How to start a startup

Here is a literal and actionable guide on how to start up.
How to start a startup

Based on a much longer eponymous essay by Paul Graham, I reinterpreted it so it makes sense when you don’t know where to start:

    • Live in the future. Most of us live in the past or the present. It is easier to analyze what already succeeded and think of ways to replicate the success. It’s thinking by analogy. It is a valid way to think, except that this isn’t the way to create a big startup. Big startups are based on ideas of two kinds – obvious and hard, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX; and non-obvious and hard, like Uber. If you don’t see the obvious and hard or the non-obvious, there is a name for it – “Schlep Blindness”. SpaceX is an obvious idea because the only other enterprise that could send people to Mars, NASA, had no plan to do so at the time SpaceX started. So it is obvious. Because it is obvious and no one else is doing it – a reasonable assumption is that it is impossible. Yet if you live in the future, it will also be obvious to you that humanity will either go to Mars (or another planet) or go extinct at some point. More likely we will find a way to leave this blue pebble. So the impossible must be possible. With UberPool, the idea that at any given point in time there are at least two people going from about the same location to about the same destination is non-obvious. It requires at least three assumptions. It is hard because you would have to gather and store mountains of data about where people actually go in a city. That kind of data analysis is only becoming available now. But Uber thought of it when they offered their first ride back in 2009. They were living in the future.
    • See what is missing in the world. You probably noticed that before Uber, taxi rides weren’t enjoyable. You probably noticed that before SpaceX people were less interested in space. But that is already the past. What is missing now? More importantly what is missing from your life now?
    • Write it down. No matter how smart you are, you will not remember all your insights. Your conversations with others, random observation, and shower thoughts that are worth following up on. Write these done or lose them. Daydreaming has value. Einstein had another name for it – thought experiment.
  • Make a prototype. Most of your thoughts, even the best ones, will never see the light of day sadly. You will forget them into oblivion even if you write them down. The only exceptions are those thoughts you prototype. Makethem physical if they can be – program them, design them, do anything that makes them more than just thoughts. Most people will stop right here. So if you do this, you are already ahead of the imaginary curve.
  • Show the prototype to 100 people. Now you will need to step out of your comfort zone and seek out people who will critique your prototype. Ideally, these are both people you already know and complete strangers. Why 100? Because you need a breadth of perspective and hopefully a pattern to recognize from all the feedback.
  • Iterate. Although a few people will get it right on the first try, the odds are you will not. So prepare to redo everything from scratch. This is your “founder MBA”, except it is free.
  • Find a co-founder. When the prototype starts making sense, go find another person who will pour a decade of their life into this project because it will change the world and they probably don’t have a more meaningful thing to do in life at the moment.
  • Register your business. Split equity. Finally, an easy step. Get a lawyer who will register your company. Give your co-founder as much equity as will make them work their hardest, while you keep as much as will make you give it your all.
  • Look for funding and build version one. Unless you have enough savings to build version one, go find an investor. While you are doing that build version one. You have to keep building because there is no guarantee about when or whether you find an investor. Don’t assume that you will just because other startups are getting funded. Assume the worst, and build your product.
  • Launch. By the time there is even an iota of usefulness in your product, launch it. Extra features, better interface, faster load time and other optimizations probably won’t save it, if the core features have no use.
  • Follow up with users. Are users coming back? Find out why they are not.
  • Launch again. Launch as many times as it takes. At some point, if at least a few dozen people are coming back on their own, you probably made something valuable.
  • Get to 1,000 users. This may not seem like a lot, but the first 1,000 users will show the weaknesses of what you have built. You probably will have to recruit them manually. How manually? Take their computer and open your website for them. Whatever it takes.
  • Grow. Paul Graham encourages startups to grow at least 5% a week. If you grow that much, within 4 years you will get to 25 million users. In other words, you will be one of the largest startups.
  • Success – whatever that is. You can IPO, sell your company to another or stay private by convincing investors that there is a bigger liquidity event coming. Even now, though, you may or may not have made the world better. WebVan IPO’ed, but quickly disappeared. Think about what kind of a dent in the universe you want to leave with your startup.

Last Updated: December 8, 2020 References

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New companies thrive on innovation. If you want to come up with a winning idea for a new company, you’ll need to set yourself up for success by learning to conduct market analysis and identify a gap in consumers’ needs, then develop a compelling vision to fill that desire with a new and undeniable product. See Step 1 to start learning how to start a new company.

How to start a startup

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Helena Ronis
Business Advisor Expert Interview. 23 January 2019.

  • Do market analysis to identify potential consumer needs and desires. If you’ve already got a great idea for an innovative product, think about who it is that will want to use and purchase your product or service. Be as specific as possible.
  • Consider important statistical factors in your potential consumer base that will help you plan your product and structure your company around its consumers:
    • Age of average customer
    • Socioeconomic status
    • Location (urban, rural)
    • Education
    • Spending habits

How to start a startup

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How to start a startup

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How to start a startup

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How to start a startup

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How to start a startup

u00a9 2020 wikiHow, Inc. All rights reserved. wikiHow, Inc. is the copyright holder of this image under U.S. and international copyright laws. This image is not licensed under the Creative Commons license applied to text content and some other images posted to the wikiHow website. This image may not be used by other entities without the express written consent of wikiHow, Inc.

Helena Ronis
Business Advisor Expert Interview. 23 January 2019. A business plan is an essential step in starting any company. A well-written business plan forces you to articulate the corporate philosophy for your company, the practical execution of your ideas in terms of marketing and funding, and a detailed description of your product or service. Your business plan needs to include:

  • Your vision for the company
  • Market research and consumer analysis
  • A detailed description of your corporate structure, including leadership and staff
  • Your marketing plan
  • A specific breakdown of costs needed to get your company off the ground
  • A personal appeal to potential investors

How to start a startup

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

How to start a startup

I’m not a legal or financial professional . . . I’ve just started and bootstrapped a lot of businesses. Building a company from the ground up is one of the most difficult things I have done.

If you are thinking of launching a startup, my hat goes off to you because it’s far from easy. Here are eight tips to help you avoid some of the common financial mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting a new business.

1. Cash flow management is key.

Most startups fail for a variety of reasons, but one is far more common than others — running out of money. You need to know where every single dollar is coming from and where every single dollar is going.

If you don’t stay on top of your cash flow, you are going to put your business in a very dangerous position. It doesn’t matter how good your idea might be when you run out of money you hit a brick wall. Establish a budget and stick to it.

2. Track and monitor all spending.

With a new startup, there are going to be expenses coming at you from every direction. Hiring a full-time staffer to handle the books in the beginning isn’t very budget-friendly, so use accounting software to remain organized.

Not only will this help with cash flow management, but it also makes it much easier when tax time rolls around every year. As you grow and the accounting becomes more complex, you will need to consider hiring a professional.

3. Limit your fixed expenses in the beginning.

In the beginning stages of a startup, keeping your expenses low is the key to longevity. You don’t need a huge elaborate office in the heart of your city or fully catered meals three times a day.

Operate thin so you can allocate the majority of your capital to growth, which will enable you to one day implement any perk you want. Too many startups focus on the wrong things — like fancy offices and over-the-top amenities — and forget that generating revenue should be their top priority.

4. Remain optimistic but prepare for the worst.

You never know what can happen when starting a business, so it is best to prepare yourself for the worst possible situation. Don’t quit your job and eliminate your main source of income until your business can replace that income.

Keep reserves — both personal and business — in an emergency savings account. You can never be too prepared for bad situations. Sadly, they do happen, often when you least expect them. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for your retirement, so when you start making money consider things like a Roth IRA and some investments, even small ones. Anything is better than nothing — consider micro-investing opportunities or allocating funds on a monthly basis to an online platform like E*TRADE. I found their fees to be on the low side.

5. Every minute of your time has monetary value.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet: time is money.

Nothing has more monetary value than your time. You only get so much of it every day, so take that into consideration when you are planning your schedule and day-to-day duties. Every second you spend doing something unrelated to your business is time (and money) wasted.

6. Focus on customer acquisition.

Without customers, you have no business. The sooner you figure out how to acquire customers and scale, the greater the chances are of your company making it. Once you identify different acquisition channels, work on optimization to lower your costs.

It’s impossible to test every possible acquisition channel at first, both in terms of time required and cost, so focus on the most lucrative opportunities. Once you successfully scale those, you’ll have the financial capability to explore other channels.

7. Make sure you pay yourself.

Your hard work and dedication to your business alone isn’t going to put food on your table — you need to pay yourself. While you don’t need to compensate yourself with a big fat salary in the beginning, make sure you pay yourself enough to live.

Give yourself enough to live comfortably and focus on building your business. When you eliminate personal financial stress, it allows you to stay ultra-focused on your business. You can’t eat ramen noodles forever. Give yourself some padding and comfort.

8. Establish financial goals.

Rather than just say, “I want to build a multi-million dollar company,” you need to break financial goals down into reachable and measurable ones.

Monthly, weekly or even daily revenue goals allow you to stay on track and make the adjustments necessary for constant growth. You can even set milestones to hit along the way, giving you a lot of smaller goals to constantly hit. Knocking out little goals can give you the confidence needed to keep powering through the entrepreneurial journey.

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. You should consult with an attorney or other financial professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.

Silicon Valley Investors Club (SVIC) is a global community of STEM professionals interested in making smarter investment and career decisions.

Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur and investor. He cofounded PayPal, led it as CEO, and took it public; he made the first outside investment in Facebook, where he serves as a director; and he cofounded Palantir Technologies, where he serves as chairman. He has recently released a pre-recorded video that focuses on what makes a business valuable and how to successfully expand your startup.

If you enjoyed these notes, please share them!!

In This Talk, You’ll Learn About:

  • What specifically makes a business valuable to a customer
  • How advertising is used online and globally to capture audiences
  • The story of Paypal and how it expanded to become the brand it is today
  • The marginal costs of software
  • Technological progress and innovation over the years

Episode Notes:

  • 00:03 Introduction and welcome of Peter Thiel.
  • 00:56 Capturing/creating value – what makes a business valuable.
  • 03:43 Pros and cons to the world of perfect competition.
  • 5:00 Two kinds of businesses in this world – perfectly competitive, and monopolies.
  • 06:45 Lies people tell about their businesses and how they work.
  • 7:55 Examples of how the lies work in practice.
  • 9:30 Is the intersection valuable – is it real, does it make sense?
  • 10:19 The Search market – the opposite lie.
  • 11:04 The advertising market – Online advertising, US advertising, and global advertising.
  • 11:30 Technology market – competition between cars, phones, social network.
  • 12:38 The evidence of the narrow markets in the tech industry.
  • 13:27 How to build a monopoly. Right size – start small and monopolize.
  • 15:02 Starting small and expanding – the PayPal story.
  • 18:44 Characteristics of monopoly businesses – proprietary technology, network effects. economies of scale branding.
  • 19:58 Characteristic of a monopoly technology company – PayPal and Amazon. comparison.
  • 21:36 Economies of scale – high fixed costs, low marginal costs, and branding.
  • 25:20 Time dimension to the characteristics.
  • 27:12 Value of the future – the last mover advantage.
  • 27:54 History of innovation – two slightly directions with this monopoly versus competition idea.
  • 28:27 Technological innovation – technological progress over the years.
  • 29:08 Valuable innovations – lack of reward for inventors.
  • 32:00 Vertically integrated complex monopolies.
  • 34:21 Software and economies of scale, low marginal costs.
  • 37:02 Psychology and competition – competition is for loser’s idea.
  • 38:1 Mimetic preferences – human nature and problematic behavior.
  • 38:36 Competitions as validation – does the intensity of competition make sense.
  • 42:23 Question and Answer session.

Recommended Book

Check out the Silicon Valley Investors Club (SVIC) Library for more great reads.

How to start a startup

How do you start a tech company with no money? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Tyler Denk, Co-Founder of VentureStorm, on Quora:

My co-founders and I launched VentureStorm as broke college students with absolutely no money. We’ve gone to incredible lengths to stretch every dollar and be as frugal as possible as a bootstrapped company.

Starting Off

Before you have a product, costumers, or revenue… you don’t need to file to become an LLC or C-Corp or whatever. It costs money to do so, and you’ll end up paying taxes on it as well. Step one is building the product. Being that it is a tech company, it’d be advantageous to either have a technical background yourself, or partner with someone who does.

You don’t need money to build the product. Assuming it’s a software tech company, you can write code and build the foundation of your company at no cost aside from you and/or your partner’s time.

Sell Before You Have a Product

This goes hand in hand with building a minimum viable product (MVP). Before dedicating hundreds of hours to build your product, you can sell potential customers on your solution. Contact your target market and pitch them on your idea as if it’s already built. Are people interested in what you are building? If so, don’t hesitate to ask for money. Tell them by purchasing an account now, they will receive a significant discount compared to when it launches.

There are different strategies to approach this. It’s essentially accepting pre-orders for your product. If you do it well, then that kind of moves you out of the ‘starting a tech startup with no money’ situation in the early stages. At the very least it’ll help a good bit and provide some flexibility and validation.

Sourcing Talent

Whether you need talent to initially build your product, or additional talent as you begin to grow your team and scale, there are plenty of options available. To find co-founders you could attend meet-up events or leverage your network for those with the skills you need. Without having money, outsourcing probably isn’t your best option. In my opinion, if you’re building a tech startup I don’t think you should outsource in general.

Quick shameless plug here (sorry), but some colleagues and I built VentureStorm to solve this exact problem and assist others in this situation. We allow entrepreneurs and startups to seamlessly connect with talented developers interested in working with startups. It’s not uncommon to see many transactions to be primarily equity based for co-founder positions – so there are options available to source talent without money.

Most people think building the product is the hardest part… it’s not. Once you have a finished product you are really just getting started. Now the name of the game is getting people to know who you are and what you do. Many startups who raised millions pre-launch are typically spoiled and will immediately pour thousands into ad campaigns.

Having no money puts you at a disadvantage in some respect, but will teach you how to guerrilla market and grow your audience organically. My team and I have utilized the grittiest techniques to reach our users, and have sort of become “experts” at growing our user base without spending money.

    Find where your target market hangs out online and assimilate yourself into those communities.

  • Facebook groups.
  • Slack Channels.
  • Subreddits on Reddit.
  • Specific topics on Quora.
  • Websites/platforms specific to your target market.
  • Launch your product on sites that are free to use and could result in a ton of publicity or user growth.
    • Product Hunt.
    • HackerNews.
    • BetaList.
  • Attend meetup events that involve your target market and make personal connections.
  • Form mutually beneficial partnerships with companies and organizations.
  • Don’t Avoid Opportunities For Money

    There is actually a ton of money available out there… for free in many instances. When we launched VentureStorm while in college, we received a decent amount of equity-free grant money for applying to different grants and winning pitch competitions. Most universities have similar opportunities.

    Outside of college campuses, there is grant money available from a ton of organizations. There are plenty of pitch competitions available nation-wide and locally. Depending on how entrepreneurial you’re feeling, you could always do something like drive for Uber on the weekends to source money for your startup venture.

    We were fortunate to secure some grant money (although not much), which helped us sustain the company in times when growth was slow. However, we have maintained operating the company at a very very low cost due to many of the techniques described above.

    This question originally appeared on Quora. the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

    Make your PC boot from a USB flash drive or external hard drive

    How to start a startup

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    There are lots of reasons you might want to boot from a USB device, like an external hard drive or a flash drive, but it’s usually so you can run special kinds of software.

    When you boot from a USB device, what you’re doing is running your computer with the operating system installed on the USB device. When you start your computer normally, you’re running it with the operating system installed on your internal hard drive—Windows, Linux, etc.

    Time Required: Booting from a USB device usually takes 10–20 minutes, but it depends a lot on if you have to make changes to how your computer starts up.

    How to Boot From a USB Device

    Follow these easy steps to boot from a flash drive, an external hard drive, or some other bootable USB device.

    How to start a startup

    If the USB boot option is not first in the boot order, your PC will start “normally” (i.e., boot from your hard drive) without even looking at any boot information that might be on your USB device.

    The BIOS on most computers lists the USB boot option as USB or Removable Devices, but some confusingly list it as a Hard Drive option, so be sure to dig around if you’re having trouble finding the right one to choose.

    After setting your USB device as the first boot device, your computer will check it for boot information each time your computer starts. Leaving your computer configured this way shouldn’t cause problems unless you plan on leaving the bootable USB device attached all the time.

    Attach the USB device to your computer via any available USB port.

    How to start a startup

    Creating a bootable flash drive or configuring an external hard drive as bootable is a task in itself. Chances are you made it to these instructions here because you know whatever USB device you have should be bootable after properly configuring BIOS.

    See our How to Burn an ISO File to a USB Drive tutorial for general instructions on doing exactly that, which tends to be the reason most people need to figure out how to boot from one.

    Since you’re not actually inside of the operating system at this point, restarting isn’t the same as using normal restart buttons. Instead, BIOS should explain which key to press—such as F10—to save the boot order changes and restart the computer.

    Watch for a Press any key to boot from external device. message.

    How to start a startup

    You may be prompted with a message to press a key on some bootable devices before the computer boots from the flash drive or another USB device.

    If this happens, and you do nothing, your computer will check for boot information on the next boot device in the list in BIOS (see Step 1), which will probably be your hard drive.

    Most of the time, when trying to boot from a USB device, there is no key-press prompt. The USB boot process usually starts immediately.

    Your computer should now boot from the flash drive or USB based external hard drive.

    What happens now depends on what the bootable USB device was intended for. If you’re booting from Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7 installation files on a flash drive, the operating system setup will begin. If you’re booting from a DBAN flash drive you created, it will start. You get the idea.

    What to Do When the USB Device Won’t Boot

    If you tried the above steps, but your computer didn’t boot from the USB device, check out some of the tips below. There are several places that this process can get hung up at.

    Recheck the boot order in BIOS (Step 1). The number one reason a bootable flash drive or another USB device won’t boot is that BIOS isn’t configured to check the USB port first.

    Didn’t find a “USB Device” boot order listing in BIOS? If your computer was manufactured around 2001 or before, it might not have this ability.

    If your computer is newer, check for some other ways that the USB option might be worded. In some BIOS versions, it’s called “Removable Devices” or “External Devices.”

    Remove other USB devices. Other connected USB devices, like printers, external media card readers, etc., could be consuming too much power or causing some other problem, preventing the computer from booting from a flash drive or another device. Unplug all other USB devices and try again.

    Or, if you have multiple bootable devices plugged in at once, the computer might simply be booting to the wrong device, in which case the easiest fix would be to remove all USB storage devices but the one you want to use right now.

    Copy the files to the USB device again. If you created the bootable flash drive or external hard drive yourself, which you probably did, repeat whatever steps you took again. You may have made a mistake during the process.

    See How to Burn an ISO File to USB if you started with an ISO image. Getting an ISO file onto a USB drive, like a flash drive, isn’t as easy as just expanding or copying the file there.

    Switch to another USB port. The BIOS on some motherboards only checks the first few USB ports. Switch to another USB port and restart your computer.

    Update your motherboard’s BIOS. If your computer is ancient, the BIOS version running on the motherboard may not support booting directly from a USB device. Try flashing the BIOS and checking again for this feature.

    How to start a startup

    This story was written in collaboration with Forbes Finds. Forbes Finds covers products and experiences we think you’ll love. Featured products are independently selected and linked to for your convenience. If you buy something using a link on this page, Forbes may receive a small share of that sale.

    Microsoft cofounders Paul Allen and Bill Gates in 1984. (Photo by © Doug Wilson/CORBIS/Corbis/ Getty . [+] Images)

    Having a vision or creating a prototype is one thing. Building it into a successful, scalable business is quite another. It’s no wonder plenty of would-be founders sit on their innovations for long stretches: Taking the first step can seem ridiculously daunting and complicated.

    Are you bound and determined not to wait any longer to realize your dream of becoming the boss? I recommend you absorb tons of advice as you embark on your startup journey. Begin with the following books written by been-there, done-that brand builders who share their most important entrepreneurial tips, tidbits and trials. I guarantee you’ll feel more prepared and inspired after spending time with these works.

    If you’re tired of business-building jargon and want encouragement from someone truly passionate about the art of growing organizations, Jean Paul Paulynice is your guru. His book offers a concrete action plan for launching and growing your business: You just need to supply the enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Whether you’re just contemplating starting a business or have already taken the first steps, get ready to become a more self-aware, strategic founder. I’m always game for looking inward; From Idea to Reality offered me some welcome professional improvement pointers.

    Not a parent? No worries—despite the title, this book is for everyone. Sure, it lays out the skills that kids need to understand to grow into pragmatic professionals. But many of us didn’t learn these positive patterns and behaviors growing up, and we deserve to develop them now. As a founder myself, this book made a strong impression on me as I evaluated my entrepreneurial odyssey and the resiliency and skills I still need to move forward. As an added bonus, How to Raise a Founder With Heart gives entrepreneurial moms and dads a playbook for rearing future makers and doers.

    The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster by Darren Hardy

    Entrepreneurship’s a wild ride, but it’s well worth buying a ticket—as long as you’re prepared for the highs and lows. Daren Hardy lays out a method for anticipating and surviving the rough spots that cause so many entrepreneurial dreamers to miss out on the enjoyment of the overall experience. I’ve ridden the beast myself and nodded in agreement more than once while reading this book. After exploring The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, you’ll be better positioned to explore and act on your enterprise-creation desires.

    We all put up barriers to success, such as believing we need fancy degrees to become CEOs. Raegan Moya-Jones illustrates how raw grit and guts can help you buck the status quo if you’re willing to think big and ignore the naysayers. Her nonconformist route to entrepreneurship was far from a Harvard Business School case study, making it a breath of fresh air to read about. There have been times in my career when I’ve relied on instincts over established protocols, so I get this author to the core.

    At least 10 times a day, I learn something I wish I’d known decades ago. Tina Seelig’s book gives emerging entrepreneurs a head start by laying out the coolest truths of business building. By reading What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, you’ll learn things you would never be taught in any other bestseller. For instance, when starting your company, you may want to pretend your seed funding doesn’t exist. Can’t imagine how this method could produce serious dividends? Read this book and find out why it works.

    Let’s face it: Starting a business is one of the riskier things you can do. In Choose, Ryan Levesque cuts that risk down by providing a framework for readers to follow that will allow them to lead with passion without making avoidable errors. His step-by-step methodology for evaluating the potential of any business starts with the “who” and ends with the output value. I appreciate the way he lays out his strategy for analyzing a startup’s likely viability based on simple, yet too often overlooked, factors.

    Sometimes, you just need a basic workbook to fuel your entrepreneurial engine. Ken Colwell’s guide is exactly the motivational inspiration to lead you through those heady first months when you’re driven by excitement and nerves—and maybe a little caffeine. I like the fact that Colwell gives readers exclusive access to additional resources after they buy his book. You’ll find yourself reaching for Starting a Business QuickStart Guide more times than you expect, even after your startup is already humming.

    How to start a startup

    Co-founder Courageous Leadership

    Rhett is responsible for helping corporate leadership take the actions needed to drive impact and courage in their teams that will improve

    Co-founder Courageous Leadership

    Rhett is responsible for helping corporate leadership take the actions needed to drive impact and courage in their teams that will improve organizational performance.

    Rhett has a track record as an entrepreneur and understands the ins and outs of inspiring teams and running meaningful business. He co-founded Wild Creations in 2007 and quickly built the startup toy company into Inc. Magazine’s 500 Fastest-Growing US Companies. He was a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2011 and was nominated again in 2012. After a successful exit from the toy company, Rhett was named the best Small Business Coach in the United States. In 2019 he joined the prestigious Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches and was named the #1 Thought Leader on Entrepreneurship by Thinkers360. He is a Fellow at The Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate.

    Rhett is an acclaimed author, leader, entrepreneur and regular contributor to Forbes. He travels the globe speaking about entrepreneurship and management alongside the likes of former Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and AOL Founder Steve Case. He has been featured in the Huffington Post, Business Insider, The Hill, Time, The Wall Street Journal and CNN Money. He developed a love of teaching and service to others in the US Peace Corps and truly enjoys helping others take courageous action to accomplish their dreams.

    How to start a startup

    Ever since the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi, launched the Startup India program, there has been an incredible surge in the number of startups coming up.

    With tax exemptions, benefits and help provided by the government, more and more people are creating a company of their own. The most fascinating thing is that a majority of the startups have young founders and owners, which speaks volumes about the incredible creative minds that India has.

    Since they did not have the backing of the government earlier and had to do everything on their own, not many people got into it with all their heart. However, ever since the program started, people are now brave knowing that the government will back them in the process and hence are coming up with new ideas.

    People do have ideas but many of them have no clue about starting a company or how to convert that idea into a business venture. People do not have an idea about how to register their company as a startup.

    Moreover, some people do not even know if their company falls into the category of a startup or not. Keeping all such things in mind, we have created a blog post to help you in this regard by explaining the eligibility criteria to be called a startup and the procedure to register your company as one.

    Before going deep into the dynamics of the eligibility and procedure, let us understand what exactly a startup is.

    What is a startup?

    A startup is a business managed by the collection of a few people that solves a problem.

    Such companies come into formation when the founders find some negatives in the existing system they have been working in and intend to solve the issues by creating a new company of their own.

    Apart from this, a startup can also come into existence when the founder(s) come with a potentially great idea. The services such startups provide are the services they think currently exist in inferior quality or do not exist at all.

    The biggest advantage of a startup is that it improves employment in the country as it is the direct result of more and more companies coming up. With the possibility of increased job opportunities, the Indian government has tried to help young companies grow and thrive in the Indian market. The Startup India initiative helps you to innovate and improve economic sustainable development.

    Now that you have a better idea about what a startup is and what Startup India talks about, let us look into what all companies qualify as a Startup in India.

    The startup eligibility criteria

    What makes you a startup under the Startup India program?

    • The firm has to be a private limited company or a limited liability partnership
    • The company remains a startup for the first ten years, post the date of registration. In the recent past, the Indian government changed that to 10 years from 7 years to give opportunities and tax exemptions for the companies for a longer run
    • The company remains a startup if the turnover per year does not cross the Rs 100 crore mark in any of the 10 years. Once the company crosses the mark, it no longer remains eligible to be called a startup. The mark of Rs 100 crore too has been improved by the Indian government in the recent past from Rs 25 crore
    • The firm should have approval from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)
    • The firm should be funded by an Incubation Fund, an Angel Fund or a Private Equity Fund
    • A patron guarantee from the Indian Patent and Trademark office is necessary
    • You must have a recommendation letter by an incubation
    • The firm must come up with innovative ideas and schemes
    • All the details regarding the funding must be registered with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India)

    Procedure for registering a startup in India

    Step 1: Incorporate your business

    First things first, you need to incorporate your business as a Private Limited Company or a Limited Liability Partnership or a Partnership firm. You just need to follow the normal procedure that includes you filling up a form to get the registration.

    Step 2: Register under Startup India

    Now you need to register your firm or company as a startup in the Startup India scheme of the government. You just need to fill the form available for you on the Startup India website. You have to fill in all the details and upload a certain number of documents as well.

    Step 3: Documents you need to upload in a PDF format only

    1. You need a letter of recommendation along with the registration form. You can get any one of the following recommendation letters.
    • A recommendation letter from an Incubator known in a post-graduate college in India, in a format approved by the DIPP. This is regarding the innovative nature of the business; OR
    • A recommendation letter from an incubator that the Government of India funds as part of any specified scheme to promote innovation; OR
    • A letter from any of the Incubators, recognized by the Government of India, in DIPP format.
    • A letter of funding not less than 20% in equity, by an Incubation Fund, Private Equity Fund, Angel Fund, Accelerator, Private Equity Fund, registered with SEBI that endorses the innovative nature of business; OR
    • A recommendation later by the Central or any State Government of India; OR
    • A patent filed and published in the Journal of Indian Patent office in areas affiliated with the nature of the business being promoted.
    1. Registration or Incorporation Certificate

    You need to upload the certificate of incorporation of your company or LLP, or the registration certificate for a partnership company.

    1. Brief description of your business

    Step 4: You need to mention if you need tax exemption

    In India, startups do not have to pay income tax for the first three years but to avail such benefits, the company must be certified by the Inter-Ministerial Board (IMB). This is where companies registered with DIPP get relaxation as the registration is enough to get the benefits.

    Step 5: Self-certification of the following conditions

    • You are a Private limited company, an LLP or a partnership firm.
    • Your business must be incorporated or registered in India, not before 5 years.
    • Your company’s turnover must not be more than Rs 100 crore.
    • The company has to keep innovating something new or making the existing system better in its own way.
    • Your business must be a fresh idea and not a splitting up or reconstruction of an existing business.

    Step 6: Get your recognition number

    On application of this registration, you will get a recognition number with immediate effect. You get the certificate of registration or incorporation only after the authority goes through all your uploaded documents.

    You need to be careful while uploading the data, as any discrepancy in it can cause you a huge fine of up to 50% of your paid-up capital or Rs 25,000 at the very least.

    Now that you know the eligibility and registration criteria for a startup, enrol your company as well into the Startup India scheme and reap all the benefits provided by the government.

    What do you need to do to start a business? There are dozens of websites including ours that have checklists that remind you of the many tasks you should perform when starting a business. Although such checklists are very useful because they help you remember important startup steps, they are just To Do lists. They tell you what to do, but don’t provide any tips about what makes a business successful.

    Unfortunately, you don’t succeed in business just by completing a list of tasks. Nor will your business be a success just because you think it’s a good idea.

    What will make or break your business? What determines if it will be a success?

    Here are 16 tips for starting a business and making it succeed.

    1. Know yourself, your true motivational level, the amount of money you can risk, and what you’re willing to do to be successful. Sure, we all want to make millions of dollars. But what are you willing to give up to reach that goal? How many hours a week will you work on an ongoing basis? How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to stretch? How far will your family stretch with you? To be successful, keep your business plans in line with your personal and family goals and resources.
    2. Choose the right business for you. The old formula – find a need and fill it – still works. It will always work. The key to success is finding needs that you can fill, that you want to fill, and that will produce enough income to build a profitable business.
    3. Be sure there really is a market for what you want to sell. One of the biggest mistakes startups make is to assume a lot of people will want to buy a particular product or service because the business owner likes the ideas or knows one or two people who want the product or service. To minimize your risk for loss, never assume there is a market. Research the idea. Talk to real potential prospects (who aren’t family and friends) to find out if what you want to sell is something they’d be interested in buying, and if so, what they’d pay for the product or service.
    4. Research your competitors. No matter what type of business you are starting or running, you will have competitors. Even if there is no other business offering exactly what you plan to sell, there is very likely to be other products or services your target customers are using to satisfy their need. To be successful, you need to research the competition and find out as much as possible about what they sell and how they sell it. Competitive research is something you should plan on doing on an ongoing basis, too. If there really aren’t any other competitors, it’s possible there isn’t a market or a real need for what you want to sell.
    5. Plan to succeed. If you’re not seeking investors or putting a huge sum of money into your business, you may not need an elaborate business plan, but you still do need a plan – one that specifies your goal – your destination – and then lays out at least a skeletal roadmap for how you’ll get to where you want to go. The plan will change as you progress and learn more about your customers and competition, but it will still help you stay focused and headed in the right direction. Use our business planning worksheet to help develop that basic plan.
    6. Know the Operational Needs. Most people who are thinking about starting a business focus on what they’ll sell and who they’ll sell it too. What they often don’t consider is how the business will actually operate. For instance, if you’re selling items, how will they be delivered? How much customer support will be needed – either to answer questions about the product or to respond to people whose shipments haven’t arrived? Will you need to accept credit cards? Will you invoice customers? Who will follow up to be sure you’re paid? Who will build and maintain your website and social media presence? Will you be able to use a virtual assistant for such tasks, or will you have to hire employees? Even if you’re starting a small personal service business, these are issues you should consider and plan for.
    7. Don’t procrastinate. I’ve heard some people advise would-be business owners to not move ahead with their business until they have investigated every last detail of the business they want to start and are absolutely sure it’s all going to work and be profitable. The problem with that approach is that it leads to procrastination. No one ever really has all the pieces in place – even after they’ve started their business. Yes, you need to research the market, have a rudimentary plan in place, and do things like getting a tax id if needed, register with local officials, if required, etc. But if you try to make everything perfect before you launch, you may never get around to starting your business at all.
    1. Start on a small scale before going all out. Some people believe that entrepreneurs are risk-takers. But for the most part, successful entrepreneurs don’t like walking blindfolded on a limb. Instead, they take controlled risks. They test an idea on a small scale, then build on what works well, tweak what shows promise, and discard the disasters.
    2. Don’t fixate on mistakes or get demoralized by them. The difference between successful people and everyone else is that the successful people learn from their mistakes and move on. They don’t dwell on failure, blame the economy, curse their bad luck, or blame other people for their fate. If the path to their goal is blocked, they look for an alternate path or sometimes choose a different, more attainable goal.

    Free Business Startup Checklist

    Starting a business can be overwhelming! Use this free Business Startup Checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important steps. This downloadable Word document lists the steps you need to take to get your business up and running, and includes space for you to note your own comments and deadlines. You can get the checklist free when you subscribe to the free Business Know-How Newsletter.

    © 2020 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

    About the author:
    Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets. Follow Janet on Twitter and on LinkedIn