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7 foolproof steps to launch your startup

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Today’s Soapbox opinion was written by Héctor Shibata Salazar is the Director of Investments & Portfolio at AC Ventures Fund.

Contxto – Covid-19 has forced people to stay home. Furthermore, the global recession has forced people to seek other sources of income. So, if you have a great idea, now is the time to work on it!

These are the 7 foolproof steps to start developing your next big project.

1. Solve a problem or create a need, preferably, for a large underserved market

Think about the startup you like the most. It ould be Uber (US), DiDi (China), Grab (Singapore), Rappi (Colombia) or Paytm (India).

Each of them started with the task of solving a problem (pull strategy) or creating a need and providing a solution for that need (push strategy).

2. Find allies to develop your project

  • Co-founders with complementary knowledge, skills, and experience
  • Advisors who support you with your business model, in the commercial, financial, legal, etc.
  • Investors who can support you with the initial capital if you cannot invest your own money.

3. Make a business plan

  • Find your power (strengths) and execute those operations internally (insource).
  • Understand your weaknesses and outsource these activities (usually non-core activities) with third parties. For example, Amazon makes deliveries with its own fleet and also with third parties.
  • Make a concept map of your business understanding the market, as well as the competitive dynamics: SWOT analysis, Porter analysis, 4 Ps, 3Cs, etc.

4. Create go to market strategies and tactics

  • Understand the value proposition of your business, the customers, and the way you can reach them. Think about what other companies in other geographies have done before you.
  • You can launch a beta, seek a commercial alliance with some other company for the distribution of your product or service. Ideally, get another company to work for you. For example, some dark-kitchens do not spend on customer acquisition, instead kitchen-aggregators do the job.

5. Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and launch it as soon as possible

  • When you start, don’t look for the perfect product or service, you just need one that adds value to the consumer.
  • Don’t wait for the ideal time to go to market, it may never come, take advantage of a window of opportunity and launch it.

6. Execute, execute, execute

  • Great ideas are nothing without good execution. Think about network search engines, Google was not the first, before Yahoo, Lycos, Altavista had hit the market.
  • Do an activity in an excellent way. A consistent performance like Uber, superior to the market and fast, is the real value. As you grow you can develop other alternative businesses for the same platform.

7. Improvise, adapt, and overcome

  • Do it soon, get it wrong quickly, and adjust your business model. Repeat this as many times as necessary. Initially, Yelp was a closed platform for referrals among friends and then it became an open platform.
  • Listen to the market, measure your traction, and pivot if necessary.

The right time to start is today. Just put these tips into practice, the worst thing that can happen is not trying. If you try and fail, at least you’re left with experience and learning. Be brave and bold!

Héctor Shibata Salazar is the Director of Investments & Portfolio at AC Ventures Fund and Adjunct Professor at the EGADE Business School.

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