What it takes to launch a profitable startup in 2020 hasn’t changed for decades and won’t change any time soon. The best advice for entrepreneurs who are looking to launch a startup this year is not to wait until next year.
Remote work is at an all-time high, unprecedented access to global talent, startup investment keeps increasing, paid advertising channels are becoming more effective, and the list goes on. To launch a profitable startup in 2020, you should get started. A lot can happen in twelve months. “When you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you,” Paulo Coelho.
The three steps below can be accomplished in six months even if you work on your startup part-time. They’ll set you on the right path towards profitability this year.
1. Scan Your Idea
If you want to build/launch a profitable business this year, there is no room for easily avoidable mistakes starting with investing resources in a product you could easily know if people need and will pay for. Therefore, the first step is to test your idea before moving forward and committing significant resources.
The least you can do is ask ten potential buyers about their needs and expectations. The goal is to uncover the urgency of a need for a better solution. Products that make things just a little better will make your goal of building a profitable business this year a lot harder. By the end of this phase, you should refine your idea by identifying a problem worth solving.
2. Scan It One More Time
Many ideas look great on paper but fail as real businesses. Furthermore, the excitement of potential users (interviewees) can quickly fade away and should not be taken as a definite YES to, “I really need a solution.” If you want to build a profitable business this year, you need to invest a little more resources in this critical pre-product validation stage. There are many things you can do. Here are two.
Building a product will take time and money but sketching your idea is relatively quick and cheap. Run product designs by those first ten potential users and ten more. This simple test can help you avoid an expected bias from the first group while seeking everyone’s feedback and comments that will help you identify key product features.
The second thing you can do is offer your product for sale while rewarding the first buyers. Perhaps with a discounted yearly offer or even a lifetime offer for the first 50 buyers. This will not only provide you with a strong validation signal but also, help you fund the next stages of the business.
Some products are easier to presell than others. If you find it hard to come up with a compelling presale offer, think how you can quickly start serving the first buyers by introducing a concierge service of your product. This is where you take the role of many features. It’s an effective approach to also learn how the product should work since you will be the product.
3. Build Your Product
The first two stages will provide you with all the insights you need to build a product that converts. Best of all, it’s an inexpensive approach to learn if the product won’t work. Which means you can quickly pivot to focus on what will work.
If you’ve validated your idea through conversations, designs and presales, you’re more than half-way through building a profitable business this year because building a product is the easy part. If you know what to build, the right team will make it happen. In the meantime, your job is to get more of the people you interviewed excited and committed to the solution.
This is a quick roadmap for your path to launching your idea this year. If you don’t do it now, the path won’t change next year. It’s up to you!