So you have a great business idea, but don’t know how to turn it into actual startup. Use below 5 tools to kickstart your startup.
1. Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is not just an event. Think of it as a tool to verify your business idea by giving pitch to audience and then check how many people vote for you. Needless to say, Startup Weekend is one of the best places to find prospective co-founders. For non-tech entrepreneur, this is also one of the few places where you can meet tech people with startup mindset.
Now that you have some sort of founding team, but no MVP (Minimal Viable Product) yet. Use LaunchRock (or KickoffLabs) to create a simple landing page until MVP is ready. In fact, this is something you should do while you are attending Startup Weekend.
By having the landing page prior to product launch, you can examine potential of your business idea by looking at the number of people who actually signed up. At the same time, you have a mailing list of potential customers to whom you will be conducting initial email marketing, which we will discuss next.
Okay. You have successfully created a buzz amongst people and got a mailing list of hundred to thousand people. It is time to conduct initial email marketing. Why email? Because it works. People still use email as primary communication channel and it is one of the most efficient ways for businesses to reach customers. MailChimp or any similar services offer ready-to-use templates for your landing page. Make sure you briefly explain a value proposition of your product (a.k.a. what you are offering to customer) on the landing page.
Even if you are not raising money from investor, it is still advisable to have presence on AngelList. As of this writing, AngelList contributed more than $14,000,000 worth of venture capital to startups. If you are serious about making use of this service, first thing you need to do is getting the first key investor on board. He/she functions as good referral to following investors.
Let’s take a look at example of Zaarly, a Startup Weekend alumni that raised substantial amount of capital in short period of time. The company has a list of well knowns investors as well as industry celebrities. This makes other investors have a lot of confidence in the company.
5. Facebook / Twitter
Social media is the last tool to complement all above tools. Use it to communicate directly with customers, to keep them updated about your product status, and to get feedback from them.
There are lots of tricks and tweaks you can do with social media, but my simple advise is to buy Facebook Ads until you have at least 1,000 fans to your Facebook page first. This is because you cannot expect much viral effect if you have only hundreds of fans. My experience says virality starts to show somewhere around 1,000.
Next advise is to use Twitter with appropriate hash tags. For instance, using #startup tag doesn’t bring you any benefit unless you are blogging about this specific topic. Use something related to your product or content of your tweet.
That’s all for now.