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If you have never started a startup before you’re probably fuzzy on the strategy for moving forward. Even if you have started a startup before, the following high-level structure might be helpful.

This is the basic strategy we use with all our clients, regardless of their business idea, i.e., regardless of whether they’re an IT business, fitness and health, social media, etc.

  1. Get your idea down as a business
    1. Use the One Page Business Hypothesis (OPBH) to create your business plan
  2. Validate the problems being solved
    1. Find out if your target customer agrees you’ve identified a real problem
    2. Interview and measure 35 target customers
    3. Note: problem(s) and target customer are the second activities in OPBH
  3. Validate the proposed solution to solve the problem
    1. Find out if your target customer agrees with your solution to the problem
    2. Re-interview and the 35 target customers and
    3. Note: solution is the 4th activity in OPBH
  4. Build your marketing strategy
  5. Build your sales strategy
  6. Build 12  – 18 month budget
  7. Build a concept-presentation system (CPS)
    1. This is a simulation or actual evidence of your solution
    2. Help potential stakeholders “see” your vision
  8. Raise friends and family money
    1. Raise some funds to get you to the next step (“Raise angel investor funds”)
    2. Present your business plan (OPBH above), validation results, market & sales strategy, budget and CPS
  9. Raise angel investor funds
    1. Create a 2 to 4 sentence tickler email for angel investors
    2. Identify investors who have invested in your space before
    3. Email the tickler sentences
    4. Respond to the responses with a link to your business plan (OPBH)
    5. Follow up with the interested parties and share validation results, market & sales strategy, budget and CPS
  10. Continue to grow the company!


This article may not be reproduced in whole or part without including the name of the author (James Naylor) and an acknowledgement of the fact the article was originally published in Shoestring Advice for Technology Startups ( Any other use of this material is unauthorized and is a violation of law.”

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