With the technology and resources available today, anyone can claim they are a startup simply because they have an idea they are developing, and perhaps even testing on a small market. In order to truly move from that backroom effort, there are some basic issues you need to consider.
How do my standards compare on a larger scale?
It is possible to launch and test an idea for a product on a scale that works with the standards of a very local area, and perhaps at a very low cost. Before you go further though, you will need to evaluate how those standards match up against a larger market. Do the payment or banking protocols you have set meet the requirements beyond your test area? Are the security demands up to the standards you will need to meet?
You must also understand the cultural demands of the broader area. For instance, in some areas, culture dictates that things can move at a much slower pace, and so a website or application being ‘down’ for a few hours, or even a day, may not cause a great deal of concern. Take that same application to the broader community however, and a break in service for even just a few minutes can be an issue.
Before you decide to grow your effort, you must be sure you understand your larger market: what their demands are, how they will use the product, and what environment it will be used.
Part of the evaluation of whether you’re ready to grow is understanding the next steps. To do this, you must have a basic understanding of how far you can go with what you have, what might come next, whether you are at risk if you take that next step, and what might be needed to develop the next solution.
You need to have a clear idea of your product’s language, framework and technology to be able to evaluate whether it will support growth, and ideally, you will have access to a senior developer who has experience with scaling to understand how you will move to the next stage.
Maintain the founder as the owner
I have written at length about source code and maintaining control of it. A founder who wants to create a project should ensure they are the owner of and have access to the source code from day one. Even if you are starting with something small, be sure you have access to your code, that you have backups along the way, and that you understand the progress of development.
Remember that the three main assets of any startup tech company are its source code, its database, and its infrastructure. Though you may have a developer to manage all of this, the founder must maintain legal access from the beginning.
It is also a good idea, before you make the leap, to ensure you have taken advantage of insights from others who have made a similar transition. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or a lot of energy. An hour or two with a consultant, or some time spent at a free networking event are just two of the ways you can share information on how your business operates and your future plans, and to get advice on how to make the transition better.
You will also find that my blogs and non-technical founder courses are a good resource and may provide you with many of the questions you need to have answered before you begin to move forward with your next steps.
What is the big question you have about moving from an idea to a startup? Share it below.