What advice do two ex-Google employees have for anyone interested in starting their own business?
Andrew First and Momchil Kyurkchiev are the founders of Leanplum, a mobile app with investment capital of $17.2 million, that makes A/B testing a breeze. Read their map to success and get ideas on how to start your own business!
1. Settle on an idea which you want to develop
First of all you need to find what you want to work with. Ideally, it should be something that you love, but also be lucrative. Find inspiration in your own life and professional experience. Try to identify a problem or a need of something and think of ways to alleviate it.
2. Find a good partner
It is important to have a co-founder, who shares your own passion and dedication for the company. It could be one of your current co-workers or someone you met at a seminar, who has the same mindset as you, but not necessarily the same skills and know-how, thus being a valuable potential contribution to the project.
3. Find an incubator
By joining an accelerator program, you and your partner would be able to meet a lot of like-minded entrepreneurs and receive mentoring as well as feedback on your idea. The contacts you create can be very valuable for the later stages of your company’s lifecycle.
4. Talk to you potential clients
Figure out who your target market is and investigate their needs. Do that by meeting with them and asking them all the important questions that can make or break a new product e.g. if they recognize the need of your product; if they have any ideas for improvement; if they would pay for it.
5. Create a prototype
Following the previous point, when interacting with your clients, it is best to have a prototype to show. If what you are working on is a concept, make sure to be concrete when explaining what need it fulfills, what the benefits are and go through all the formalities around the development process.
6. Be persistent
In the early stages of starting up a new business, you would probably have to play the role of a seller for your product. The sales process can be very discouraging and for this reason you need to be persistent, believe in your product and let your passion show.
7. Be aggressive
Use all the channels you can think of to reach investors and potential clients. Spare no effort because everything depends on you. Social media, e-mails and personal promotion are just a few ways to put yourself out there and generate some brand awareness.
Finding the funding for your project can also be very discouraging. Fortunately, nowadays there are many places you can go to. Regional development programs, crowdfunding and angel investors are proven methods of financing a startup. It all comes down to how good your idea is and how well you promote it.
9. Create a company culture
When you reach the stage where you need to find your first employees, remember to go through your network of acquaintances, ex-colleagues and friends. Look for specialists and inspire them to believe in your cause.
10. Open an office in Bulgaria
The two savvy entrepreneurs advise anyone who is looking for young talented specialists (especially in the IT and other technical industries) to give Bulgaria a try. The costs are relatively low compared to Western Europe while the educational system produces a highly qualified labour pool.
If you had the intention to start your own business, hopefully this article has brought some clarity as to what the process looks like and scattered any irrational worries you might have had.