The following is a guest post from Andrew Hyde, founder of Startup Weekend and all around clever thinker. If you ever see this guy at a conference, make a point of introducing yourself. He’s all that and a bag of chips.
Homework for the Perfect Startup
I sometimes refer to a great team with a strong idea as the Perfect Startup. Somewhat like the perfect storm, quite a few things have to come together. So if you are thinking about a startup in the next few years, here is some simple homework to create that perfect storm.
- Get Out of Debt
Any debt is bad, and will make it harder on you. Michael Sitarzewski wrote some practical tips that worked for him. Remember, if you are looking for investment, quite a few angels will look for you to have some skin in the game
- Become a Nerd of Startups
If you are interested in doing a startup around and area, know every startup in that field, sign up for them, use them, become powerusers. Map out their sites, notice how they message their users and figure out why you like and don’t like them. You will learn quite a bit from this. Michael has a great post on this..
- Find a Kick Ass Team
This is the best thing you can do for yourself. Your team should be 2-3 people, with strong technical memebers. Work on smaller projects together. As Brad Feld says: Trust is Essential.
- Be Known
Did you hear about that new startup that launched without any friends in this area? Me either. Comment on peoples blogs. Add value. Write a ton of emails. Volunteer to beta test. Send bug reports in. Help out the community. Help organize events. Gary Vaynerchuk has a good post on this (the 2nd half of the video)
- Go to Conferences
Go to SXSW, Web2.0 (especially the open) and as many local events as you can afford. Learn and get some friends.
- Find Great Mentors
I think I have said this before, but it is slammed into my head by TechStars. It is the best thing you can have as a startup. Find them early, and listen as much as you can.
- Who Do You Work For?
Know any conflicts that would keep you away from starting something. If you work for a iphone development firm, and have signed away your IP, starting a competing iphone development firm can be a bit tough, especially if you are seeking investment. Keep a copy of everything you sign and do you best to not sign away your IP.Andrew Hyde is founder of Startup Weekend. Learn more about him at AndrewHyde.net