Start with good ground

You wish to start a business, but you don’t know where to start? Here is some advice to get started.

Alone or joined forces?

Before you even get started, you are not sure as to HOW to start: alone or with a co-founder? Well, there is no right or wrong answer to this question, but keep in mind that it is better to start by creating a team of co- founders so that everybody can create a business that fits everybody’s interests. And if you want to stay alone, it’s fine too, as long as you know your own limits.

What's the freaking problem?

By now you probably already have an idea for your future business. It might be an idea based on a problem that you experienced, or on a new technology that you think will be thriving in the future, or on a passion you have and want to make a living with. But since you haven’t tested it on the field, your whole idea stays solely abstract. So, the next step is to make sure that behind your idea, there is a real problem to be solved and that it is important for your target customer. Ideally, this problem should be in constant growth. Therefore, at this stage, the goal is to find a problem that is both consequent and poorly solved for a particular segment of customers.

Need a hand ?

Indeed, before you even start building or developing your project, you are going to have to get out there and meet your potential clients, learn about their needs, and their frustrations. Once on the field, keep in mind that your empathy will be your greatest ally, it will help you better understand your target customer, his needs, his fears, his desires, his habits, his expectations, and much more. Do not try to make him say what you want to hear! But listen, listen closely, and try to get the most information you can get from him. It is essential to put aside any biased opinion and to adopt an objective and detached approach. In doing this, you will or confirm your first idea, or discover other sets of problems-solutions, enabling you to maybe widen your spectrum of opportunities before choosing one to focus on.

Food for thought? How to find the appropriate problems.
- By starting with you and your environment, your problems, the networks you have, the sets of skills….
- By observing the target customers;
- By interviewing them;
- By putting yourself in their shoes (why not spend a day living their lives?)
– …

Patient zero

Finally, the last step before you define your solution, is to make sure that the problem you choose is significantly important and poorly solved for at least a segment of customers and that this segment is attractive enough. We are not looking for a huge market here, but for more of what we call a « beachhead market* ». This first market is represented by clients who should nourish enough frustration to accept your solution, as basic as it is. * “A beachhead market is the place where, once you gain a dominant market share, you will have the strength to attack adjacent markets with different opportunities, building a larger company with each new following,”says Aulet. The three conditions that define a beachhead market: (1) The customers within the market all buy similar products. (2) The customers within the market have a similar sales cycle and expect products to provide value in similar ways. (3) Word of mouth communication exists between customers in the market. For example, existing customers serve as high-value references for potential customers. In fact, they may belong to the same professional organizations or operate in the same region.”

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