns from the idea. However, the motivation and mission is sometimes insufficient to create a unique quality. A well-skilled, open-minded team, sharing a common idea is also of high significance. The worst solution for a startup is to gather people with the same skills. This approach rules out design flexibility says Kamil Åukasiewicz.
Talk about the idea and gather feedback
There are some who keep on postponing implementation of an idea. Some keep on gathering the team, even though it is already large enough and knowledgeable enough so as to begin to build a prototype design. Others need financial support, an investor in order to realize their ideas, although there are no proofs that it is worthwhile to invest in the project. – in Poland I, often encounter people who are unwilling to reveal their plans, which arises from the fear of competition. Whereas, the more discussions on the ideas you make, the better the final result says Kamil Åukasiewicz.
Without talking about the idea, you can’t establish a team, nor can you find an investor, who will be interested with those who come with a ready-made, already operating project, and not with a vision. Moreover, sharing your idea makes it possible to collect feedback. Just participate in one important event that brings together industry insiders, experts, such as infoShare Startup Zone powered by STARTER to verify your business idea, get valuable tips how to improve it or advice which path to follow.
In the course of some meetings within the industry you can talk to mentors who will advise on what is worth considering in further activities related to the construction of a startup. – Imagine this: you’re working on your project for a long time, you devise different scenarios when sitting in a tram, you come up with new solutions while falling asleep, however, when washing your teeth you decide that these solutions were wrong … One thing is certain you have lost distance to your project. Meetings with people from the outside, the possibility of colliding your ideas with similar ones, talking to someone who will look at your idea from a different point of view – it always refreshes your mind – suggests Thomas Okulicz from Engine.
And there are lots of possibilities: speed date, meetings with mentors, industry meetings, conversations with investors, conferences and contests for startups, which combine the idea of deriving knowledge from mentors, networking and the possibility of making an investor interested in your idea.
Show your startup
It is worth to present yourself, which also means to attend conferences (not only these within the industry but also general, business-related), to have a booth at the fair, compete in contests, show your project. A great example is CTAdventure, the author of Professor Why, a groundbreaking, Polish educational game using Augmented Reality. Its creators, who had not participated in other competitions before, took part in the Startup Contest, the competition for the title of the best at infoShare Startup Zone powered by STARTER. This is where they won first place, the recognition of the public and investors and established important business contacts while networking. Next, they won CTAdventure in national preliminary competitions to Creative Business Cup organized by STARTER, and then they achieved a great success on the international stage first place in the world final of the competition.
– The distinction won abroad and appreciation of the Polish project was of huge importance to us! Decision to take part in the national competition of Creative Business Cup opened the door to development on international markets and created an opportunity to recognize the great potential of Polish startup by global brands – says Mateusz Marmowski.
Attract the attention of investors
It is worth to look for investors at the above mentioned industry events. They often participate in competitions as a jury or watch presentations of startups. How to convince them to appreciate your idea? – The most important thing is to present the basic facts. You need to clearly present your idea, to show what has already been done and show clear plans for development. Investors buy visions and dreams, but only these that are well supported – suggests Kamil Åukasiewicz.
During presentations, you should be prepared in terms of the presented material, statistics, analyzes and possible questions. – First, answer the question why is your startup the best and why should it win. Secondly, try to look at your startup objectively, without emotion, from the position of the other person. Thirdly, seek help, inspiration and support from other units, such as Gdansk STARTER. Learn about the events which you should attend and do not delay. This could be the beginning of a great adventure and scalable business says Mateusz Marmoowski.
Those who are willing to try their hand at Startup Contest, to present themselves, to acquire knowledge, can still – until May 4, apply to this year’s infoShare Startup Zone powered by STARTER. The main prize is 20 000 euro in cash, and for the best startups, investors offer a total amount of 1 000 000 euro in investments!