The Startup Community is one of the most collaborative, progressive, and game-changing communities worldwide. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the barrier to entry for new founders and entrepreneurs to start new businesses and reach larger and larger audiences world wide through social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, and others.
Even though the cost to entry has decreased, many founders fail to find product-market fit before running out of funding or capacity in their company. Due to the vast differences in startups; many find it difficult to find valuable resources for educating themselves before they embark on their startup journey. Well fear not fellow founders, this list of resources is here to help.
This list of resources for Startup Founders is curated specifically for founders looking to build technology-based companies, such as B2B SaaS software, Mobile Applications for consumers, and web or mobile applications that fill a very specific need for a niche of the global market. We’d encourage you to not only use this list, but to share and contribute as well! As we meet more founders; we are constantly updating the list of tools, tips, and technologies.
Enjoy, and best of luck to you – Startup Founder!
Starting With Why
One of the most important aspects of creating a company is having a vision. Owning a company is not a walk in the park, and if you are doing it ‘to own a company’ then statistically you will fail. You need to find your why – you need to find the cause for the flame in your heart that will let you push through every obstacle, and will resonate with yourself, your family, friends, team, investors, and users.
There’s a great TED talk by Simon Sinek called “Start With Why”. Before you start on your journey, start with Why and build from there.
Creating a LEAN Canvas
Creating a LEAN Canvas is one of the most important steps in creating a startup because it forces you (the founder) to consolidate your vision into a single, concise presentation to share with stakeholders and investors.
We’d encourage you to check out our full video on A Startup Guide to MVP Apps, but at the very least take notes on how to create a LEAN Canvas and attempt the exercise for yourself. For anyone looking for a cool tool to help with generating a template; one of our community members suggested Canvanizer (https://canvanizer.com/new/lean-canvas).
Rapid Prototyping & Design Tools
You don’t need to be a designer to be prepared for the design process. The most important aspect of this process is fully flushing out the exact steps a user takes to use your product.
You may not know exactly how to begin this process, and if that’s the case the following video on Designing Rapid Prototypes may be helpful to you and your team.
Additionally, the following tools have been used by our community members and seem to really get the job done.
- Design Tools
- Landing Pages
- Unbounce – hands down one of the best
- Rapid Prototyping – Video for Designing Rapid Prototypes
Mobile App Development Resources
While choosing a technology for your application is extremely important; many non-technical Startup Founders struggle with this aspect of the business. Here’s the short; the team (or CTO) you work with will typically choose technologies based upon what they already know. The reasons why are:
- It’s easier to scope work when you know a framework
- The client typically does not want to pay for ramp-up/learning
- It’s difficult to learn new technologies and build a scalable application simultaneously
But keep in mind that just because your CTO knows a technology, does NOT mean you should launch your app in that tech. For example; if your building a mobile app and your developer knows Objective-C / Swift (this is Native for iOS) they may be comfortable building in this platform. You get through 3 months of building your app and finally it’s ready for release, then when you launch your users ask “Hey, where’s Android?”. What do you do? Well, you’d have to hire a developer that knows Java and re-build the entire app again in Native Android. Twice the time, twice the cost and two separate skillsets to maintain.
Does this sound horrible? Well, you’re right – it is horrible and it’s one of the number one reasons the top companies are all moving their mobile applications to Progressive Web Apps. If you want more information on PWA’s, see our post from a business owners perspective here.
For mobile applications, we recommend the following frameworks:
- B2B, Social (Twitter/Facebook,Uber, etc), and B2C Apps
- 2D Platformer Games (simple games)
- Augmented & Virtual Reality, Advanced 3D Games
Building your app is half the battle; and marketing it is the other half. While we’re by no means marketing experts we HAVE listened to suggestions from our community over the years. The marketing resources below have been used by both startups and enterprise businesses; they are well tested and recommended.
- Research Tools
- Marketing Automation
- CMS – Content Management System
- CRM – Customer Relationship Management
- General Resources
SaaS & API Services (Don’t Rebuild The Wheel!)
When it comes to building features – you should be building & maintaining as few features as possible. This will allow your business to focus on the ‘secret sauce’ and scale rapidly; without being held back with increasing technical debt. Send this list to your tech team, as it’s a list of common features that are easily abstracted and in our opinion, should NOT be built..
- Payment Processing
- Messaging, Video, & VoiP
Starting a business is easy, but building that business and supporting it to scale is a difficult and arduous process. It’s so important to get support and learn from other founders along the way, as well as share your experiences. If you enjoyed these resources don’t forget to BOOKMARK this link, and share it with any of your friends who may be starting their own businesses.
Finally, please do reach out with any additions/suggestions for this list. It’s a rolling list and we update this frequently. The best way to contact me is through twitter @jedihacks or by email to jedi at openforge.io
Best of Luck!