Do you belong among those, who want to try something different, try something of their own? A successful business is no easy task and to kick off your own startup as a first step can be daunting indeed. We have prepared a six-part series, in which we will guide you through the many aspects of getting a startup of the ground and the various tools and resources which may help you on this path.
1. Idea generation
To start your own business, you first need to find a problem that needs solving. Ideally, a problem which penetrates every-day life and bothers a lot of people. Try to find solutions to these problems and you’re well on your way.
Helpful tools for idea generation:
Too many awesome ideas die in lost notes and cleaned up whiteboards. Germ.io lets you capture every eureka moment and helps you execute it. Never lose the big picture of your idea, starting from logging the “aha” light bulb moment that can occur at any time. Germ.io gets you on the road to creating actionable ideas, helping you define all the how’s, what’s and why’s you need to get going.
Use the lean validation/experiment board to describe, validate and refine your business idea. The Experiment Board (by Javelin) is a tool that was developed based on the learnings from their first tool, the (Lean) Validation Board, which was used by over 20,000 entrepreneurs around the world. The Experiment board is free to download (pay with a Tweet) and includes a PDF, a Google Spreadsheet version, and instructions.
For many, the big one. Creating a catchy, easy-to-remember and NOT taken, registered or trademarked is a great feat and indeed, can spell success or failure for many projects. Think hard and plan ahead.
Helpful tools for naming:
Discover a perfect company name with Naminum. Naminum is the leading startup, company and website name generator on the web. Enter a word and Naminum uses prefixes, suffixes and replaces letters within your keyword to generate a (huge) list of name suggestions. Didn’t find a satisfactory name? Try with a new word, transform the current one or generate random names for additional inspiration.
KnowEm allows you to check for the use of your brand, product and username instantly on over 500 social media websites.Check if your brand, product, personal name or username is used on 500 popular and emerging social media websites. Grab your name and secure your brand before someone else does. Search over 500 popular social networks, over 150 domain names, and the entire USPTO Trademark Database to instantly secure your brand on the internet.
3. Domain names
Try to plan the domain name and your brand’s name simultaneously as many domains today are taken or held for buy and sell purposes. Your domain name does not necessarily have to be exactly the same as your company’s name.
Helpful tools domain names:
GoDaddy DomainFinder is the new domain search app that lets you build your own domain name with the world’s largest domain register.
Build your domain from scratch. Enter a few keywords to tell the App what you’re looking for (it can even suggest some), and DomainFinder serves up a list of sweet, available domains. Check availability and register your domain in a flash. You’ll never run out of options because DomainFinder recommends great names from hundreds of new domain extensions that range from .guru to .fail.
Namecheap makes registering, hosting, and managing domains for yourself or others easy and affordable. They are a leading ICANN-accredited domain name registrar and web hosting company. They have over a million customers and more than three million domains under management. Namecheap provides affordable access to domains and the products and services to help you make the most of them.
Another important one. Your website’s loading speed, reliability, and security hang on good hosting, so no cutting corners here. Research the providers in your area and on a global scale to get a feeling for what the general offer is.
Helpful tools for hosting:
BladeWP is a web hosting business that offers secure and fast WordPress hosting. Their main goal is to satisfy their customers, and therefore, they guarantee you satisfaction when using their hosting service. They provide a clear and simple explanation of their products and if any help for setting up is required, the people behind BladeWP are always prepared to help you. With fast WordPress hosting, excellent service and, most importantly, very content customers, BladeWP is a wonderful company to host your websites.
There are many hosting companies out there, but for a WordPress site, Bluehost should definitely be at the top of anyone’s list. Bluehost is a hosting service officially recommended by WordPress and has been the number-one recommended hosting service for their platform for almost 10 years. Their service includes unlimited websites, email accounts, and domains, one-click WordPress Install, premium customer service and custom-built servers to provide a stable and reliable hosting environment.
5. Market research
Although market research is in the first five steps of startup life, it actually accompanies the side of each and all steps along the way. You constantly need to keep a clear overview of the market, of your customers, trends, and numbers to be able to keep up and offer only the best and only what the people want.
Helpful tools for market research:
Google Trends is a public web facility of Google, based on Google Search, that shows how often a particular search-term is entered relative to the total search-volume across various regions of the world, and in various languages. The horizontal axis of the main graph represents time (starting from 2004), and the vertical is how often a term is searched for relative to the total number of searches, globally. Below the main graph, popularity is broken down by countries, regions, cities and language.
Validate demand or usability on a clickable prototype or live feature with Validately.
Validately is an online platform that enables users to user test a prototype or feature before coding it. Users are able to validate the demand and usability of clickable products, recruit product-specific testers, and analyze the results by watching user videos. Validately is the easiest way to recruit testers, launch tests and analyze results.
So there you have ti folks! The first five steps you need to take and the tools to make them a lot easier. Join us in the next part of our startup series, in which we will discuss forms and surveys, mockups and wireframing, design, development and deployment.