How to Build a Startup
Learn what it takes to build a successful startup using the Customer Development process, where entrepreneurs "get out of the building" to gather and iterate on feedback.
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4 posts • 193 mentions • top 10 shown below
416 points • Photomography
Even harder than being creative is starting and running a business. Here is by far the best free online class that will help you be successful as an entrepreneur, and you take it as your own pace.
260 points • thealexmartin
How To Build A Startup - Steve Blank - Absolutely incredible resource for aspiring entrepreneurs
167 points • redditor3000
I can't believe this hasn't been posted here. This is the best entrepreneurship class I've found online
31 points • hau5keeping
Has anybody ever taken the free 'How to Build A Startup' course on Udacity?
Udacity offers a free online course titled "How to Build a Startup The Lean LaunchPad". Does anybody have any experience with this course or with Udacity in general? Is this course worth the time investment (approx 1 month)?
any feedback is appreciated, here is the link for those who are curious:
7 points • notantisocial
I have been working my way through my own start up, a niche sports oriented clothing business (women's western equestrienne shirts), and I was given 10 sessions with a business coach. I thought I would contribute back what I have learned SO FAR because honestly, the hardest part for me is closing the gap between I have a great idea and I have a product and I am selling it. These are some of the AH HA moments I had and what came of them. (Please forgive typos, I did proof read it, but I probably still have some)
1. Customer Discovery: When you have a good product, and a properly targeted market you will know because: people will ask where can I buy that OR say I will buy that.
I start talking to a person who would be in my potential target market like this: I am approaching someone at a horse show as a fellow enthusiast so this is not a weird conversation.
HI - Nice horse insert small talk as you normally would talk to another person Oh, what is it you do (as your job)? That's cool, I have a day jobz but I am starting a company.
Other Person (usually): Oh thats really cool, what is it?
Me: I am starting a Western Shirt company I always had problems with insert products pain points here. What do you think?
Now if person is not empathizing you do not have a target customer. Either this person doesn't have the same pain points or doesn't like your idea, LET THEM DO all the talking. They will give you lots of unsolicited advice. Say thank you. File it away. Write it down some where.
If person is empathizing, now is a good time to talk about cost.
- How much do you think you would pay for (my product). If you don't mind them anchoring on an existing product you can ask: How much do you pay for X (competitor or substitution)?
Finding this information out as quickly and cheaply as possible if key. Reddit is a great place to do a survey. For a fitness product I received a 1000 responses. You have to be genuine and grateful. If you write "I appreciate your time" or "I would really appreciate it", it seems to do better. I am sure there exists marketing psychology that can help you.
If you have NO IDEA what I am talking about when I say Customer Discovery take this course on Udacity for free: https://www.udacity.com/course/ep245
2. Surround yourself with like-minded visionaries. Get into Start Up "culture."
Well crap, I don't live in Silicon Valley, and I don't know 50 entrepreneurs that I can casually hang out with and talk to. Fortunately for us we have THE INTERNET, (oh yeah and this sub). My current solution is to listen to A LOT of podcasts. I listen to them on the way to and from work (its a 15- 20 minute drive), when its my turn to do the dishes/ sweep or if I feel like sewing.
Also I finally got myself a twitter account. I follow Ent Mag and Fast Company, I have two apps, Pocket and Voicedream. When I stumble out of bed in the morning I go into the bathroom and wait for the shower water to get tolerable I save to Pocket any articles on Twitter that look remotely interesting. I get dressed I get in the car and rather than listen to the morons that talk on the radio in the morning, I have Voicedream read all those stories to me.
- Tim Ferriss's: They are long!!!
- Dustin Lien Strategic Sauce: I just started listening, no verdict
- Gary V ? I haven't listened yet, I have heard great reviews
- New Business Podcast- found this one today, haven't listened to him yet
This helps me stay motivated when I feel like I am falling of the track, especially Tim Ferris's podcast. He has a whole podcast about decision fatigue, I loved it, I have started routinizing more things in my life.
3. When you write an operating agreement and you are going to to give the co-founders equity, tie that equity to some result.
So your co-founder is excellent with numbers, but you are only buying potential if you are not specifying what the company will get in return for that equity. Is a it a 5 year forecast for 1%? Is it a section to the business plan for 3%? Equity is a currency and if you had money you might pay a bookkeeper to build and maintain Quickbooks. Instead, whomever it is that you want to give equity, pay them equity, to do a job.
4. NEVER BUY POTENTIAL
We must have talked about this 100 times in my Entrepreneurial financing class.
- "Well in its heyday it turned out 500 orders an hour." Yeah but what does it turn out now and how much does it cost to maintain?"
- "Two years ago I had a guy offer $70,000 for this business" Okay, but you only made $5,000 in profit last year, so unless there are a lot of assets, I have a firm $25,000 for you, etc etc (these are just examples, don't go too pedantic on me)
If you are buying potential you are lining someone else's pockets.
5. The language and culture of your business MATTERS. Core competency matters more than anything else.
I am taking Organizational Behavior right now basically as a continuing education class and enjoying it so much.
Yesterday I was at a doctor's office where they had this marketing thing and that marketing thing (an app, free wifi etc etc), but their front desk staff is HORRIBLE!!! The receptionist told me, while laughing, that she wouldn't want to be a patient there because they make us wait so long and they are so poorly organized. Umm What? To add insult to injury they have special services offers every where. The was a guy in the waiting room pretty much yelling about how he needed his files to transfer his documents to another doctor because he had been waiting an hour.
My doctor is actually great. She listens, she lets us have what we want, she doesn't push us into stuff we don't need and can't afford, she gives us options that help us avoid long term medications. We felt heard, we got our flu shots, etc etc.
So I told her, we really like the doctor part, but can't wait on hold 20 minutes every time we want to make an appointment. You told me to schedule an appointment for blood work and your staff did the wrong blood work, never called me when it came in or scheduled a follow up appointment. I will switch doctors if we can't make this easier. She was pretty upset (and my husband is slightly mortified, but he wanted to switch too). Your customers will usually not tell you they don't like your product to you face, they do not want conflict.
Her solution: yell at her staff to be more competent. I said to her as gently as I could: "This is a management problem not a staff problem." She can't hear it. All she can think about is her lazy staff and how she has them running to and fro all the time.
- System thinking is critical, if you have to put signs up everywhere, the protocols are not correctly in place, when I see that I know it is poorly run
- Hire enough staff to fulfill a job role and make sure that those roles and duties are being met, her staff is constantly reacting, they always tell me they don't have enough people or "it's only me at the front desk"
It was truly terrifying to see the doctors come of the patient rooms yell orders out and disappear back into another room and see the nurses and receptionists say, "Did she say xxyx or zzxy?" and then forget when the next doctor comes out.
6. Many "businesses" run okay with sub-par information and money
Since I am working to be an entrepreneur (I don't know what that finish line mark looks like to tell people, I am an entrepreneur), I constantly examine and analyze people's businesses when I am visiting : my dry cleaner, my doctor, the local coffee shop, or an online business, anyone whose services I employ.
I am constantly shocked at how little it takes to be a "business." At my local Exxon, I stopped in to get gas and pee. They had just done a big renovation, everything was bright, shiny, and new; and it seemed like they had a lot of business. I went in and used the only functioning bathroom they had, the Men's room, with no soap to wash your hands. There was a big sign "Employees must wash hands after using bathroom." This means that when they are handling even package food or the hot dogs or whatever, if they have washed their hands they have done so with NO SOAP.
I find this again and again, the "professional" is not as professional as you think it might be.
So those are my tips. I have some other stuff I had thought about posting to this sub, sometimes you guys can be a little harsh and I don't want to post just random stuff. I think it would be cool if we could get more of a dialog going. I recently went to Peru to suss out some business opportunities and I had thought about posting my impressions and thoughts, so if you are interested in that I will take some time to do it.
16 points • justjacobmusic
Share three resources that have really helped advance your startup journey. I'll start.
My main startup focus right now is this hardware venture based in Chicago. My cofounders and I had little exposure to startup methodology as such when we began working on this business together; so, my contribution to this thread will probably sounds pretty elementary and probably too big picture versus brass tacks. Still, these three things have been hugely beneficial to me:
Steve Blank's "How to Build a Startup" course on Udacity - If I could only suggest one resource, this is it; my team would have been immensely less productive without the principles delivered by this course.
Eric Ries's The Lean Startup text - Eric was mentored by Steve; so, there are clearly a lot of cross-over principles in this text. Still, I find that I learn best not just through repetition but through parallel exposure to concepts in different mediums. I kinda needed this book to really get those concepts from Blank's course to sink in well.
Richard Branson's Loosing My Virginity text - Building a startup from scratch is tough, often incredibly demoralizing since you're constructing your own roadmap as you move forward into the unknown. This book has provided that extra dose of inspiration for those times when I've been tempted to ditch this whole startup thing. Plus, there aren't many other opportunities out there to get an interior view of the thought processes of somebody with as much entrepreneurial experience as Branson. Maybe this resource isn't useful to anybody other than me, but I guess I have weird needs in this game.
3 points • Hi_its_Dan
Udacity's got a free course on how to build a startup, with Steve Blank. Good stuff? Or should I skip it?
5 points • [deleted]
Thoughts on the lean start up
I hope everyone is having a great day. Recently I have been reading "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries. I was wondering if you all have had gone followed this teachings and what you thought about it and how did it turn out? In addition, if there is any other movements you can recommend?
For those interested I have been taking this free course: https://www.udacity.com/course/ep245 and been reading Steve Blanks blog http://steveblank.com/ pretty regularly. I have found it to be very helpful.
1 points • YTubeInfoBot
22,240 views 👍70 👎2
Description: This video is part of an online course, How to Build a Startup. Check out the course here: https://www.udacity.com/course/ep245.
Udacity, Published on Feb 23, 2015
1 points • GLIDRPilotJim
you don't need a business school
Here's a link to Steve Blank's HBR article on The Lean Startup. Also a series of free lectures that Steve Blank put up on Udacity, called "How to Build a Startup" a course that over 500,000 people have viewed. These lectures are supported by a book that Steve Blank wrote with Bob Dorf called The Startup Owners Manual, as well as a best selling business book by Alexander Osterwalder called Business Model Generation. You may also want to see Alexander's other book, Value Proposition Design for more input/insight.