Startup resources: from start to finish
“Any time is a good time to start a company” - Ron Conway (Noted Startup Investor, SV Angel.) Starting a company is anyone’s dream but just like all dreams, it begins with a dreamer. If my calibration is right, you are one of those (you are a dreamer). Dear dreamer, guess how a company is started? Through ideas, yes that is right. Whether you have not found that brilliant idea yet, have not transformed it into a company or you just happen to have one already, you have reached the right place. You probably already know that ideas are easy to conceive but actually putting them in place can be hard. So why not learn from those who have been there before?
"Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard." – Guy Kawasaki, Alltop Co-Founder and Entrepreneur.
This blog is a compilation of resources you might need right from ideation to scaling your business. The resource 5 Phases of the Startup Lifecycle: Morgan Brown on What it Takes to Grow a Startup seamlessly breaks down the common 5 phases that a typical startup commonly goes through. These are:
- Problem/Solution Fit
- Minimum Viable Product
- Product/Market Fit
- Scale and 5) Maturity
Your company is most likely at one of the stages above. We’ll be providing resources depending on the stage of the startup but some resources are helpful through several stages.
Problem/Solution Fit resources.
At this stage, you have that huge idea that does not let you sleep. You want to make sure it is the one before you take it to the next level. Or, you actually do not have an idea as such but are looking to solve a problem. Ideas hail from meeting a need and are everywhere including how we live everyday and what the situation in the community is like. Whether the problem you are looking to solve is known or not, check these resources out to help you develop a business idea:
- If you have an idea but not sure if it is the THE one, read this for ways you can test it out.
- You probably also want to know why other startups fail before you get committed. "No market need” for the product is definitely one of them and this article The Startup Lifecycle: How To Win At Each Stage will give you more insight.
- For business ideas, check out SpringWise for inspiration and generally keep tabs on what is coming onto the market around the world. Another one is producthunt.com.
- PaulGraham.Com talks about how to spot ideas right under your nose.
- Websites like The Verge will give you a good coverage of global startups and the technology powering them. Here is a more comprehensive list. Another one shortlists the 26 best websites for entrepreneurs here. One more.
- The Coronavirus Tech handbook, a crowdsourced library of tools is also a good place to look if you want to solve problems related to the pandemic.
- The Downtown Avenue has got you covered with podcasts about all the resources you need to start and run a business in the UGANDAN context. They have featured seasoned entrepreneurs like TMS Ruge.
- If you already have a business idea and would like to articulate it, a business plan is a good way to do this. Download templates from Downtown Avenue or bplans.com.
Minimum Viable Product resources.
If you are at the MVP stage, this means that your product has features just enough to satisfy your early customers / adopters consequently obtaining feedback and getting a feel of your product. Steve Jobs once said that it is not the customer’s job to know what they want, but through building an MVP, you can learn more about your customers’ behaviour while minimizing risk. This section provides you with resources for building your MVP and how to make the most of it.
- You might need to learn a few skills to cover for the costs needed to put your product out there. This article brings you resources about marketing (e.g. SEO), entrepreneurship, business management and more.
- This article 15 ways to test your minimum viable product also talks about tools like customer reviews, landing pages, ad campaigns, blogs amongst others.
- For all your branding and logo creation needs, check out logo makers like LogoHub an MVP logo generator, Logaster or any other free tool online.
- Find an available name for your awesome idea using The Name App or generate your catchy business name using an intelligent naming tool like Wordoid.com.
Product/ Market Fit resources.
At this point, you have a product that has been tested on the market, probably has returning and paying customers and is ready for take off. A quote by Winston Churchill says “if you are going through hell, keep going" so here are some resources to help you stay afloat with your product. These resources will help you to stay connected with your customers, get constant feedback, manage your tasks or hack your way through some problems:
- 400 free resources and tools for entrepreneurs, freelancers and startups is a compilation of links for almost anything you might need.
- Another resource outlines some tools and apps for marketing, graphics, social media amongst others. Also check out these 17 recommended essential resources.
- If you have an online business, here is a brief article on 3 ways you can boost it on a low budget. One of them is creating a digital marketing strategy, and Lyn Tukei, a marketing strategist gives you insight through her vlogs.
- Here is how to build a team that will not sink your startup.
- Google’s Launchpad Accelerator program helps startups build great products by providing access to their people, network and advanced technologies. Check out the program here and sign up for the newsletter to be notified when applications are open.
- If you are into podcasts, this resource lists all the best podcasts for entrepreneurs.
Scale and Maturity resources.
At this point, you have defined your business, your marketing channels, business model and probably have grown your team. You are now most likely looking to expand by region, product, or even a new customer segment. Whatever it is, it sure does involve MONEY so here are some resources you can use to get you there:
“It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it always takes longer. So plan for that.”
– Richard Harroch, Venture Capitalist and Author.
- Here are 9 ways to get your startup funded including crowdsourcing, capital from venture capitalists or angel investors. You can also refer to this for more innovative ways.
- You have probably heard of techcrunch but here are more local (Africa) options like Seedstars Africa and Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program.
- After School Africa has a tab on entrepreneurship, listing all current calls for entrepreneurs in need of funding.
- Funds 4 Africa is another great resource for calls for proposals and funding.
- VC4A also connects startup entrepreneurs to mentors and investors. Sign up here.
- This is a good read talking all about how to handle your first deal, the division of founder equity in new ventures.
- And here is how to move on when you realise it is not working anymore.
Is there a resource missing that future entrepreneurs could benefit from? Drop a message here: firstname.lastname@example.org.