Letter to a Startup Wannabe

1. First of all, you need to understand that being an entrepreneur means having a great passion for continuous learning, efficient action and finding the right solutions. If you don’t like to read, study, analyze, implement, test, measure results, and then change your actions based on data, then you better do something else altogether.

2. I always recommend to any beginner entrepreneur the Lean Startup Methodology. It is the most efficient way to create a successful startup, as it involves validating your business idea with a minimum of costs and risks. 

Here’s what the method entails in more detail: finding a niche with a specific problem, verify with the niche and see if they’re really willing to pay for that problem to be fixed (is it that important to them?), create a new solution to fix their problem, build a minimum viable product or MVP to test the solution, sell it to a statistically relevant segment from the said niche, measure results and change the product or strategy based on the findings, if needed. And then start again, as it is an iterative process. The Lean Startup mantra is “Build-Measure-Learn”.

3. So, please read and carefully analyze all the resources below, for us to have a common ground and terminology. When you’re finished with studying them and you’re familiar with the process, send me a completed Lean Canvas and what you need specifically, to see if and how I can help.

4. Curated list of essential resources for a successful startup:

Fundamentals:

Eric Reis – Lean Startup Methodology Principles

Steve Blank – Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything

Paul Graham – How to Get Startup Ideas

Paul Graham – How to Start a Startup

Paul Graham – Why to Not Start a Startup

Ash Maurya – Lean Canvas – Create your first business model and invite your team (free tool but needs registration)

Ash Maurya – Why Lean Canvas vs Business Model Canvas?

Peter J. Thomson – Value Proposition Canvas

Ash Maurya – Find Better Problems Worth Solving with the Customer Forces Canvas

Marius Ursache – The Problem Statement Canvas for Startups and Innovation Teams

Forbes – 11 Ways To Find And Build Your Perfect Advisory Board

Founder Institute – How to Split the Equity Pie with Founders and Partners

Founder Institute – A Step-by-Step Guide to Recruiting Your First Team Members

Founder’s Personality Profiles – Take the basic BOSI Assessment for free at any time

Sales & Marketing:

Cezary Pietrzak – Marketing Fundamentals Canvas

Jason Evanish – 95 Ways to find your first customers for customer development or your first sale

Justin Wilcox – How to Interview your Customers

Rob Fitzpatrick – How To Do (And What To Expect From) Early-Stage Customer Development & Sales

Nat Turner – 90% of Feedback is Crap: How to Find the Next Big Startup Idea

Neil Patel – How to do Content Marketing if You’re Dead Broke and Bad at Writing

SAAS Genius – 21 Most Important SaaS Startup Metrics

Nate Liason – $58,150 in 5 Months: How to Build a Lifestyle Business Step-by-Step (Emails, Tools, Everything)

Deconstructing Expertise: Why You Desperately Need it & How to Get it

Online Courses:

Kauffman Founders School – The Lean Approach by Steve Blank

Udacity – Steve Blank – How to Build a Startup. The Lean LaunchPad

Y Combinator – Startup School

Sam Altman – How to Start a Startup

Coursera – Barbara Oakley – Learning how to learn

General Online Tools:

Javelin – All-in-one Lean Startup and Customer Development software

DEToolbox – The Disciplined Entrepreneurship Toolbox is a set of tools and checklists that will help you build a healthy and successful startup.

QuickMVP – the easiest way to test your ideas, without wasting time or money. Customer Interviews, Landing Pages, Unit Economics.

StartupStash – A curated directory of tools and resources to build your startup

Steve Blank’s List of Tools and Blogs for Entrepreneurs

ReWork – Practices, research, and tools from Google to improve your people processes.

Lean Startup Books:

Ash Maurya – Running Lean. Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series)

Bill Aulet – Disciplined Entrepreneurship Workbook

Steve Blank – The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company

Funding Know-How:

Paul Graham – How to fund a startup

David Tisch – How to Communicate with Investors

Michael Wolfe – What should be in my fundraising slides?

Point Nine Capital – What do we base our investment decisions on?

Nate Matherson – How College Students Can Find Funding for Their Business

List of All Seed Accelerator Programs in the World

List of All Investment Funds in Europe

Good luck!

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