How to start a startup

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InvestoGuy
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How to start a startup

Post by InvestoGuy » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:38 am

Folks:
Simple ask to the entrepreneurs on this forum. I have a idea I want to see implemented as a Startup. I don't have much money to spend on it, but I have also realized that the best way to start a startup is using someone else's money, a.k.a VCs.
What are the concrete next steps I should take to make this dream a reality.

Regards.

bourg
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by bourg » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:44 am

Good luck getting VC money with just an idea and no sales numbers! I would recommend you at least put in enough money and sweat equity to get a prototype before you approach any VCs. Do you have a patent for your idea? Otherwise what are VCs buying into? Your company isn't worth anything on just an idea and without a patent if they like the idea they can just go do it themselves without having to deal with you.

I'm not an expert here but I do watch a lot of Shark Tank! :D

bourg
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by bourg » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:46 am

My favorite entrepreneurship quote:

Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.

orlandoman
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by orlandoman » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:58 am

Look up 'Crowd Funding' this may be an option.
Subaru Ambassador in Central Florida

soccerdad12
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by soccerdad12 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:25 am

i started my company the old fashioned way. Don't make sales = don't eat. Never tried crowd sourcing but have heard alot about http://www.kickstarter.com/.

Good luck!

freebeer
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by freebeer » Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:54 am

Essential reading:

http://www.amazon.com/Startup-Owners-Ma ... 613&sr=1-1

Steve's website and his colleague Eric Reis ("Lean Startup" author) also highly recommended.

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JupiterJones
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by JupiterJones » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:35 pm

InvestoGuy wrote:I have a idea I want to see implemented as a Startup. I don't have much money to spend on it


Depending on the idea, you can always go with starting small--at whatever point the money you do have can manage it--then scaling up when (and if) the idea turns out to be successful.

And there are lots of tricks to pull that off too. Rent instead of buy at first. Barter for things. Partner with other small businesses. Test the basic idea by beginning with a slightly different but less-risky and cheaper business model (i.e., food truck instead of restaurant, mobile car wash service instead of physical building, etc.)

The idea that it takes a big pile of money to start a business is not always true, and it's well worth brainstorming for other options.

JJ
Stay on target...

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craigr
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by craigr » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:46 pm

InvestoGuy wrote:What are the concrete next steps I should take to make this dream a reality.


At least get your idea to prototype stage so you can show it. Even better, get some customers using it. Even better than that, get paying customers using it.

Getting the product up quickly so you can test it out is critically important. Long development cycles are risky and lead to failure. Getting customer input will keep you on the right track and show you that there is a market for your work (and investors).

P.S. If this is yet another "social media/networking" idea you should be aware that everyone and their dead uncle is proposing them so getting funding will be just about impossible unless it is something truly outstanding.
IMPORTANT NOTE: My old website crawlingroad{dot}com is no longer available or run by me. | | Please refer to archive.is or archive.org for old links in my post.

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englishgirl
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by englishgirl » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:50 pm

Taylor told me about SCORE. www.score.org

I've done a couple of their webinars, went to my first live seminar yesterday, and today put in my application for (free!) mentorship. I feel so much more confident that I can start a business properly, now that I know where to get the right help.

Thanks (as always) to Taylor for being awesome.
Sarah

mlipps
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by mlipps » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:23 pm

I've been reading the $100 Startup lately. And there's always Startup Chile.

dad2000
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by dad2000 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:31 pm

I haven't read books or taken webinars, but have successfully done it in real life.

I don't know the nature of your idea, but most VCs aren't going to be interested at this early stage. Do you have a business plan and prototype? Ideally get a few paying customers or real pipeline, then perhaps you can get some angel investors.

Be aware that when you bring in VC, you will typically lose a lot of control and be significantly diluted. These guys expect huge return for huge risk.

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interplanetjanet
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by interplanetjanet » Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:50 pm

I've done it twice. One faded slowly away but was profitable over years, the other crashed and burned spectacularly in 2001 after several rounds of very successful funding and almost 50 employees.

Having a good idea is not enough, by itself - the world is full of good ideas. The devil is in the details and execution. I agree with other posters, you need to build something that people can start using and recognizing the value in, whatever field your idea is in.

-janet

magazinewriter
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by magazinewriter » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:55 pm

Englishgirl had a good suggestion about SCORE. Also check out the not-for-profit Small Business Development Center in your area. In most states they are located at or near a college or university. The offer free or cheap seminars and one-on-one counseling. They are affiliated with the SBA.

As others have said, there is very little chance of getting VC money until you have a business up and running and have shown that you are willing to risk your own money on the business.

bschultheis
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by bschultheis » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:21 pm

Here is my formula for a startup. . .

1. Have a great idea.
2. Be obsessed about it.
3. Work 18 hour days (seriously).
4. Risk your own money, not VC - increases your chance of success because intuitively you will work harder.
5. Go through a period called "startup" where you aren't making anything and question why the heck you ever did this.
5 a. Call up friends to see if they will loan you $200 for next month's rent.
6. See the light at the end of the tunnel - a long, long tunnel.
7. Recognize that success won't come in year one. Maybe in year four. Are you prepared for 3 years of #5?
8. Eventually, you succeed. Woo hoo!
9. Become bored with life.
10. Return to #1.

We are so blessed to live in U.S., land of opportunity, regardless of who's pres.

Suggestion: Pin this Teddy Roosevelt quote to your wall. . .

Far better is it to dare mighty things, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat.

vincentc
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by vincentc » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:10 pm

craigr wrote:At least get your idea to prototype stage so you can show it. Even better, get some customers using it. Even better than that, get paying customers using it.
Getting the product up quickly so you can test it out is critically important. Long development cycles are risky and lead to failure. Getting customer input will keep you on the right track and show you that there is a market for your work (and investors).


This is very important and can not be understated.
Ideas are cheap, implementation and execution is key. Unless you have a proven track record that you can pull a largely scalable venture together, at this stage - it sounds - your chances of attracting VC money are small (or you're willing to give up the majority of your new company away, in which case why would you really do it in the first place?).
VCs typically are interested in large scale businesses - as opposed to what they call 'life style' businesses. Which category does your project fit into?
And to go back to craigr's comment, do a lot of customer development on your free time.
If you want a good read to get you started, I'd suggest 'The Art Of The Start' by Guy Kawasaki (http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Start-Time-Tested-Battle-Hardened/dp/1591840562)
If you're into podcasts, the Stanford Entrepreneurship Series is a great one (http://ecorner.stanford.edu/podcasts.html)
Best of luck.

InvestoGuy
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by InvestoGuy » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:15 pm

Thank you all for taking the time to read my post and responding. I appreciate it. Regards.

Kelmscott
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Re: How to start a startup

Post by Kelmscott » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:17 pm

You may want to read Chris Guillebeau's $100 Startup. Good inspiration and many excellent strategies/thoughts for launching a biz.

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