Pre-requisites Before You Startup!
Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Source: Justin Kan O, @justinkan
Thinking of quitting your job to go all in on your startup?
Don't do it.
Well, not until you have at least these 4 things figured out!
(Preface) Stop glorifying titles like ‘founder’ or ‘CEO’ and letting them lure you into taking big impulsive leaps. While these steps will not guarantee success, not hitting them at all, will almost certainly result in failure.
1. Find (a) Co-founder(s)
You can't always do it alone.
Building a company with one or more co-founders will make things much, much easier.
Find people who have complementary skills to you.
‘Complimentary’ in this case does NOT mean that you should find someone who can do similar things to you.
It means that you should each be able to fill gaps with your respective skills.
But don't be fooled - finding good co-founders is one of the hardest processes you will ever face in your startup journey.
If you want to build an app but don't know how to code, you'll need to look for a technical co-founder.
Beyond just skills, you and your co-founders need to be aligned on values, the mission of the company, and levels of commitment.
Do NOT take this step lightly; a majority of startup failures result from co-founder issues - trust me, I've seen more than my fair share.
Treat the process as seriously as picking a spouse.
2. Build a Prototype
If you don't have the ability to do this, then you DEFINITELY should not be quitting your job quite just yet. (refer back to step 1 and find someone who can help you)
Build the most basic, functioning features for early customers.
Don't worry about all the bells and whistles just yet.
Expect bugs and crashes: a LOT of them.
Just make sure you have a serviceable version to showcase the core concept effectively.
This leads to (3)
3. Validate Your Ideas with Customers
Talk to your customers, and figure out what their pain points are; what's the real problem and how can you solve?
It is frustrating to see so many founders obsessed with building to feed their own egos.
They will neglect to talk to their customer base, make assumptions about what people want, or just think they know better and ignore feedback entirely.
Feedback is the most powerful tool you can use, especially from the people actually buying your product.
Try to get feedback in whatever way you can, and relentlessly iterate and optimize. This is how you will achieve Product/Market Fit.
4. Pre-sales, Pre-sales, and Pre-sales
There's no way around it - If people want your product badly enough, they'll buy it, simple as that.
You need to know your market, customers, deal qualification, and propositions inside-out.
So before you quit your job, don't be fooled by self-proclaimed entrepreneur ‘gurus’ on social media - the ugly truth is that founders seldom find success early on. It is not as glamorous a life as it is often portrayed, so be prepared.
This is far from an exhaustive list - there are many considerations that are more personal such as your financial situation, dependents, your well-being, time, etc. But there is no getting around it - if you really want your startup to be successful you will have to go all-in at some point. It may even be in spite of those considerations.
The advice I've listed here pertains specifically to your startup. Not everyone will have the privilege to drop everything at a moment's notice, even if they have all this stuff figured out. Ultimately, you need to make an informed decision about when the right time is for YOU!