Startup in a Week
You don’t want to waste the time. But how about wasting just a week just to see?
Do you want to start a business, but fear that it will take forever? Like, why even try if you might fail anyway?
So, there’s a concept in Business where you bootstrap a minimum viable product (MVP) quickly to see if there’s a market for it.
Did that sound confusing? Let me help you out.
What is Bootstrapping?
Bootstrapping in business is where you run your business on as little money as possible.
When businesses are just starting, money is literally gold. You can risk your business failing if the pot runs dry.
So early businesses need to be mindful of their expenses especially when they don’t have customers yet.
Businesses do this by doing all business activities themselves like coding, accounting, and product production.
What is an MVP?
Now you know what bootstrapping is, but what the f@ck is a minimum viable product?
An MVP is a product that is stripped of the bells and whistles and only performs its main core function.
For example, if your product is a bike, then the MVP of your product would be a bike with just a frame, seat, pedals, wheels, brakes and a handlebar.
That’s the bare minimum of what a bike should be and that’s the bare minimum for it to perform how it should.
First, you need to pedal and it needs to move. Then, you need to brake. Boom! bike.
An MVP would not have a fancy design, adjustable seat, gears or fancy attachments. Those will come later once you have an MVP down and launched.
The 7 Day Startup
So the concept that I will be showing you today is the concept of bootstrapping an MVP very quickly and launching it within 7 days.
There is also a world of programmers who use this concept to create SaaS businesses.
But if you wanted to dip your toes into the business-water, I encourage you to try this concept out.
Even if your business goes nowhere, this will give you insight into the business world.
And hey! You’re only wasting a week and a couple of dollars. And if you find success, you’ll be in business with huge profit margins.
Bootstrapping just makes sense! Okay, let’s go!
Step 1: Pick a Product or Service
The possibilities are endless when it comes to what business to start.
Here are some ideas of businesses that you can create pretty quickly:
- Freelance business
- Software as a Service
- Membership site
- Digital products
The easiest place to start would be to choose a skill you already have.
You can create a freelance business around this skill pretty quickly in a week. Or you can create a general service-based business around this skill.
Some freelance opportunities are:
- Website development
- Website design
- App development
- Graphic design
- Proofreading and editing
- Virtual assisting
If you’re opting for a product, you need to decide on what product. If you’re making products and shipping them, be sure that you have the ability to do so.
Then, you can sell these products through eBay or your own Shopify store.
Or, you can create digital downloads to sell. These are usually sold around a blog, YouTube channel or other platforms that you can gain a following.
You can create a piece of software and sell for a monthly or yearly fee.
Coding knowledge is required to program software, but don’t let the lack of knowledge stop you because there are plenty of resources to learn code online.
And there are websites made to help you create software without code. Check them out in the next section!
This step shouldn’t take you more than a day. You have to make quick deliberate decisions.
Step 2: Organize and Build the Product
After picking a product or service, you have to create it.
Decide on what the MVP version of your product is and let that guide you to when you’re creating. You need a product or service that works at the bare bones. And you add on to it later.
Write out a list of what you need to accomplish to get a working MVP set up and finished.
Here is a list to help get you started:
- Get it organized
- Set up shipping methods
- Set up payment methods
- Buy materials
- Get the software built
- Get the workflow set up
- Create digital downloads
- Figure out prices
If you don’t know coding and development you can use nocode.tech to help build your business without investing a fortune. You can find tools to help with website building, name generating, marketing, logos, videos, photos and more!
This is the day where you need to sit down and build out your business. Don’t worry about your website or branding, don’t worry about marketing and don’t worry about launching it.
Just take your to-do list and complete it. Build it out. Flesh it out. Focus on your MVP.
Your MVP will be the reason you will be able to create the flesh of your business in a day or two. Don’t focus on the bells and whistles.
Don’t try to stray away from the core functionality. Features and design can come later. You need to get something out the door in a few days.
So stick to the MVP, and build it out!
Step 3: Website + Branding
This step should not last longer than a day. You need to give your business a name and you need to create a website for it.
Do not spend too long on the name. You can always change and rebrand later.
The most important part here is the product. Spending time on the name takes away from the product. Yes, you’re focusing on an MVP, but it can still be a big undertaking. So dedicate as much time as possible to it.
Websites are easy to throw together these days. You don’t need a full-fledged website at this time. You just need something small to get your message across and to sell your product or service.
A landing page may be just what you need. You can create a landing page with carrd.co. Or you can use my Website Quickstart Guide to set up a WordPress site in no time.
Here is what your website needs to accomplish right now:
- What your product or service is
- What problem it solves
- How to purchase it
You don’t need to worry about other pages that stray from this list. The only exception is if you are selling your digital products via a blog. Then you will want a few blog posts up to get started.
Your website can be published online for $0 if you choose to do so. Your domain will not be yours and it may be branded to another website. However, your business will be up online and ready to go.
If you want to spend a little money towards this, you can purchase hosting and a domain name. The whole package will be under $100 and you will be in business for a year!
I recommend purchasing these through Setra Host.
Step 4: Marketing
Choose how you’re going to market your business and who you’re going to market to. Who are your customers? Where do they hang out?
Now, go to where they hang out and… hang out.
You want to go where they are. You want to be their friend and a member of their community. And, you want to have the same interests and passions with them.
While figuring out your marketing strategy, create marketing materials for your product or service. Take photographs, screenshots or make an infographic of how your business works.
You want these materials to look polished and professional. If you need to make use of Photoshop, check out PhotoPea as a free alternative.
Free Marketing Strategies
There are a million ways to market your business. Most cost money, but some are free. The free ones take more work and will pay off over time.
So be patient and never forget that word of mouth is the best marketing of all.
Social Media Marketing
Choose a social media platform that your customer hangs out the most and start posting there. Make use of hashtags. Build a following. Building an audience will not happen overnight, but you can take steps to create one.
Content marketing is getting organic search traffic. You write or produce content that people are searching for to draw traffic to your website. This usually involves a blog, but you don’t have to run a full blog on your website.
If you don’t have the time to write or produce, you can definitely hire this part out.
If you have an email list started, you can use them to advertise your new business. If not, start one now. Having an email list is vital to capturing leads for your business.
Paid Marketing Strategies
Google AdWords gets your advertisement on the pages of Google Search and on websites that are using Google to show ads. This is a great way to get your ad in front of people interested in your product.
Google AdWords uses retargeting, so it knows what people are interested in and only shows relevant ads to them. That way, your cat product won’t be displayed in front of a dog person.
Social Media Ads
Remember when I said to find the online place where your customers hang out? The social media platform you chose probably has a paid ad feature. You can spend money on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to reach your target audience quicker.
Step 6: Launch
After all that, it’s time to launch!! Publish everything and start marketing. Reach out to people. Make genuine connections to your target audience. Get the word out there!
Pieter Levels describes awesome ways to launch and market your business in his book, MAKE.
There are websites where you can go to launch your business. The most popular one you can try is ProductHunt. This website is for tech products that are newly launched.
Your job is to find relevant websites where you can submit your website. If it’s a cat product, find cat websites to share.
This section purely is dependent on the type of business you’re building. But I’ll give you some ideas to look into:
If possible, you’re going to want to get some sort of attention. Attention is great for business!
You can use Submit.co to find places to contact.
Other than trying to get press and media, get your message out there by telling your audience.
Then it’s official! You’re in business.
Step 5: Sell, sell, sell Like HELL
After launching, it’s the most important part — making money. Without sales, you are not a business. And without cash flow, your business will die before it gets a chance.
In Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson, he mentions, really clearly, that you need to sell, sell, sell like HELL because your business depends on it. Become a salesperson. Get out there. Make things happen.
Don’t be the CARS salesperson that we all hate, but getting out of your comfort zone and explaining to people why your product will be a good fit can do wonders.
But remember don’t spam. Use social media wisely, let customers come to you. And hustle!
What if it doesn’t work and you cannot make things happen? That’s fine because that’s why this whole experience is worthwhile. You can validate your business in a week and see if it’s valuable or not.
Instead of wasting months and a fortune building something that no one buys, you can figure all that out in a week and move on.
Start a Business in 7 Days
You can do all this in a week.
Starting a small business does not have to be complicated. That’s the easy part. The hard part is marketing, finding customers and selling.
There’s no guarantee that if you do the above steps, your business will be a success. Or that you will make money. But it is a healthy exercise for you to do if you’re thinking about starting a business.
That’s why you shouldn’t waste a lot of time building a product or service just to get no customers in the end. Create an MVP. And then market the hell out of it.
Once people are buying, then build upon it and make it better.
Website Quickstart Guide