Article contributed by Alanna Bastin-Byrne
Startups are popping up all over the place for various reasons. People want to be masters of their own destiny. They want more work flexibility and to live outside capital cities. They have an entrepreneurial spirit. There is a pain point in their lives, they want to solve with technology. But, how do you start?
As a Founder of a startup, I think it is important to log your lessons and share them within the startup ecosystem. So I wanted to give you the roadmap of how to start a startup based on our experience.
Be crystal clear on the problem you’re solving and who your customers are
We were clear on the problem, but not on how to communicate it. In fact, it took us five months talking to potential customers about the idea to create our pitch.
Tip: Ask your potential customers to repeat your problem back to you. Once you hear it in their words, you will be able to communicate it effectively.
Find a Co-Founder
It is an oh so lonely journey as an entrepreneur, so find someone to share it with.
Tip: Ask yourself these questions:
- Who can give their time to the project?
- Who has complementary skills?
- Who is passionate about the idea?
- Who can you have an honest and open relationship with, based on mutual trust and respect?
Go away and think about the problem and the project
We went away for two days and we had an agenda. At the end of it, we had the following:
- Milestones for the next year
- Action tracker
- Grants we wanted to apply for
- Risk management plan
- Decision register
- Equity split
This process was really useful and although the action tracker has changed, the overall milestones for the project have remained. We have decided to repeat this planning session every year.
How are you going to allocate your time to your startup?
My Co-Founder decided to quit her full-time job and work on our startup full-time. I have two small children and at the time we started our business I was looking after both of them full-time. I decided to put my daughter in preschool two days a week and my son was initially looked after four hours a week. I committed to work 12 hours a week on Femeconomy. Of course, some weeks it is more than that! It is a struggle to juggle, but all in all you make it work for you and your family situation.
Don’t wait for investment
This was our biggest lesson and one that set us back the most timewise. Firstly, private investors won’t consider you until you have a minimum viable product (MVP). As for grants, we thought we had the right idea at the right time and a grant would be a given. How wrong we were and we lost six weeks waiting.
The benefit of grant writing is that it helped us decide on our business model. We also gathered data to prove our concept, which only gave us more belief in what we were doing. So absolutely, apply for grants. But don’t let it stop you from ticking off items on the action tracker. Just keep doing.
If you’re a startup, I’d love to hear how you started!
About your Guest Blogger: Alanna Bastin-Byrne Femeconomy Shop brands with female leaders to create gender equality. is the CEO of the house, community builder and a globetrotting nomad. Background in Marketing and Communications leadership in the UK and Australia.