Let’s Start a Startup!
“A startup is a temporary organization used to search for a repeatable and scalable business model” – Steve Blank
Setting up a startup is not easy. But if you have an idea that you think deserves to be shared, if you think that you have a solution to a problem, then no matter how tough the going gets, you wouldn’t give up. There are several stages your startup would need to pass through in order to reach a level of maturity. In this article, I will talk about these stages of a startup lifecycle.
Stage 1 – All About An Idea
A startup is born when it is still just an idea. It is just this idea that is poised to one day become reality and grow really big. But an idea isn’t enough. There are several initial little battles that have to be won. The biggest question you need to ask when starting up is whether you have a unique idea. Would you need to fight for space in a competitive market? Are you offering a solution to a problem or are you just entering an already existing market? When the startup is still an idea, you should be spending your energy in giving it a structure form that can impress investors and later customers alike. You will also need to focus on gathering an experienced team who have the similar passion and required skills.
Stage 2 – Building Your Product Through MVP
It helps to take baby steps initially. That’s why you should first test your hypothesis before going big. Launching a MVP –Minimum Viable Product – will help you understand the choice of the customers. You will also be able to learn a lot about customer behavior, their requirements, but by playing safe to a large extent. Nowadays it has become a common practice to launch a MVP and then make changes to the product as the startup grows.
Stage 3 – Growth To Fit the Market
As the startup grows, challenges increase and things get more difficult to manage. The growth phase is perhaps the most important stage in a startups life cycle because if you cannot carefully tread the path in this stage, the startup can fail very soon. The biggest challenge for a startup is tackling the everyday problems that arise once the MVP is launched. You need to have an effective management plan to deal with these problems, while at the same time also focus on keeping the growth rate steady.
Stage 4 – Scaling Growth
The next stage in a startups life cycle is scaling. This is the time when you will need to identify the problem areas and find solutions to them. For example, if the product is not reaching more customers, you will need a marketing expert who can steer the startup towards the customers. This is the right time to hire more people and expand your team. You will need experts at every level if you want to see maturity.
Stage 5 – Expansion and Maturity
Expansion is the next obvious stage in a startups life cycle. A startup should mature in such a manner that it can think of expanding. Expansion can be venturing into new markets or improving distribution channels to cater to more customers. Expansion can also mean diversifying. Basically, when you look for new means of revenue generation – that’s expansion. A word of caution here – diversifying shouldn’t mean experimenting in untested waters. You should be able to use your existing expertise and manpower skillfully.
Stage 6 – Exit
If you can successfully expand your startup and give it a new lease of life, you won’t need to bother about exiting from the market because of failing to meet your expectations, because that’s what this stage is all about. However, there is another meaning to exiting – when you are selling out to a bigger business. If you are planning to sell out, get it properly evaluated.
The idea of a startup may come to you at a spur of a moment but making it a success is all about hard work and perseverance. If you can manage to hold the strings tightly and properly manage your startup, you can soon have a formidable business.
About Author: Vijay Soni, Ph.D. is a researcher, entrepreneur, motivator, creative business developer and thinker. He is working as postdoctoral researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York. He founded a new venture called “Scipreneur” to bridge Science with Entrepreneurship. For more information visit www.thescipreneur.com or contact Vijay Soni on LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org