Tim de Kraker
As a startup entrepreneur, Tim has launched five startups in the last decade and he now works as a business developer at Novel-T. Want to work on your businessidea? Contect him!
You have validated your business idea and you know your idea has real potential. What are the next three steps you must take to turn your idea into a startup? As a startup entrepreneur, Tim has launched five startups in the last decade and he now works as a business developer at Novel-T. Tim explains what the first three steps are.
The first step is to determine whether the problem you want to solve is significant enough and worth solving. There is only one way to find that out: “You have to talk to your target group,” Tim says. “It is important to talk to at least 150 potential users before you begin. The biggest mistake made by startups is first developing a product and only then talking to their target group. To validate whether your idea is a good one, you want at least ten people out of one hundred you talk to to be experiencing the same problem in a similar situation.”
The next step is to define the problem using input from the ten people who have the same problem in a similar situation. Once you have clearly defined the problem in the form of a problem statement, you will sit down once more with these ten people. How do you know if your idea is actually any good? Tim: “You want to have at least eight out of the ten people you interviewed to agree with your problem statement. Most startups tend to go through this step too quickly, which often leads to delays further down the line,” Tim says.
What is the best way to present your solution to the problem you identified? You could make a presentation, record a video or build a website to present your problem. Next, you can measure your target group’s reaction. Although there is no standard formula for this, you should make sure to include a call to action that will allow you to analyze people’s behavior after seeing your solution. Tim: “Present your solution to a thousand people and measure how much interaction you have with your solution. For example, how many clicks did you get from those one thousand people? Knowledge is power.”
See if you can get your potential customers to commit to your solution. Tim: “In the end, interest alone is worthless. What you need is commitment. Take Tesla, for example. When they were getting ready to launch their first car, people who were interested could register. By asking people to make a €1,000 down payment, Tesla could accurately gauge how much genuine interest there was. After all, no one would fork over €1,000 unless they were seriously interested in a product,” Tim says. Once you know that people are genuinely interested in your idea, you can use input from your first potential users to create the product.
By now, you know that your product has potential and you have created an initial version of it: your minimal viable product (MVP). How do you go about marketing your product? Tim believes the answer is obvious. “If you do not have any customers lined up after completing these first three steps, you did not make optimal use of the validation phase. During that first phase, it is important to reach out to your target group in such a way that it makes them eager to buy your product once it launches. You can then really build on that foundation.”
You have reeled in your first few customers, but things are not yet going as smoothly as you had hoped. What can you do next? Perhaps your startup could use some coaching. But why would you seek out a coach for your startup? Tim: “As a startup founder, you have to learn to take the right steps. It is important to try various things, make mistakes and do better next time. Without coaching, this process takes a lot more time and energy.” Tim knows from practical experience that first-time founders who do not use the help of a coach tend to take longer to find the right path. “You can increase your odds of success by asking the right people for help,” Tim continues. “Only ten percent of all startups survive longer than five years. A program such as imec.istart.nl has a survival rate of 85%. This shows just how helpful coaching can be. A coach can help you find the right path and get back on your feet after you stumble.”
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