Development Success stories don’t equal miracle stories. Your feed is probably full of fairy tales about 18-year-olds who successfully go through every stage of a startup and make millions on their ideas. In reality, this process has its dark sides.

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In a world where seemingly everything has already been invented, a unique idea is worthless and useless if you don’t hone it. So, whether your business idea is a forerunner in a target niche or a smart alternative to a successful CRM, you have to cultivate it.

There are several different approaches to startup development you can choose from. A rather formal approach is to define startup development by its lifecycle stages

Startup stages made right

A successful startup is a journey from idea to growth and you should know the path you’ll be walking. Still, it’s the execution that matters most. To nail every stage of a startup business, there are a couple of things to consider during each of these stages:

  • Actively search scaling capabilities. After you have a solid MVP, scaling begins, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it before then. When planning features and trying to find a product-market fit, keep in mind that if you plan to scale up in the future, you’ll need investments. Catering to that at each stage of development is half of success.

  • Have a business plan. This will be developed and perfected as your startup idea evolves. Similar to scaling, approach your business plan in the early stages so that you can present your idea to investors, potential partners, and anyone interested whenever they ask about it.
  • Now that you know the rules of the game, let’s go through the stages of a startup.
  • Document everything that can be documented. From the most basic overview of your business idea to recruiting and scaling, try to document everything related to your startup in written form. This will saves time later while improving and growing your business in the future.

You can either rely on these three or define the stages of creating a startup based on your own strategy.

1. Research

As we’ve mentioned before, there’s always space for new phenomena in the startup world. The founders of Airbnb, two designers, and an engineer have said that they lacked a common perspective at the dawn of the company – largely because they were focused on design and engineering instead of on developing a business. And yes, these are two completely different things.

When we talk about startup phenomena, we mean businesses like Airbnb. Due to the unique concept of “renting a living space where you feel at home,” Airbnb basically created a new niche from scratch. So, it should be treated as an exception, rather than a rule.

2. From idea to MVP

As soon as you have a hypothesis about your future product, focus on validating it. A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a must-have set of features that allows you to test the product with your target audience without any sophisticated engineering. Minimum effort – maximum feedback. With an MVP, you can see the practical impact of your product in the real world and then further perfect it.

Airbnb started as a simple listing website that targeted the attendees of the IDSA conference that took place in San Francisco in 2007. The Airbnb founders noticed that all the hotels were overbooked for the conference dates and decided to create a quick solution. That’s how the world’s major hospitality service evolved – by solving a specific problem for a relatively small crowd of conference attendees.

The first Airbnb website was cheap and it is even hard to compare to what the service offers now. But, as the experience shows, your MVP shouldn’t be a world-saver. One practical issue you have a solution for will be enough.

3. Getting traction

Beautiful things happen to startups at the stage of traction. Most likely, this is when you’ll acquire your first customers, and hopefully, these will be your most loyal ones. Focus on enriching your customer base while continuing to collect feedback.

Airbnb used smart growth hacks during the traction stage, which, in some ways, compensated for their lack of initial research. The startup partnered with Craigslist, a $1 billion online listing platform, to create a simple posting infrastructure. This integration opened the door to a huge crowd – hosts and owners who could easily post their proposals on the website.

Here are a few tips for your tech startup:

  • Catchy branding: Give your product an identity, so that it is recognizable across the target audiences.

  • Promotions: To gain clients, you should put your product in front of thousands. Depending on where your target customers would potentially be looking for you, pick a few different channels for promotion.

  • Partnerships and referrals: Search for those who can help you tell the world about the product you’re creating. Moreover, people trust recommendations more than ads. So this approach may prove successful.

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4. Back to the start: Final improvements

If you did everything right, the number of clients should increase. Talking to them you know what customers love the most about your product. Leverage that. Try to expand the value that stands behind your product as much as possible. Common scenarios at this point include the following:

  • Get rid of features that don’t convert.
  • Hire professionals that can help you refine the strongest sides of the brand. For instance, if it’s all about UI, you’ll need a superstar designer.
  • Invest more in promoting your killer features.

5. Aiming for maturity

To make the leap from a startup to a mature business, you should be ready to take bold action. However, even the greatest growth hacks won’t bring you success overnight. The average time for a startup to become an established business is 3 years. No bypassing, no instant results.

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To nail the stages of a tech startup, be patient and work on making life better for your target audience – step by step:

  1. Research partnerships that could give you revenue growth. One year after its launch, Airbnb migrated to Amazon Web Services – this decision helped them cut operational expenses and benefit from Amazon’s robust integrations. See what’s out there for you.
  2. Have a system for ROI measurement. At this point in startup development, you’ll (hopefully) face revenue growth. Ensure that you have instruments to measure your success – this will help you maintain positive trends in the future. Airbnb picked a combination of Datadog and PagerDuty to measure revenue, collecting metrics from 15 different systems in one place.
  3. Attract funding. If, at this point, you still lack resources to grow your company, focus on getting some external funding. Depending on your business history and current valuation, as a mature business, you can consider traditional term loans or business lines of credit. Another option is to focus on attracting investors. They don’t just give you money, they also provide helpful advice.
  4. To sum up, the key things at the core of startup growth are planning and persistence. From idea to growth stages, take your product through a series of activities that will help it evolve. Deliver on your clients’ expectations instead of trying to kill your weak spots. Understand the startup essentials, but be ready to tweak them to outperform your competition. Finally, measure everything you do.
  5. Remember that you have everything it takes for a successful journey. Just make sure that you don’t jump into things that are beyond your expertise. Leverage startup development services, hire a CTO or consult people who have gone down this path before.
  6. To sum up, the key things at the core of startup growth are planning and persistence. From idea to growth stages, take your product through a series of activities that will help it evolve. Deliver on your clients’ expectations instead of trying to kill your weak spots. Understand the startup essentials, but be ready to tweak them to outperform your competition. Finally, measure everything you do.
  7. Remember that you have everything it takes for a successful journey. Just make sure that you don’t jump into things that are beyond your expertise. Leverage startup development services, hire a CTO or consult people who have gone down this path before.