Founder Insight gives you feedback from the startup trenches.
In this post from his blog, Chris Franks outlines how he approaches launching a new company. From coming up with ideas to settling on a name, Chris' advice boils down to just this: just start. Chris is a graduate of the Denver Founder Institute and recently began mentoring new startup founders this summer with Denver FI.
Below, Chris' post has been republished.
"Time to get started.
I’m a big believer that you gotta get started. I have suffered from the paralysis of perfection way too many times in my Starting Stuff career and recently I have decided to take the opposite approach. Just start. We’ve all heard the axiom “How do you eat an elephant”? The answer is NOT “One bite at a time”! That’s just dumb. The answer is, “You start eating the fucking elephant!’
So for the sake of posterity, I’m going to back up a few steps to record how I’ve I gotten here to day one.
Step One- Come up with an idea.
The myth of the start up says that the power of your startup lays in the idea. This is bullshit. There are no such thing as original ideas. If you’ve had the idea it is a certainty that 2,000,000 others have had this idea. That is not to say that good ideas are not important. It is critical but just be aware your idea is NOT original.
Here’s my basic approach to the idea.
1) Do what you know
I’ve been in wireless for almost 15 years. It’s about ALL I know how to do. I’m not certain that it is always a good strategy to do a start up in the space you’re most familiar with because doing the same thing for 15 years and then trying to do a start up in the same space could be boring. For me however, I still dig the space and I think we have just scratched the surface of the interesting things we are going to be doing with smart phones.
2) Make sure you have a real market
Notice I didn’t say you have to have a billion dollar market. That’s another myth. If you want to do a deal with the devil and go after VC money a billion dollar market is critical but frankly that is stinky money? A real market is one or more people will buy your stuff, use your service etc. I’m not going to go in to detail here as there are great resources for anyone looking to prove out a market. There is just one take away from this.
Make sure someone is willing to use your shit. Ask real people. Make sure that they are for real. You would be shocked at how many piece just assume that the answer is yes.
I happen to be in an interesting market. Not one smart person in the world believes that exchanging business cards is smart way to connect with the people you meet.
3) Make sure your name doesn’t suck
My boy Adeo Ressi has beaten me in to submission on this point. Be sure your name doesn’t suck. If you think your name may suck it does. Change it. Change it now before you get business cards made up.
For my new project I chose the name: Moblify. I don’t think it sucks and it seemed to have pass the Adeo test so I’m going with it. If you want an honest opinion email Adeo. You can contact him through his web site. If you hound him he will get back to you and trust me he will give you HONEST feedback.
4) Write your idea down
Your idea will change but you need to be able to write it down in a couple of sentences. The full elevator pitch comes later but for now make sure you can articulate your idea in one or two sentences. If you can’t you don’t have an idea, you have ideas and ideas are not good at this stage. You need one idea and you need to keep it simple."