Know what stage of your business development journey you're in
Entrepreneurs generally seek investment before they get started with their products or services or before they have customers.
Here I want to show you the startup lifecycle that you will encounter during your business creation.
The Startup Lifecycle will give you a closer look and a little bit more understanding of what you can expect when creating your company or developing a new product.
Problem/ Customer Stage
What most companies want to start with is with the customers and the problem. What this entails is figuring out and understanding the issues that you're solving in the market. This focuses on the need in the market, the problems, and why people would purchase your product.
Next, what you need to do is have a closer look into who your customers are. Often, in most cases, entrepreneurs will seek mass-market products but you will want to refine this some more and narrow down your target market.
When you first start a company, it can be tough to compete with existing alternatives and therefore, very hard to make a stand for your startup in the initial stages.
The best way to get around this is to find the low hanging fruit, find the customers that experience the problems you have identified the most.
Identifying those customers will allow you to get to Customer/ Problem fit.
This is about understanding the problem and the market. Understanding why it exists, how it exists, the drivers for its existence, and the people that experience it on a daily basis, weekly basis, or monthly basis.
Problem/ Solution Stage
Once you understand the problem and the customers, you then move into the second stage.
Here you figure out the problem that you've identified and come up with a viable solution to solve it. Because you deeply understand the problem, the next stage focuses more on the solution and how that solution will look.
A common way to test solutions is to create a Minimal Viable Product or prototype that will allow you to test whether your solution is the right fit for your customer base. What you need to make sure is that you focus on the core problem and the core features that will allow you to solve this problem.
Product/ Market Fit Stage
This is understanding what solution you need to create and how the market wants it, and how the market will respond to it.
This is where you know that you have a viable product, or a viable company, and can take it further into the market. It is playing around with your problem and solution and optimising it, iterating it to an extent where customers are happy and willing to pay for it.
Once you have that Product-Market fit, and a repeatable sales process, you then look at how to scale it up.
This is where we double down on sales and marketing tactics and really look to grow our companies, both domestically and internationally. Now as you can see, in the first two stages: the problem/customer and the problem/solution, you really focus on iteration (Build Measure Learn loop on your features, etc)
As you're still exploring the market and your product, you want to iterate with what you learn. You need to iterate with the feedback that you gain from customers. For Product-Market fit as well as Scale, you're not looking much at iteration, but rather optimisation.
This is where you optimise your product for the wider community, internationally and domestically.
The Startup Lifecycle is composed of 4 main stages. Knowing them will help you have a deeper awareness of what you are going to do and what you can expect from the creation of your own business.
When you are creating your concept, it is handy to understand what stage you are at as it will give you understanding of where you should put your focus.