Practical Tips for Your First Startup


Published on

Learn how to open a business with practical tips for your first startup. Aaron White, cofounder and former CTO of Boundless, offers some expert advice that he's gathered from his own startup journey. Learn more from the experts by visiting

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Practical Tips for Your First Startup

  1. 1. Practical Tips forYour First StartupAARON WHITE@aaronwhite
  2. 2. Practical Tipsfor your first startup@aaronwhite
  3. 3. It starts with an Idea
  4. 4. You need passion
  5. 5. and a CLEARarticulation
  6. 6. EvaluatingYour Ideayou do vet them don’t you??
  7. 7. DemandPositioningDistributionConstructionFirst ExperienceValue Capture
  8. 8. DemandRisksPositioningDistributionConstructionFirst ExperienceValue Capture
  9. 9. Common MistakesI’ve made all of these once, twice, three, four times...
  10. 10. People want itMistake #1
  11. 11. Lots of people want itMistake #2
  12. 12. It’s easy to explainMistake #3
  13. 13. I built it, they will comeMistake #4
  14. 14. It’s obvious how to use itMistake #5
  15. 15. They’ll remember to use itMistake #6
  16. 16. Oh god, I’m doomed.well, not quite..
  17. 17. As with most things,start w/ a framework!Just so happens I’ve got a few for you!
  18. 18. #1 Business HypothesisSpecify your dream
  19. 19. What are the most important costs inherent in our business model?Which Key Resources are most expensive?Which Key Activities are most expensive?Through which Channels do our Customer Segmentswant to be reached?How are we reaching them now?How are our Channels integrated?Which ones work best?Which ones are most cost-efficient?How are we integrating them with customer routines?For what value are our customers really willing to pay?For what do they currently pay?How are they currently paying?How would they prefer to pay?How much does each Revenue Stream contribute to overall revenues?For whom are we creating value?Who are our most important customers?What type of relationship does each of our CustomerSegments expect us to establish and maintain with them?Which ones have we established?How are they integrated with the rest of our business model?How costly are they?What value do we deliver to the customer?Which one of our customer’s problems are we helping to solve?What bundles of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment?Which customer needs are we satisfying?What Key Activities do our Value Propositions require?Our Distribution Channels?Customer Relationships?Revenue streams?Who are our Key Partners?Who are our key suppliers?Which Key Resources are we acquiring from partners?Which Key Activities do partners perform?What Key Resources do our Value Propositions require?Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships?Revenue Streams?Day Month YearNo.This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.To view a copy of this license, visit send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
  20. 20. #2 Enumerate RisksWhat should you be worried about... in order!
  21. 21. © 2012 Lean Startup Machine. You are free to use it and earn money with it as an entrepreneur, consultant, or executive, as long as you are not a software company (the latter need to license it from us).www.ValidationBoard.comValidation BoardTrack Pivots1st Pivot 2nd Pivot 3rd Pivot 4th PivotStartRiskiestAssumptionMethodCore AssumptionsAny assumption that, if invalidated, will break the businessWhich Core Assumption has thehighest level of uncertainty?Solas Bar232 E. 9th StreetWhat is the lowest cost way totest the Riskiest Assumption?Choose: Exploration,Pitch, or ConciergeOnly put the RiskiestAssumption from anexperiment in these boxesRecord data &learnings separatelyIf Invalidated, pivot at leastone Core HypothesisIf Validated, brainstorm andtest the next Riskiet AssumptionWhat is the weakest outcomewe will accept as validation?MinimumSuccessCriterion135246135246Project Name: Team Leader Name:CustomerHypothesisProblemHypothesisSolutionHypothesisDesign ExperimentTrack PivotsTip: For two-sided markets,always validate the riskier side firstTip: Clear all post-its from this area after each experiment is completedInvalidated ValidatedGETOUTOF THEBLDGResultsTip: Do NOT define a solutionuntil you’ve validated the problemRemember:Limit one sticky-note per boxWrite in ALL CAPSDo not write more than 5 words on any sticky-note
  22. 22. Where willpeople findme?Typically, worry andbuild outside-inWhat ad willpique theirinterest?What valuedo I need tosell them on?Can they getthat value fastas possible?Do I maintaina goodrelationship?Have I earnedtheir dollar?
  23. 23. Founding a Company
  24. 24. Long-haul Mindset(this could take a while)
  26. 26. You need a lawyerand want a good one
  27. 27. Co-FoundersIt’s like a performance-driven marriage
  28. 28. EmployeesThey’re going to the front-line with you
  29. 29. InvestorsCapital access, keep you honest, make connections
  30. 30. Hiring
  31. 31. What’s yourSuperpower?
  32. 32. Have a process
  33. 33. Trust your gut
  34. 34. Make a mistake?Fix it fast
  35. 35. Financing
  36. 36. Bootstrap?
  37. 37. VC?
  38. 38. If you goVC...
  39. 39. Invest in relationshipsway too early
  40. 40. You need a good story(remember that clear articulation thing?)
  41. 41. Outline of a (good) pitchCoverHookTeamProblemOpportunitySolutionProofUnfair advantageMarket sizeRoadmap withVCMsTHE ASK tie toVCMsAppendixPDF copy should speak for itself but not too much
  42. 42. Fundraise quickly
  43. 43. Create scarcity
  44. 44. Building it
  45. 45. Value CreationMilestones
  46. 46. Lean methodology
  47. 47. Measure everything
  48. 48. Brutal honesty
  49. 49. Celebrate the victories(even the small)
  50. 50. Keep Learning
  51. 51. Join a startup!Wait, you get paid to learn??
  52. 52. Follow the conversation.
  53. 53. Course TitleCourse TitleINSTRUCTOR NAME