Although startups are different from other types of businesses, the lifecycle of a startup is similar to other businesses. There is a process to turning a startup from an early stage garage hobby into a fully functional business, and knowing how to navigate startup stages is the key to long-term startup success. This is your step-by-step guide to the five stages of startups development.
Stage 1: The Idea, Concept, and Plan
A startup begins long before it becomes a business. In fact, it starts much earlier than most people think. The first stage of business development in creating a successful startup is to come up with an idea that you think is worth exploring, a concept for what your business will be and do, and a plan to start bringing the business together.
Every startup begins with the same thing: an idea. At the heart of the startup is an idea for a service, product, or business that the founder(s) think could be turned into a viable thing.
This idea can be simple, or it can be a complex thing that you have spent a lot of time thinking about. What is important is that this idea gives your later actions direction. Since you know what you want to do or create, you can plan the business around it.
Once you have an idea that you think is worth exploring, you start to flesh it out into a concept. The concept is the initial strategy that you could use to run your business. For example, if your product idea is a tire that never goes flat, then your concept may be to build a distributor that can sell to all of the car repair companies or car manufacturers. In short, it is a detailed way of turning your idea into a business.
Finally, the last part of stage one is to create a plan. Your plan is your strategy for turning your concept into a functional business. Your plan does not have to be excessively detailed. In fact, it is better if it is a more general plan with just enough figured out so that you know which direction to head in. That way, you are not locked into options before you take the first step.
Stage 2: Forming an Organization
With the initial stage finished, you have a basic understanding of what your business will be and how to get started. Now, you start to take action to turn your plan into a functional business. This starts with forming an organization.
Forming an organization means bringing together the personnel and resources that you need to create your business. In some cases, you may be the only person in your business, but you will need resources to get things done. This stage focuses solely on creating the structure of your business so that you can start to work on your products or services.
Stage 3: Testing Your Idea
With a basic business structure in place, you can do one of the most crucial parts of starting a business: testing your idea. At this stage, you need to prove your concept by validating that your idea does make a successful product or service and that people are willing to pay for it.
It is important to try validation early and effectively since there are many ideas that will not translate into a good business model. It is better to know that your idea is not viable sooner rather than later so that you do not spend a lot on resources and people that you cannot support.
There are many ways to validate a product or service, but the most influential way is to get it in front of your target audience. If the people that your offering is made for don’t want it, and you cannot find an alternative target market, then your idea is not one to continue pursuing and you need to start over.
Stage 4: Creating Business Processes
If your idea is valid and you can show that there is a market for it, then you can start to build your business around it. This means creating business processes to make or acquire, sell, and deliver your product or service. In one word, you are setting up the logistics of your company.
Finance, office management, sales teams, and every other aspect of your business can be fleshed out so that you can start operating right away. The sooner you can get things moving, the closer you are to making your startup functional and solvent.
Stage 5: Scaling Up
The final stage of creating a startup is to begin scaling. This happens when you have a stable business in a place that is self-sustaining and fully functional. Then, you can start to look for ways to expand, such as adding more products or services, adding new locations, or taking investments from investors.
It is important that your business is fully functional before scaling. If not, then it will be too difficult to fix problems and expand since you are constantly putting out little fires all over the business. You also won’t be able to attract strong investors who expect your business to be fully functional before investing.
Get Help With Your Startup
Navigating the five startup stages is difficult on your own, which is why most startups get help. At KitelyTech, we help startups with all of their technology and digital marketing needs. Call us at (800) 274-2908 to discuss your startup and how we can help you grow it into the business that you want it to be.