Initiating and creating a startup is an adventure and has had a lot of publicity in recent months due to the Facebook acquisition of Instagram. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the Instagram founders, created a photo application that allows users to take, edit and share beautiful looking photos in a quick and easy way. What lessons can we learn from them and what should other online entrepreneurs consider if they want to replicate this success? Here are five lessons which you can take from the Instagram start-up which you can apply to your own small business which has been compiled after reading a number of different online and magazine interviews with Systrom and Krieger.
Trust Your Intuition & Get to Market as Soon as Possible
In turbulent markets things can be uncertain and no project will ever start with a guarantee of being successful. But under no circumstances should you try to launch with a perfect project, otherwise you will never get anything to market. Your own personal intuition is still the best thing that you can listen too, and you need to remain agile – this will allow you to fail faster and cheaper.
Ask Yourself the Right Questions to Address the Right Problem
When starting a project, finding solutions to problems is the hardest part of the job. Yet in 80% of problems, solutions exist and are relatively simple to find. Make sure that you properly verify that the problems you are trying to solve correspond to that those that matter to your users.
How can you do this? It’s simple, you should constantly test the product with your existing user base as soon as you can to make sure that you are heading in the right direction.
The real challenge for a startup is to find good problems to solve. Only in this way you can focus your efforts and develop a product that creates real value in the eyes of your users.
Think About Your Users First and Not Potential Investors
As an example look at Google. Google never develop products to maximize its stock price, but always has the users in mind first and foremost. At Google, a lot of projects are started that are never intended to be profitable as sometimes the revenue sources are too weak or even not yet defined.
This is a great approach for innovative start-ups, especially as not all projects need millions of dollars to get started – so look at launching a prototype first so that you can test the market. It will always be more beneficial to show a product to an investor that has been refined after actual user feedback rather than presenting an Excel document explaining what the vision is and how it will make loads of money.
It’s Not Just About Innovative Ideas
In a start-up, everything revolves around the product that is developed, which can then be improved and finally monetized. But, there are also important business aspects to consider such as the entrepreneur performing other tasks which departs from the heart of its business such as administration, finance, legal, taxation, human resources, and relations with partners.
This will take up a significant amount of time in the life of an entrepreneur. And these tasks have nothing to do with ideas, strategy or the product yet to come – it will consume many hours in the life of an entrepreneur so you should be prepared to knuckle down.
Explore and Share Your Ideas With Others
Good ideas and good start-ups are not created by waking up one morning with an amazing vision. An effective start-up will be the culmination of a long process of iterations and idea sharing between you and your partners, including your users.
You must constantly be in a process of innovation as well as constant improvement – which should always be aligned with the problems of the users that you want to solve. By exploring and sharing ideas as they mature they will in turn go on to become strong and viable projects.
Author Bio: Jane Middlecamp regularly blogs on small business matters and start-ups. She recommends that if you want effective business advice for start-ups it is worth subscribing to the Wall Street Journal. Click here for the latest WSJ Subscription Deals that are currently on offer.