So you’ve had a brilliant idea for a website but not sure how to move forward? After many startup projects at JTB Studios we wanted to share a few things we’ve learnt along the way to help you out. This is by no means a guide to writing a 30 page business plan, we believe in keeping things lean – but make sure you have the basics covered.
Do your research
Before you start doing anything suss out your competitors and the industry. Whilst your idea may be unique, chances are someone else is doing something similar. To help you refine your idea here are some basics you want to grasp:
- Who are your competitors?
- How long have they been around?
- What are they doing well?
- What areas could be improved?
- What marketing strategies do they use?
Also think about the industry you are competing in:
- How big is it?
- What the geographical location of the market?
- Where might the industry be in 12 months?
- What about the next 5 years?
Define the problem and your solution
So now you understand the market and your competitors, it’s time to define the problem you’re going to solve. Some people call this your elevator pitch, others call it your value proposition. Basically you want to be able to define your company into it’s simplest form. Your definition should aim to cover the following:
- Your target audience (users)
- The problem you solve
- Why you’re better than the alternatives
If you need some inspiration have a look around at some of your favorite startups. We personally love Airbnb’s simple definition: ‘Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodation around the world — online or from a mobile phone or tablet.’
To share or not to share
Understandably many startups are hesitant to tell lots of people about their idea in fear of it being stolen. At JTB Studios we always recommend you have at least a small circle of confidants to help you through the process. Industry contacts, a business mentor with experience and members of your target audience will prove invaluable resources to quickly bounce ideas off and gather feedback.
The big question many entrepreneurs will face – how do I find investors? The sad reality is that investors are not interested in your idea. Well, not yet. Investors don’t invest in ideas – they invest in startups whose product shows strong potential for growth.
You’re next step before finding an investor is to launch a minimal viable product (MVP) to market. This means stripping back all the features you cannot afford and launching your website or app quickly into the market to start building your user base.
Hiring a digital agency
Choosing your web designers and developers is a scary process, these are the people you will trust to bring your baby to life. Make sure you do your research, ask lots of questions and follow these tips to help you find the best designers:
- Ensure your digital agency is happy sign a disclosure.
- Don’t work with designers or developers who don’t share your enthusiasm. An agency that is passionate about your project will go the extra mile to make certain it is successful.
- Do they value user experience? Your digital agency should be focussed on creating a product optimised for your users, not a flashy portfolio piece.
- Experience. Is the designers portfolio full of corporate projects or do they have experience with startups? Remember you are not just hiring a designer, you are hiring a business partner, so choose a designer who has been through this before.
Here at JTB Studios we love working with startups. The energy and passion of the client, teamed with the project complexity and potential industry disruption makes for an exciting mix. We’ve had the pleasure of working with many different startups to design and develop successful websites in industries like art, online learning, travel and food. If you’re looking for a passionate, talented and experienced team don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.