Startup development strategies and factors
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Development strategy is one of the most important steps when launching a startup besides a creative idea itself. It should be thoroughly created in order to describe all the steps the startup will go through, what benefits it provides, as well as consider an alternative strategy if something goes wrong. Let’s deep in more details.
This article is more a cookbook than a real step-by-step guide. The answer is simple – there is no strategy that will bring success to your startup. However, there are some common bits of advice you can follow to minimize the possible negative impact of unsafe steps. Here is a simple list of factors that should be considered while drawing up a development strategy:
- Quality of idea.
- Experience and knowledge
- Quality of team and partners
- The economic and political situation
As you can see, it is extremely difficult to get all the above done with the highest possible accuracy. Furthermore, as research and overall statistics show, startups stay alive in ~0.1-20% of cases, where successful startups are only 1-2%. That’s why you should be ready for a scenario when your great idea won’t be useful at all.
We covered the importance of competitiveness of your startup idea in our previous article [Startup Ideas: Bullshit vs Brilliant].
Another vital step in strategy is the experience. Keep in mind that there are two ways: your experience that helps you make the right decision in right time and predict some unwanted events before they strike, while strategic mistakes of your rivals will give you some tips on how to avoid them in your project or even improve it.
Timeliness, probably, may have the most influential impact on your startup, even if the initial idea is not completely excellent. You can just have a working beta version of your product with some features in order to grab the attention of potential target audience. If your idea works, there will be hundreds of users during the first days or even hours that also will promote your product among their friends.
Apart from promotion and gaining huge popularity in short times, there also many examples when products go out of time and, as the result, target audience reject them because they really don’t know how to deal with that stuff. For example, Wozniak and his personal computer, Microsoft “Tablet PC” and Apple iPad. It is very important to give people something exactly when they need it. In such a case, you will gain wider coverage, better user experience, and higher growth rates.
Another thing here is that you should focus on the strengths of your product even it is not yet completed. Startups are often at a disadvantage when dealing with partners and other companies because they are startups. Everyone knows that it is extremely hard to do something really useful without any mistakes and bugs, but no one wants to deal with a startup with unproven skills, abilities and unpredictable lifecycle. That’s why, you should make an accent on real values for real customers: features, innovations, unique working experience, etc. This can also be useful while attracting new investors, making promotional presentations, press conferences, etc. Think of something that you can deliver — your ace card, an asset that cannot be replicated by anyone else.
Startup team quality
Your startup team is your “HQ” and the experience it possesses should go far beyond the scope of your current project. This will help you deliver things rapidly, implement new crazy features and adapt your startup product to new terms and requirements, if necessary. Experienced programmers and managers will also eliminate the need for seeking more experienced employees in future in order to match new required skills.
Your team should also be highly motivated and focused on the right targets. Managing a startup project can be associated with several pitfalls related to solving minor problems (or those the target audience will never suffer from). Take a “sniper’s approach” and carefully select a short list of tasks and issues and ensure no crucial aspects are being lost in it – try to implement those things that can deliver the most bang per bullet. Strategic management – instead of being reactive to all burdens of your work, making better ROI on your time and effort. Selective shooting keeps you focused on the game that really matters.
External factors: economic and political
The economic and political situation in your state or country can have the same impact as timeliness or bad location for a particular idea. The latter aspect was covered in our previous article. So, if you are working on a commercial product, make sure that your target audience is able to use and purchase it, otherwise, it will not succeed.
External factors: investments
In IT world, a startup is something like a huge and powerful V8 (or V12) engine and investments are fuel for this engine. More fuel means more power. However, this power will act as a destructive force if you try to drive with full throttle. Too many investments will transform your investor into a key figure that is able to dictate his own terms and conditions, thus making your startup less effective. Make investments work for you, not against.
Keep some reasonable competitive heat across your startup and potential deals: this will level you up in further discussions and leverage the chances of a successful outcome. In addition, you may want your potential partners to know that you had talks with other persons: such artful diplomacy and weaving in the knowledge their rivals may steal the deal helps level the playing field.
External factors: good luck
Fortuity. He-he. Even if business forecasts are pretty much favorable regarding your startup, all the written above worth nothing if your luck relaxes somewhere on the Bahamas. You may have already noticed that successful startup owners (apart from their professional skills) often talk about some unmanaged forces that are associated with good luck and timeliness – it’s not a joke: when things go wrong, but you are a lucky person, this may help you not to give up and move forward to new achievements despite all the obstacles. In our unpredictable world, lucky chance can’t be underestimated.
As you can see, startup development strategy is smart, yet fun activity. So, happy hunting!
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