The Bam Creative team have been deep into the Perth startup world for quite some time. We created our first startup in 2005, and have built a number of products or side projects ever since.
It’s likely you may have had some insight into the Perth startup scene, and boy, is it buzzing! If anything, now is a better time than ever in history, to roll up your sleeves and consider creating a startup.
Before you do though, here are six thoughts of mine that you should consider before you spend a cent or a wasted weekend.
Try to solve a problem
The best startups getting the most traction are the ones that are solving a problem for their customers.
Google helps people find their way across the Internet. Uber helps people get from A to B with mobile-first convenience. AirBNB helps people find accommodation in cities they are travelling to, in a way that is more authentic than a hotel room. All of these examples are solving problems.
Look around you; are people experiencing a problem that you could solve through the innovative use of technology? Getting meals delivered, getting accommodation at the last minute, getting office paper delivered, arranging flowers for a friend; these are all tasks made easier by startups.
Understand the lean methodology
The concept of doing as little as possible, before getting customer validation, and then only exerting effort as required at various stages is fantastic. No more trillion dollars down the drain, or six months of evenings being wasted.
This page, The Lean Startup Methodology, explains it really well. I highly recommend that you buy and read the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, founder of the Lean Startup movement before you take another step.
Customer validation is the most important step
You’ve got your idea down on paper, now it’s time to find out if it will float. Pick up the phone or hit the pavement, and ask your potential customers. You want to ask people you don’t know too well. I find when I raise crazy ideas with close colleagues, they always want to impress me, so they tell me it’s great – you want to find people who are willing to tell you the truth, even if it hurts.
For example, I called a couple of clients two years ago, when we were building the idea that became 6Q. I asked them how they currently get insights into their employees and was it a productive use of their time. I asked questions about the value of understanding how their people feel, and how important company culture is to their organisations.
This helped shape where 6Q is, and how we approached building it. In fact, I penned an article on Startup Smart about our first day of creating 6Q.
Read everything you can
There are a million different websites, blogs, podcasts and forums full of great knowledge and advice. I highly recommend that you find some and absorb everything you can. Why go about all of this, without first seeing where others have walked before you?
Startup life can be tough
Television and movies like Shark Tank or The Social Network seem to make out that you have an idea, money starts falling out of the skies, and before you know it, you are insanely rich.
Startup life is typically not like that at all. There are plenty of quotes out there showing that 8 out of 10 startups fail in the first year. Whilst I think a large percentage of those just gave up emotionally, it’s worth contemplating.
Are you willing to put in lots of hard effort? I’m talking evenings in front of code, weekends on calls to other time zones, and constantly second-guessing everything you are doing? The emotional rollercoaster for founders of startups is real. Here’s a humorous take on it that I posted recently on my personal blog.
Marketing is king
The most successful startups understand that having an innovative product is one thing, yet it’s completely another to get it into the hands of your prospective buyers. How you portray yourself and your brand is vital to growth.
That’s why companies such as ours exist. We do this for a living, so you don’t have to.
We work with a number of Western Australian startups, on building demand, optimizing the purchase or upgrade flow, testing emails and landing pages to get the best traction, social media management, and planning – even just mentoring founders on what they should be putting their focus into.
So, before starting off on the path to startup success, remember these six key points;
- Try to solve a problem
- Understand the lean methodology
- Do customer validation
- Read as much as you can
- Realise it isn’t all easy going
- Have a great marketing person behind you
Best of luck with any new venture you may undertake!