Step by step instructions on how to start your own startup
by Maxwell Alexander, CEO Duncan Avenue Group
Got an awesome startup idea? Get yourself a logo, put together a pitch deck and go chase venture capital they say… Not so fast! The only result you get from this strategy is to get yourself a reputation of an amateur hopeful who needs to grow up.
I’ve branded hundreds of startups from every corner of the globe and even though I am great at branding, they still follow the same exact statistics as all others: most of them fade into dust in a matter of months or years. What is the reason? Branding a startup idea is not your number one step in the process! And it’s not even number two…
Here is the deal: You’ve got a good idea and it’s a good start, here are step-by-step instructions on how to turn it into a great idea and make it a reality:
– The startup idea itself: chances are you have a software idea that will change the world, and if it’s not a software idea, get back to your drawing board and extract the essence of what you are trying to accomplish and make it software. No one will invest in manual labor or manufacturing enterprise, there isn’t a need for more of those.
– Next, you need to start working on your personal branding to show off your expertise in the field and validate your startup idea. It’s not enough to have a logo and a website and an Instagram account, you have to show who is behind the idea and prove that this person is an expert with a proven track record in whatever the idea is about. Read a little bit about my personal branding boot camp: https://duncanavenue.com/branding – there is an outline of all the things to consider and I personally guarantee that by the end of week 7 of my personal Branding Bootcamp you will have a globally recognizable personal brand to back up your legitimacy. The main goal is that when your future investors will google your name, they will be able to see what you are all about and will be open for a conversation. No one will just throw money at people with good ideas, you need to establish yourself first.
– The next step is to build a global team (meaning people from at least a few different countries with a global perspective). If you are a technology/software startup and creating a platform, you need to have a robust team of people for each area of operations: CEO, CFO, Legal, Branding, Marketing, Design, Product Development, Business Development, Sales, Software Development, Customer Relations. A good way to approach it is to offer equity in your business since you are not making money yet.
And no, you don’t need to rent an expensive office in an expensive location because you don’t want to drink that co-working Kool-Aid served by the real estate industry that wants to protect its grossly inflated bubble. The very technologies developed by Silicon Valley made Silicon Valley and other “tech hubs” obsolete, so right now it’s just a matter of supporting those real estate values that have artificially skyrocketed when tech giants were still trying to physically pack its employees like sardines into one overpriced location.
– You would want to form an advisory board to consult you on each area of operations. It would be great to find some big/recognizable names in the industry that will help you to come across as a legitimate startup. Some people would volunteer for the idea if they like it and they can see you are serious about it. Some can advise you for a small equity in your business.
– Once you boost your personal branding, start showing up in search results and your team is all set and ready, you can approach the branding of the company/product/service itself. It will be a piece of cake since your idea would be fully formed by then and you will have the team to make things happen the right way. Again, I am here to help and this time I would predict that my amazing branding wouldn’t go to waste and your startup will actually have a good chance to make it out there.
– Once you have all of the above done, you will be equipped to approaching venture capital funds and private investors with much UCB higher rate of response and interest in that “next big thing” that everyone is waiting for.
About Maxwell L. Alexander: Designer, Creative Director, Editor-in-Chief of the Hudson Valley Style Magazine, and World-Class Brand Strategist and Coach, Maxwell has elevated creative-, design- and cultural value for hundreds of brands all around the world, ranging from Technology Startups, Wellness & Fitness Brands, to Fortune 500 Companies and Globally Renown Non-profit Organizations and Government Agencies.