Where to start as a Founder?

Published on Aug 17, 20203 min read12 views

As an idea/early stage founder, you're brimming with ideas. There's a lot you want to do, execute and hit the ground running. But there's also uncertainty as to where to start.

One approach could be to build a crude prototype and see people's reaction to it. This works great and will give you immediate feedback. But these prototypes are ever evolving and work only in the short term.

I'd recommend you start with doing "Research". As a founder, you will likely be spending a minimum of the next 3 years (often longer) of your life with this start up. So, it's good to make sure you know what you're getting into.

Over the years, I've worked with several dozen founders, the common thread has always been lack of proper understanding of the market and problem being addressed.

Research is a fairly broad term. What kind of research should you do?

  1. Problem Research: understand the problem and why is it a problem. Ask friends and family. Estimate how many people could be facing this problem. Understand if there are regional nuances to the problem
  2. Market Research: This is the toughest part and easiest to get wrong. Most existing market research cannot be used as is, some figures can be used as indicators. You could also refer to several reports to and derive your market with a top-down or bottom-up approach. The assumptions you make in this derivation will need to be backed by credible sources and not your assumptions
  3. Competitor Research: Competitors come in several types - incumbents, other startups in the sector and horizontal platforms in similar sector. It's crucial to understand existing solutions and figure out your niche
  4. Business model research: research the various models out there and which ones apply to your solution. Over the course of building, you will have to use more than one business model and eventually figure out which works best

Remember, the more data you have the better your leverage in execution. If, after all this research, you're still convinced about your approach and idea - you should go ahead and get building. There's no stopping you now.

Note: All blogs posts till 2022 were migrated to this platform (react+next+tailwind). While all efforts were made to migrate wihtout any loss, the migration lost some images and broke a bunch of links in old posts. If you spot anything amiss, please notify me?