For instance, the first step could be "find a problem", the second step "validate your idea", third step could be "create MVP", then "get feedback", etc. etc.
I guess some sort of methodology that if you follow causes you to very likely succeed (or the opposite, e.g. skipping one step would make your startup fail.
Anything more specific can’t take variations in context and market development into account.
There’s no cookie cutter way of creating a successful startup from scratch.
If you have an existing network and if you’ve done it before then the chances are higher that you can reproduce successful outcomes. Still, there are quite a few examples of entrepreneurs who’ve created a successful startup but weren’t able to achieve similar results with their following endeavours.
Uncertainty and the search for a business model are the very nature of startups. Reproducible results come with established models.
I will now if you're saying it's good.
If you want the short story on startup success it can be summed up in one word overall, Execution.
Most startups fail because of poor execution and by making more mistakes than not. If you can outlast your mistakes (which everyone will have) and execute on each stage you succeed.
What are the best ones, in your opinion? Could you link a good one?
> If you want the short story on startup success it can be summed up in one word overall, Execution.
I don't know. Execution is something you cannot "learn". Either you're good, or not. However, if your idea sucks and you fail to build a MVP, and you fail to ask for feedback, you risk wasting months of your life that you could have avoided. Or, your idea might be awesomely executed, but if you fail to market it properly, no one will know about it and you will fail.
If I followed even the steps I mentioned, I would be able to catch bad ideas before I spent months of my time and potentially hundred of thousands of dollars.
Just thinking outloud here.
Curiosity always, Validation, Market, Team, Mockup, Validation, Market, Sales Commitments, Build Team, MVP, Actual Sales, Iteration.
In the early stage this is what a fledgling startup looks like to me. Curiosity around ideas, always asking questions and this should never stop ever. Validation of ideas once you feel you have found one or more. Validation is done by talking to real human beings who would be the potential target clients, Market is the market opportunity research and the targeting. Team may come right after market or may wait, but either way who are the people you will need to make it happen. Mockup is a simple PDF or wireframe mockup, not even code likely at this point. Validation again on the Mockup and market. Redefine the market and or product. Start getting sales commitments at this point, build out the team and the MVP and move into sales. Then you start iterating on Product and sales.
Of course, this is a gross overview, a ton of little steps go into all this, but for me this is how you start any basic business, regardless if you want to raise money or just be successful. It starts with Idea/Clients, then you start figuring out product. When I used to help startups a lot as my consulting clients this was almost always universally failed. They'd come with a product idea but almost 0 market validation or testing, so who knows what would work. Now, there are some greenfield projects where there just isn't a market because you are defining it, but that is the rarity and generally is started and funded differently IME.
Definitely plenty of room for varied opinions here, just my 2 cents as well.
However, you have to know you should do certain things to be able to execute them well. A lot of projects I've seen fail were well-made, but had crappy or no marketing.
The reason is that founders were tech guys, and you know how tech guys like to program and not email people :-)
Team * idea * product * execution * luck
They're all multipliers, and yes, the idea is very important too. There's a lot of great teams and executors going around with poor ideas, and they don't go as far as they should.
A great product idea is nothing without being executed on, every day, every hour so that it is moving forward. I agree there are lots of factors that can be hard in a startup, but the single biggest issue is execution.
Even in raising money, you can have an amazing team and solid product idea, but if you execute poorly on the fundraise you will not get money or not get enough to make the idea come to reality.
I also 100% agree with you, all startups involve some lucky breaks, however, I have lots of friends who have had one or more lucky breaks and they failed to execute on them. So even luck isn't great unless you execute on it.
I'd argue a great team that is executing will see that the idea/product/concept is failing and start looking for a pivot to get it back on track because they are executing. Executing means you are setting goals, hitting goals, measuring progress, evaluating status and adjusting, if you aren't doing all of those then you aren't executing very well. And that happens at a macro and micro level at all stages, that is execution IMO.
I'll also agree that I don't know everything and plenty of people have valid concepts that have succeeded that may disagree with me. Totally fair, but IMO execution is the #1 reason startups fail and is the key to making them succeed in some form.
If you do everything moderately well and execute great, then you should have a multimillion dollar hit on your hands.
But I guess my opposition was to execution being the only factor. Like, I don't think Sergey Brin would have built Google had he stayed in the Soviet Union, no matter how smart and hardworking he is.
A good deal of it is still relying on your own hustle and skill at solving problems. But these are really good, repeatable things to watch out for. Paul Graham's essays are also a must read, but they're less actionable.
Rule of thumb for anything, the harder books to read are often the best. So not simple blogs. Good ideas are difficult to explain.
I'd say Lean Startup and Zero to One actually lie on the "easy to understand" categories. The YC related stuff is a little harder but worth the effort.
-  https://www.robinwieruch.de/the-road-to-react-with-firebase-...
Also, on HN at least, most people talking about a startup are talking about something with strong growth that will get big fairly fast. They aren't talking about mom-and-pop shop levels of business success. So you could look into growth hacking.
There's no cut and dried formula here. You can read what other successful people say and try to educate yourself, but there is no slam dunk "Do x, y, and z and Profit!!!"
Paul Graham's essays are pretty popular around here, and with good reason.
There could certainly be a guide to “creating a startup”. The “successful” part makes it a bit hairy though.
That's pretty radical.
Most books in this category that I've read ("zero to one", "Lean Startup", etc. etc.) never literrally say that. They offer advice extrapolated from "this worked for us". Or common patterns that have lead to succes at some stage at some company.
Notice, they are not "step-by-step" guides to a successful startup. They are datapoints.
I strongly recommend two books:
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
- Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World
Solve problems as they arrive, and hire people who've solved the problems already so you don't have to repeat work.
Sure, but if we were to try to generalize, we could create a flowchart like "feedback bad? iterate", "feedback good? continue", "feedback bad after 10 iterations? Scrap".
I highly recommend this book.