Hey there. Two of Devinity co-founders are almost done with acceleration programme at Founder Institute Warsaw Edition 2015. And we think it was worth every penny and all the hassle. Today we’d love to share with you why it was a good idea to start it with someone in-the-know.
Well down to basics – FI offered us practical know-how. It’s not about “being aware” how other people do startups but to actually go step-by-step, try it your own so you can say “I know how this works because I did it myself”.
Practicing while getting frequent kicks-on-the-ass from the Institute was priceless. Here’s 5 things we learned in the course of our 3 month programme.
1. Brilliant idea does not equal successful startup
Most of founders have very limited or no knowledge on how to build this dream company and actually make it earn money. Lots of people have ideas, sometimes great ones but thinking that they’re already halfway there with their dream because they have the IDEA. But reality bites when you discover, that your idea is actually just the top of an iceberg and the rest that hides beneath the surface is what really matters for your business. getting the idea to maturity, building that team, customer development, funding, marketing, getting traction, bootstrapping, legal, revenue streams, product development and many more. At the end of the day startup is about hard work on many, many levels.
2. If you’re gonna do it, do it LEAN way
LEAN does not mean without plan. It means – don’t overplan. We’re living in times of change. Often if you try to make a long-term plan, it will be outdated the moment you come up with the first draft.
We’re big fans of Agile and Scrum and LEAN is so much about the same values and methods. Go step by step – plan, iterate, retrospect, improve.
With people LEAN is really important. Often that amazing startup idea is great while in your head. But when confronted with customers and users, it turns out to be just bad. LEAN is about leaving your comfort zone, get out there and validate your ideas with actual crowd.
3. Talk to people
Networking is another word for running around talking to startup people about your business. Never shut yourself and your team in a shed to “FINISH THE PRODUCT” aside of the real world. Talking to people is one amazing way to get everything done faster. Maybe you as a founder know more, but other people out there know it different. Sometimes talking about unrelated things can create that creative spark in your head that will amazingly hack your company growth. Meet founders and entrepreneurs – they are likely to speak a word about you with other people even without you knowing building a network that will bring profit with time.
But remember one thing – be genuine, humble and grateful to others.
4. Sell, sell, sell
Selling is talking about your business in a compelling, coherent way.
You can sell your idea to invalidate it at the very beginning but once your concept is more or less stable and you start working on the product – always remember to keep selling whenever possible. You’ll keep updating yourself on what people think, find customers or kill your project if necessary.
Selling is believing. So first believe, then go outside and while enjoying the world out there share your vision with everyone you can. If you’re good at it – people will follow. But remember – be genuine.
5. Always follow your gut and be happy about your choices
If you keep talking to people about your project, they will most likely offer feedback at times. Try to get as much as possible from the feedback you’re getting from people. Constructive, valuable feedback is not so easy to get these days, but once you’re getting it you’ll know it. Use it to improve and learn.
But remember – don’t change everything because someone said your startup sucks, even if that’s some big fish investing millions of dollars. Try to get as many feedbacks as possible and then figure out what’s best.
Follow people advice, however don’t forget sometimes it’s you and only you who’s right about things. True innovations were all treated as illusions at first.