There are a near-infinite amount of items for you to do when you first start a new venture and in many ways it’s incredibly difficult to even begin to catalog them all in a way that makes sense and, at the very least, actionable.
And even if you’ve done it before (with success even!) it can still be a daunting task and one that can put you underwater quickly if you don’t have at least a few actionable items locked-in so that you can knock them out. I know as I’ve been walking through this myself as I launch a new Code School here in Atlanta.
But for those who are beginning completely fresh and are going to attempt their first virgin-adventure into the startup world I’d suggest that you review these top-level items and then make sure you do them right:
- A Killer Product (or Service Offering) – This is obvious but one that can’t be understated in any way, shape, or form. I often think of building a technology product as having three core components and going from there.
- Legal Counsel – It’s never too early to at least have a conversation with someone who knows what they are doing from the legal side of things. This is a necessary evil but will save your bacon in the short and long-run. Make sure you have the right people who are working for you to make this happen.
- Accounting System – The same thing as the one above but hyper-practical. Your ability to know, from day one, what your costs, expected revenue projections, and more will instill confidence in you as a leader, your organization, and for your growing team. Few things create as much confidence in venture capitalists as well as an organized perspective on finances (even if they are going to be wildly wrong!). Business modeling can help.
- A Brand Foundation – What I mean by this is that you have though through how you want to be perceived in both the online and the offline world. This might mean, at the very least, a website (or temporary landing page) that clearly shows your brand and the challenge that you’re trying to solve. This also means you have branded emails and collateral ready to execute against. I think it says something powerful when you have firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com.
- A Blog – I can’t stress this enough and I have a post about how one should go about blogging for your startup here. Begin crafting a story and narrative about what you’re doing and invite others into the story!
- Network – One of the best websites ever is Meetup.com. If I have to tell you again then you’ve failed. But perhaps more intentionally try to network with people
- Do Work and Don’t Give Up – This is obvious but one that is always a healthy reminder as building a new venture is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Do not give up and work your butt off!
Get this stuff locked in and knocked out and you’ll be on your way.
[Photo credit: Whitlock/Hypepotamus]