Startup Journey: How To Launch Your Company From Idea To Market

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Got an idea for a startup? Great! But how do you get from this first phase to actually launching it? Here are tips to take into account on your journey!

In the effort to follow their creative instinct, people can have amazing ideas but the 99% is actually unprepared to catch the most decisive moment, which is to be able to understand when and how turning an awesome intuition into concrete action. Deciding to become a startupper is essentially an “all-in” option that not everyone is willing to take and this is why the startup community is made of courageous people, mostly in their 30ies but even younger, who decide to commit themselves to bring their creative initiatives to life, with considerable sacrifices in terms of life changes, money and time. As a matter of fact, the ability to scale up very quickly remains the real challenge that young startuppers face on their way to success.

Steps To Go From “I Would” To “I Do”

According to its most generic definition, a startup must be innovative by heart in a perspective of development, validation and research. To make this concept easier to digest, especially for the youthful European community made up of potential startuppers, we can easily see it as a process which relies on five words: Idea, Product, Team, Execution and Finance.

Coming up with an awesome idea is indeed the first important step. In order to catch the widest target, this idea should be concentrated on an exploding market. This is the case of GLIX, a startup created by Sara Spadafora, who invented a personal shopper service focusing on the virtual urban clothing revolution and intercepting the possibilities provided by the vastly expanding online shopping market. Sara perceived that to be able to reach the widest target, an idea should also be easy to explain and hard to replicate, in order to allow the startup growing its initial market share and regular expand.

Startup Keywords: #Idea #Product #Team #Execution And #Finance

But this is not enough to let the journey begin: startuppers must focus on great products. And what is the peculiar feature of something GREAT? Just think about the greatest products you typically use: Perhaps your cell-phone. Or your favourite online food catering service. They are genuinely simple and user-friendly. Although the product itself could be the result of a complicated process, the user must love it for the simplicity of its approach. For this reason, great products also have to be a source of feedback from users for potential improvements, in order to allow the startupper to guarantee a continuous product’s evolution. Additionally, solid teams are an indispensable feature for scaling up. This is a basic requirement not just circumscribed to the world of startups, but to every kind of business. Because an idea can emerge from one person’s mind, but an individual cannot be able to implement the entire process on their own. A team made up of complementary talents is therefore essential for taking over. Most importantly, these individuals should also be controlled egos, in order to avoid contrasts and allow for the enforcement of a smooth management of the actions.

Last but not least, teams should clearly stay 100% focused on the expansion of their startup, without fooling around. How about with the enforcement of a remarkable execution? See Francesca Marchini at Eattiamo, a fresh startup able to deliver local Italian food from more than eighty local producers everywhere in the world through an online platform. What allows Francesca to set long-term perspectives for Eattiamo? Having clear objectives is the first step for a valid execution plan and arranging a shared roadmap for the future of the company, with durable perspectives based on an increasing number of transactions and potential integration with other internet platforms, such as Amazon or ebay. A visual planning is therefore the stepping-stone for the definition of the critical milestones guiding the overall process of business growth.

An All-In Option That Not Everyone Is Willing To Take

If validating the initial idea through surveys, story balls, benchmarking and market analyses is one of the first steps to get access to the market, startuppers should then come out with an alpha version, which must be the first prototype to monetize their intuition. To finance the startup idea for the first funding needs, they can consider bootstrapping, their network of friends and family or the so called business angels, who can fall in love with the idea and consequently invest in the business idea in exchange of an equity share. However, having the necessary support is essential and a startup can decide to join an acceleration program at a private incubator/accelerator for a fixed term, which offers a cohort-based program with a series of services, contacts as well as a small investment. Alternative sources of support include various kinds of public funding, furthermore EU grants and crowdfunding are also becoming an increasingly growing source for young startups.

I recently listened to Michelangelo Ravagnan, a brilliant startupper and founder of Antlos, the “Airbnb” for sailboats; after an incubation period and relevant investments, his startup now provides an online peer-to-peer service for idyllic sailing escapes around the world. Michelangelo explained how scaling up was crucial at first to make the startup become more visible. For him as well, this was an “all-in” option, which forced him to sell everything he had, to renounce to his full-time occupation and last but not least, to find the necessary networking support.

As a matter of fact, launching a startup is not a diversion. It is indeed a drastic life-changing decision, which needs to tap your energies in order to grow your network and let you become cool, visible and trustworthy. Michelangelo explained that his perseverance and patience were the essential assets that allowed him to concretize his intuition. As a matter of fact, what is really a startup, if not just a state of mind? Startuppers, don’t feel discouraged at any stage of your creative process!



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Photo credit: Julián Santacruz via / CC BY

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