The founder’s journey – a method we have developed to support founders to kick-start their business in a safe and confident way. Naturally, at the beginning of a startup there is always chaos. Where do I start? What is the best way to proceed? What exactly is the first, second, third step? How nice it would be if there was a simple roadmap that would lead you to guaranteed success. Well, that’s exactly what we can provide you with. Just simply follow our roadmap in the pre-defined order.
The real twist to the startup journey is to think of it as a learning experience. This trick puts distance between you and your idea, which you have surely already grown fond of. Consequently, it allows you the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. By this, you give yourself permission not to fall into the perfection trap right away, but to be satisfied with a simple prototype, for example. And above all, it enables you to deal with one or two experiences in a professional manner and not to take them personally. This is how your journey leads you to your professional success.
How to start your journey as a founder
How to start your journey
Vision: Grow wings for your journey ahead
A strong vision lets you take the first step of your journey as a founder. Often you have already taken this step unconsciously when you dreamed of making the world a better place with your product or service. Your goal-setting lends you wings, helps you to achieve perseverance and staying in power. On top, your vision inspires others as they realize how passionate you are about your idea. But one thing your vision should never do is blind you. Otherwise you will blindly walk past your second and most important station: the customer.
Understand: Really listen to your customer
You don’t just need one idea, but many ideas to weave a really good idea out of it. And to get to such one, you need to understand your customers properly. What are the problems when the customer buys today’s product? What results does your customer expect from your solution? What are the benefits of your solution? Don’t forget the market potential: How many people could use your product or service? What might they be willing to pay? If you can answer all these questions confidently through research, interviews or surveys with potential customers, then it’s time for the next step: ideation.
Ideate: Think big!
This stage lives from the fact that you approach it in a really playful and open way. Take your first idea – and enrich it with countless many more ideas. Every idea counts. No idea is bad. Feel free to accept ideas from others: family, friends, and colleagues. Focus on the insights you’ve gained from the previous step: What services or features are most important to your customers? What advice did your customers give you that your idea didn’t include before? Be inspired by solutions from other industries: What do you like about them? What could you apply to your business idea? And never forget: Think big. Don’t ever think your business too small. You actually want to conquer the world!
Focus: Clarity means meeting your targets on your journey.
To show how important focus is, here’s a quick example: Instagram became so successful overnight because the founders focused their product on just one feature: photo sharing. So now, when you look at your board full of ideas, what’s most important to your customer? Focus on a handful of topics – and only one market or application where you want to place your solution. Everything else distracts you from becoming successful.
The most important steps of your startup journey are taken!
Take the first step. Start your founder’s journey.
Design Experiment: Make the invisible visible
You are still in learning mode. That’s why you shouldn’t launch your product right away, but follow the “lean start-up” idea. You have already learned a lot about your customers and the market: But where are the biggest assumptions in your business idea? What has not yet been unambiguously confirmed by customers or market research? Take a look at these assumptions and think about how you can test them with small experiments.
Design Prototype: Your idea gets shaped
To experiment really well, it makes sense to build a prototype that you can use to test your assumptions: craft, sew, draw your product; build a website or make a short promo video and ask potential customers for their feedback. Make sure to not catch the perfection trap. The point is to get started in the first place.
Run Test & Validate: On the finish line
The more you learn with the help of your prototype, what is good or bad, what works or not, the better. Because the faster and safer you approach your successful business. Collect and sort all the insights so that you can integrate them into the next version of your product or service. If the feedback was mostly positive, it’s time to prepare your launch.
Iterate: Never stop getting better
You’ve almost guessed it: Not only starting a business, but also being an entrepreneur is a journey. Never stop listening to your customers and asking non-customers why they are not yet your fans. Because staying successful is the same journey as starting in a fast and confident way: It’s always about thinking big and being open, experimenting small scale, learning fast, and thus launching the best next version in the market.
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