I have an idea and I am looking to take it to the next step by developing a MVP. What do you recommend I do? Hire a freelance web developer, find a co-founder, find a mentor?
First, hat tip to you for being a young entrepreneur. Keep it up!
If you have the funds to build out your MVP, hire a developer and possibly a mentor. If your idea is marketable, you don't need to give up equity by bringing in a co-founder.
If this is your entrepreneurial venture, I would recommend you do retain a coach to help you see all the things you may not know.
Have you already done your SWOT analysis? Have you identified your target market? What is your marketing plan? What will be your operating expenses?
There are lots of questions to ask. If you would a free call, I'd be happy to help you in more detail.
Just use this link to schedule your free call...
No one has the answers that you seek (that sounds like Jedi)...
You have to understand your own skills and abilities -- and where your ability and the demand in the market cross paths...
The simple answer:
1. Follow your own instincts and do things differently than others
2. Save all your money - like seriously don't buy anything you don't need
3. Get your financial education first (this is where a mentor can speed up the process)
4. Invest your money wisely and prove you can manage it
5. Now start a business
But no one wants to follow that path because it "seems" too slow.
First off - remember that no one will ever do it for you. And no one will ever have the recipe that you need because there is no perfect recipe. Business is as much an artform as it is science. There are many ways to win and more ways to lose. Think about improving yourself first and foremost. Learn as much as you can about money first. Then go for your passion. For most entrepreneurs, they refuse to get the financial education first, so they dive in head first and learn through massive failure. This is a painful path but if you are persistent and willing to grow, you'll eventually get there. Other Clarity members mention getting a mentor. As a youngster you have both an advantage and disadvantage. Older people will think your "ideas" are cute and they will be patient with you when you fail...on the other hand, most successful people do not spend time with people like you because they know 99.9% of you are posers. You think you want a business, for this minute. Then you want to go party and watch TV and be a "consumer" psychologically. So smart people make you prove that you can do all these basic self-discipline steps on your own first. Call the Small Business Association and go through all their steps first -- then you will have proven you even deserve to get a mentor. Likewise, you can shortcut the whole thing if you or your family is connected to generous wealthy people. Call them up, ask them if you can share an idea with them over lunch to get their feedback. After doing this 30 times, some awesome person will volunteer to help you and the doors will open from there. Never give up. Be patient.
Another path is follow "Think and Grow Rich" exactly. Napoleon Hill lays out a recipe for success, but most people are too lazy or have too little willpower to follow it.
Your best bet in my humble opinion:
If you want to build a MVP - ask someone to loan you money and buy the AppSumo course for starting a business. In fact, email Noah Kagan and demand a copy. Tell him that you will pay him back with interest when you make your money back from his course. Appeal to his honor and passion as an entrepreneur and just get his damn course already. Watch the Youtube videos with Noah and Tim Ferriss. This is the way to bootstrap a MVP in the modern age. Don't re-invent the wheel. Use tried and true recipes that have already worked for others just give it your unique spin. Even if you can't convince him to help, you will learn a lot in the process -- I promise he will give you that.
If you want to be a business owner, you have to start thinking about all the reasons you can win (like convincing Noah so you can keep your money to start your business) and just get to work. Everyone will tell you that you will fail. Just smile and remember that no one has the answers ;-)
Oh yeah, and when you have money to take it to the next level, then pay a Clarity coach (NOT YET). See above how Kevin extended a free invitation to talk? Take him up on it and prove to yourself that you will take action. Prove to yourself that you are serious. Prove that you are willing to do the work instead of getting stuck thinking too much.
Follow the Lean Startup methodology. Step 1, talk to potential customers and see if they'll buy what you're selling (ie. validated learning).
Reaching out to someone who's done it before is always a good idea.
If you're 16, odds are you have enough time to learn & build it on your own.
It will very low risk and everything you learn along the way will stay with you.
Congratulations on being a young entrepreneur. First I would say to make sure you have a coach. A coach is vital to your success.
Then I would say make sure to identify your target market. Then market to them the idea of the product or service. I would not recommend creating a prototype without knowing if anyone will be interested. This will save you time, effort, and money. Also if the market doesn't receive your product, make some adjustments to find what works. Stay with it. Welcome to the entrepreneur journey. Best wishes!
Great going! I have actually mentored a few teenagers who created businesses.
My advice -- read a business book a week. Take 3 things from the book and put them to use. If you're not sure where to start, you'll find a link to my books list below.
Start with the book a One Page Business Plan(r) I have a description of the book at www.CoachMaria.com/books/ Put your ideas into words in a way that help you plan for your start-up and business growth on one page.
That's amazing. Many successful entrepreneurs have started in their teenage years.
I definitely think a freelance developer should be hired and I interview web designers, so I can act as your CTO and find you the write web developer.
I am not sure you need a co-founder unless you want someone to share your ideas and implement them with you or if you have too many ideas for one person to implement.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is for you to plan.
1. Write a business plan - You can find many templates on the web for business plan.
2. Write a marketing plan which will include viral marketing and social media.
3. Right a finance plan on how you plan to pay investors.
Getting the word out:
1. Find investors once you have your business plan written.
2. Attend angel investor meetings in your area
Getting the Assistance You Need:
1. See if there are other people in your school who would want to join you and help get things done.
2. Hire a lawyer to write you up a partnership deal / agreement / contract.
Find a mentor. A mentor will provide you so much insight that will allow you save time and money on your project. I also recommend you "fail fast". What I mean by that is start taking steps to get data, don't worry about being perfect or making mistakes. You're young and you can use that to your advantage. Look at other young entrepreneurs and learn where they hang out and who they follow on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. The mechanics of a business isn't the most important part. It's the implementation of the idea. It's actually "taking action" so you can get your prototype crated. Then you can tweak it and get more data. The exciting part is your in the mindset of working for yourself instead of a boss. That is a powerful mindset at the age of 16 for sure.
I hope this served you.
Remember... be a servant,
I became an entrepreneur very young too. So here is my advise. Don't think too much if your idea is good or bad, find a problem a specific group of people have and then offer them a way to solve it and charge for it. (Follow lean startup) keep it simple!
Hope this answers your question. It would be great to know if you actually went for it!
most of the foregoing are spot on. Find the one that suits your style. No use putting the correct shoes on the wrong feet and then trying to run. The suggestion way up top about engaging a Business Coach gets my two thumbs up (yes I am a Coach) and I wish I'd have had the option when I was starting, growing, buying, selling and reviving my own businesses. One specific that can slip by is to avoid ongoing recurring expenses, things that self renew every month whether you use it or not. For the first while there are economical ways without that monthy cash drain out of the gate. Enjoy your business :-)
Find a mentor who has been down that path and may be able to connect you with valued partners, resources, and buyers.
Hire a freelance web developer, preferably one recommended, and be sure they sign an non-disclosure agreement.
Watch "Shark Tank!"
Many young people have used my book Core Value Proposition to test their idea and prepare a basic development plan. I'm here to help.
So I joke with my friends about this all the time. When I hear about a high school kid building some million dollar app, I say if programming was as easy as it is now when I was 16 with all the free time I had I would be a millionaire too. If you have the money to invest in a freelancer and you have a well thought out idea then that is one rout you can go, but this might be a good time to learn some development yourself. If learning yourself is not an option then I might suggest perhaps you might want to entertain the idea looking for a technical co-founder in you network. I know some people oppose adding a co-founder at this point but I think there are a few thing you should keep in mind. Depending on how validated your idea is already you probably have to do quiet a bit of iteration and feature changes to get to MVP and that will cost increasingly more money. The other thing to take into consideration is your age, some investors will be apprehensive towards investing in you (not your idea) so to over coming that your app will probably need to be further along. Both of these concerns are addressed by bringing on a technical co-founder, yes you will lose some equity but what good is having 100% of nothing.
Just do it. Find a buddy that knows how to develop code and just get started.
One of my son's good childhood friends did just that with a small team of high school buddies and started a web development company. He didn't follow any methods. He just followed his instincts. After graduation, he ended up going to Stanford but then spent most of his time working on a start-up and working a job with venture folks out in Silicon Valley. Now he's put Stanford on hold while he pursues the start-up.
Best of luck.
First of all, you are amazing. Secondly, yes do all three, hire a freelancer, find a co-founder, and find a mentor. Then follow all of my advice below.
Always specialize and find a niche. But do not find a ditch instead of a niche. Let me explain.
You can actually find several or even 100's of niches and specialize in each. Note that this very different from trying to appeal to everybody with the same product. However, nobody on here will be able to tell you the gaps in the software development market. But, I can tell you how to find the answer to your question. You can do this through testing, pre-launching, and launching. Your potential customers will give you the answers if you follow the techniques below.
Test, test, test. You should run several split tests using different videos within the campaign and drive customers to take some concrete, measurable actions. This action can be signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, signing up for a White Paper, signing up for a free bonus, etc. But you have to key each of these along with the video to make sure that the actual video is driving the actual action.
I am sharing other information from my other posts below in hopes that this also helps you.
Boot Strapping or Million Dollar Marketing. Here is the formula.
I am adding information below that I have shared with others.
If you were looking for a doctor, you would go to a hospital. If you were fishing you might use worms even if worms disgusted you. You would not use ice cream to catch a fish even if you yourself love ice cream for obvious reasons. The fish nor the customers don’t care what you like or what you want. They only care about what they want. Customers instinctively think “What’s in it for me?” Understanding this is the key to marketing. And understanding marketing is the key to get whatever you want in life or business.
For investors, try contacting owners of existing similar companies. They have more money and experience than you. Have them sign an NDA when possible before discussing your business proposition.
So, here are several of my marketing solutions:
Here is $10,000 worth of information for free and in a nutshell. (each of these proven concepts could actually be worth millions of dollars in the right hands).
I like your idea. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as say, it is a great idea. So...don't give up. But don't keep beating your head against the wall either. You have to get over the wall.
You have to quit focusing on marketing and sales tactics and focus on a strategy. How do you to this? You have to come up with a really solid USP. Why would a customer choose you over others similar companies? Find the answer to this before you continue with your marketing strategy.
Secondly, you need an irresistible offer.
Thirdly, you need to offer an unbelievable guarantee. By doing this and following the directions below on pre-launch and launch you should be a lot closer to getting real solid customers.
I didn't actually invent the pre-launch or the launch. Concert goers are very familiar with winning concert tickets by calling into radio stations or winning VIP treatment, or back stage passes, lunch with a star, the list goes on.
Likewise, if you look at "professional wrestling" or boxing, or MMA, the whole fighting before the fight is just a pre-launch. Unfortunately, even heroin dealers use a pre-launch technique better than most business people. PT Barnum was doing this for circus goers over 100 years earlier. And I can only imagine the pre-launch of the Romans for the Gladiator Fights.
In more recent history, every type of business from Retail Stores to Real Estate companies have used multiple pre-launch techniques. Believe me; tourists are bombarded with Condo deals when they visit Disney Land.
This is similar, but different from lead generation, another power marketing concept along with backend sales techniques (I don't have the enough space to discuss these and other powerful techniques here). But I use these techniques in my own businesses including offering free information packed newsletters and encouraging my clients to move up my sales ladder because it is best for them. Most do move up the sales ladder as their ambition and drive increases. Some move all the way up from the very beginning. Both benefit from this, one just takes longer to receive the benefits. Others will never take a chance on becoming successful.
Okay, to pre-launch campaigns for SaaS platforms, a startup, or any product or service. Simply, come up with a taste of what you have, ask a serious question and answer it. At the end of the end of the first "answer and solution" set the potential client up with another problem that is very familiar to them. Convince them that you have the answer. Follow this technique several times. Most do this repetition 2 or 3 times, but a famous golfer has sent me literally dozens of how to videos in order for me to take the bait.
You might think that giving the answer to a solution makes your product less valuable and your opinion less valuable. If you think that…then you would be wrong. Heck, look at what I have given out in this answer alone. But, this is just the microscopic tip of my business and marketing knowledge. My experience is if you give you will receive. That is…if you know what to give, how much to give, and how to receive.
I am not trying to convince you to call me. Frankly, most people cannot afford to call me and I am very selective about who I accept as my clients. Besides, I am pretty busy with my own businesses and consulting with some very high paying customers. However, I would need more info from you before I could have a greater impact in helping you.
Most solutions involved this: Ask, Ask, Ask, then Ask again.
Concentrate on the 3 M's of Marketing. I have come up with 7 M’s of Marketing, but 3 will do for now. These are Market, Message, and Media. They come in that order.
Who is your target market (customer, clients, buyers, users, etc.)?
Tailor your laser focused message for this target market.
What is the best media mix to get your message to that market?
Here's what you do...first, take steps to make sure that you are actually selling something that a hungry crowd wants like a baby wants milk, then…make an offer that is so incredible that they cannot resist. Secondly, do all the work for them. Make it so easy to make the purchase now that they can do it virtually without effort. Thirdly, give them an incentive to act right now. Fourthly, offer an almost unbelievable guarantee. Fifth, offer a bonus for acting now. There are many other incredible steps in my playbook, but these steps should help the novice to the professional sell anything.
Whether you are selling B2B or B2C, you have to focus on selling to only one person. You can actually sell to one person at a time while selling to millions at a time. These are one and the same. Don't get off track. What we call digital marketing selling is just selling in print. And that has not changed since in the last couple of thousand years.
The secret to success: I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with some of the biggest names in business, celebrities, actors, entrepreneurs, business people, and companies from startup to billion dollar operations. The number one reason for their success is doing what they know and love while doing it in new, creative, and innovative ways.
Ask, Ask, Ask. Have thick skin and learn from each "mistake." In a short while, the market will tell you what you need to do and who and what you need to ask. But get started now, even if that just means asking a contact on LinkedIn.
While you are thinking, you might as well think really big and think of something at least 1% better, newer, or different. And being cheaper is not a winning strategy.
Make decisions quickly and change decisions slowly…unless you are actually going off a cliff.
Remember these two 11 letter words...persistence and consistency. They are two of the most important tools ever invented.
Even better yet, remember my 411 Rule of Achievement – It consists of (4) eleven letter words for super achievement (also an 11 letter word). Here it is, my 411 Rule of Super Achievement:
Consistency can change even the smallest
Possibility into a big time
Persistence + Consistency =
By the way, I get a lot of people asking me if I can take phone calls for free (a free sample). Sorry, I can’t. I respect Clarity.fm and what they are trying to accomplish. And I wouldn’t if I could. The information that I offer is just too valuable to give away for free. I used to give information away for free and nobody used it. I found that when I charge $3,000/hour people paid attention and actually used my unique techniques, strategies, and tactics. Without taking action on this incredible information or paying someone to take action, you will not succeed no matter how “lucky” you may be.
Treat everybody you talk to and everybody you meet (including yourself) like each is your number one million dollar customer.
Remember this for most people who really want to achieve a dream:
First: Your dreams are important and those who don’t support and believe in your dreams either don’t understand your desire and ambition or they have some other reason (many times reasons they themselves don’t understand) for not wanting you to spend the time and effort necessary to achieve your dreams.
Secondly: If you haven’t achieved your dreams and goals so far, it is not your fault. I know that this goes against what you usually hear, but it is true. Stop blaming yourself. You have a whole world of obstacles that are truly to blame. You only need to figure out how to go over, go under, go through, go around, or go with these obstacles in the direction of your dreams.
Thirdly: Fear is normal, but don’t give into it. Use it to motivate you and guide you.
Fourth: You are right; there are probably some people who don’t want you to succeed.
Fifth: Keep this in mind, there are people competing to get there first, do more, have more, invent what you are considering inventing, or simply trying to win. Believing in yourself and what you are doing is part of a powerfull strategy for winning over your competition.
I also always suggest that everybody at every stage work with a coach, mentor, or consultant. Heck, it works for Tiger Woods, every team in the NFL, the NBA, and etc. We all need guidance and support.
Best of luck,
Take massive action and never give up.
Michael Irvin, MBA, RN
PS – Many people have “Upvoted” my answers. Thanks to those who do this. I really appreciated.
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Congratulations man! Some short tips.
- have a coach that understand you are young enough to take responsibilities and take you seriously.
- who you want really reach? No b*****t target market, define it! .
-test the market with some free tools/webside or crowdfunding campaign first.
CREATE MOMENTUM, continue feedbacking your BM and get feedback from all the people. I was selling newspaper at 14 years old. none were taking me seriously so i went to some old guys, made them selling my papers and payed per commission. I made more money at the end :)