Startup Basics Part 1: How To Build a Startup

The goal of this article is to get you from knowing nothing about a startup to having a working framework to understand what you’re doing to potentially get a successful company going. The goal of this articles series is to condense a large amount of information into quickly absorbable chunks so the reader can go from not knowing what they don't know to knowing what they don't know. From there it should be much easier to do more focused research to fill gaps in your knowledge.

What is a Startup?

To make it simple, I’ll define it as such: “A business that is young, unprofitable, with little to no revenue. These businesses generally look to grow quickly through the use of technology”. Some people may disagree, but we are just getting you going here.

How Do I Start a Startup?

Conceptually, starting a startup is simple to understand:

  1. Come up with an idea/product
  2. Gather a Founding team that can do work without pay for some time
  3. Either make a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with code, or provide a service manually to gain some revenue and customers
  4. Produce marketing materials to promote your idea to investors
  5. Raise money from other people
  6. Hire people to work on your idea/product or do marketing and sales if your MVP is built
  7. Expand your revenue

Some caveats:

  • Many of those steps are not mandatory, even the order can be altered
  • The process is simple to understand but potentially very hard to actually do depending on your skill set
  • Your own personal situation changes what you need to focus on. If you come from wealth, fundraising may be very simple and finding a good founding team is likely the most important part of your early success. If you know some great people with useful skills then fund raising will be your biggest hurdle.
  • Very rarely is an entrepreneur’s first company super successful.
  • You may not have the time to develop the skills you need to succeed to build your business before you run out of funding.

We’ll be going through each of these steps in this series. In Part 2 I’ll describe what you need to know about startup ideas.

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