We’re all about seeing great ideas make it in the world. While there are many important steps to becoming a bold entrepreneur with the full toolkit to make your ideas happen, there are things we teach everyday which you can get started on right now, in your own time. Check out three of the fundamentals.
1. Step it out with a Business Model Canvas
A business model canvas is a tool for establishing a clear and simple overview of your whole startup idea. It’s a great visual way to get down on paper what your opportunities and challenges are, and where your idea sits within the broader marketplace and the business world, without trying to tackle a 30-page business plan document straight up.
It’s a great exercise for understanding all the elements of creating a successful business model, and it helps clarify – for yourself and anyone who may join your team – what you’re setting out to achieve. Check out these online templates to get you started.
2. Customer discovery – find out what people want
Some of the first need-to-knows for any startup idea centre around your customer. What problem do they need you to solve? What will they pay for it? The best way to find out is to ask them, which is why Startup Sprint takes participants to the streets to speak to the public. You can do this in your own time too – hit your local coffee spot or shopping strip and suss out what people really want.
Make sure you keep your questions open and focus on asking about the problems people face, rather than the solution you’re proposing. For example, ask about the biggest pain-points and headaches people have with finding what they need online, instead of telling them about your app idea and asking if they would use it. This way you’ll get more honest insights which may spark other ideas about a more effective solution.
Remember: the magic data number is 100. If you’re going to invest your time and money in this idea, get a decent dataset of insights from over 100 people so you can identify real trends within your audience.
3. Get prototyping – test, break, repeat
To truly know whether or not your idea is hitting the mark, you need people to road test it. There’s loads of ways to validate your product or service early on without spending big.
For products, we recommend making a minimum viable product (MVP) or working prototype as soon as you can. Look up places near you which have a 3D printer for public use – some community centres, libraries and co-working spaces are starting to offer this for cheap/free – and make a model you and others can play with.
With tech ideas, have a great front-end experience for your customer but keep your backend manual as long as you can. People won’t know it’s all spreadsheets and human data entry in the background, just make a cheap, good-looking website for them to use now and invest in building out the tech later. Not only will you save time and cash, you’ll also have a better understanding of the process the tech needs to take once it comes time to build it.
And, get your idea out there ASAP. Set up a website, social accounts and email signups and start taking people on the journey early. You might be months away from selling anything but the essence of your brand and what it’s all about is a story waiting for people to connect with. Find your super-customers and get them geared up for the launch now.
Wade Institute of Entrepreneurship is a leading centre for entrepreneurial education. We deliver programs to accelerate learning, creation and connection.