How to conduct free and low-cost experiments to validate your new business idea
Entrepreneurs are always tempted to build their products secretly in a cave. This, however, is rarely the most effective way to succeed. According to common Lean wisdom, the better route is to get the idea in front of customers early and often, smartly collect feedback, and iterate rapidly toward product-market fit. But, as anyone who has ever tried it knows, this is easier said than done. How do you actually validate an idea? How do you best design experiments? Who do you ask to participate in them?
How (and when) to select advisors for your new venture
Like all entrepreneurs who have been in the game for awhile, I too am forever grateful for advisors who have helped shaped the course of my career and the ventures I've co-founded. However, finding the right advisors and formalizing the relationship properly is often a confusing process. I've fallen into many traps (as both a founder and an advisor) that are avoidable with — you guessed it— the right advice.
Building a new web product: How to best setup engineers AND creatives for a win
Pre-launch startup operations are always chaotic. That being said, equipped with your idea, team, market analysis, customer personas, early validation via surveys and interviews, and a brief overview statement (yes, do all that first), there is something simple you can do to setup your engineers and creatives for a win.
How to boil down vision and mission into an overview statement for your new business
At this point in your idea-to-launch journey you probably think you have a solid elevator pitch, but you'll be surprised what happens when you attempt to put that in writing. For the sake of you, your team, and your early advisors (which I'll talk about more in an upcoming post, subscribe to my newsletter for updates) — especially when it comes to a foundation for building your product — it's a good idea to boil down your vision and mission into a single paragraph and include, in broad strokes, your main features. This is critical to keep everyone on the same page as you move forward.
How to maximize learning from pre-launch customer surveys and interviews
Your job as a wild-eyed entrepreneur with the next big idea is to start validating your idea early and often, long before any code is written or designs are sketched up.
How to identify “ideal” early customers
So you have a solid idea, team, and market analysis under your belt, now it's time to accelerate the validation process. It's time to start selling. At this point you've made some noise with a set of friends that — let's be honest — are mostly there to support you. As long as you don't charge too much (or annoy them too much), they will likely be your customers. But, they are not the early customers that matter.
How to evaluate a market for your potential startup
So you have an idea, and you're in the process of convincing one or more people to co-found your company with you, now what? The next step is for you to do a much deeper evaluation of the market than you have probably done thus far in order to determine whether you should proceed.
How to compose a co-founder team
The number one reason why investors write checks to fund an early-stage startup is because of the team; most specifically, because of the CEO. Your startup will look very different in the not-so-distant future, so the insane people who give you money are really betting on you.
How to generate startup ideas
Ok, so you spend time looking at the green grass and mythical creatures over in startup fairytale land. Awesome. Now what?
How to create, grow, and fund a tech startup: an operational framework
Throughout the course of co-founding, advising, and investing in startups over the past couple of decades, my partners/advisors and I at Prota Ventures have developed the following practical operations framework to help founders through the early stages of startup life.
How to work with a visual designer to efficiently build mockups for your app
Next up in our intro to web and mobile development series, here we'll discuss how to move from wireframes to more detailed images of your user interface (i.e. the “mockups”). This may sound obvious, but the actual creation of mockups should be reserved for the most talented visual designer on your team. If you don't have a legit person for this, recruit one before attempting to move forward here (seriously).
How to build and iterate wireframes for modern app development
Moving forward in our web and mobile development introduction series, here we'll briefly walk through the process of building wireframes based on the UI Spec and UX Flow Chart we put together previously. Wireframe construction usually goes faster if the designer is the one doing the work, but regardless it should be a collaborative process with the entire founding team of your startup.
How to create a user experience flow chart (UX Flow Chart)
Next up in our web and mobile development tutorial series, here we'll examine the process of moving from a User Interface Spec to the construction of a flow chart that describes the detailed user experience (UX) through the app. This is where the engineer(s) and creative(s) must work closely together to decide what kind of software tools can best support the intended interfaces and click/swipe behavior, down to every last tab, tooltip, lightbox, icon, etc…
How to create a user interface specifications document (UI Spec)
Continuing forward in our web and mobile development tutorial series, here we'll take a look at what to do next after you have created an Overview Spec and before you create a UI Flow Chart. Coming up with the UI Spec is an essential step for the product lead (usually the same person as the CEO/project lead in a small startup), as it forces them to visualize a rough draft of the app and put it in writing for the team to kick around.
How to work with a visual designer to quickly produce a logo
Moving forward in our web and mobile development tutorial series, here we'll take a break from writing code and get back to the branding and visual design aspects of our app that we'll be building step-by-step together. Specifically, we'll look at the process of coming up with a suitable logo for launch (i.e. it always changes later, so relax and trust your designer).