Startup success stories
In continuation of our product management articles series we would like to dream for a while. Let’s pretend that we have moved to a year 2003, for example, and we have a task to repeat the success of any startup that is famous in our time. Precondition: Before going back in time you have spent a lot of time studying end-to-end their success stories. So the question is the following: To be more precise your chances for success are around default 10%. Or a bit higher (as you may probably know, only 1 of 10 startups succeed according to common world statistics). So lets deep dive into the reasons!
Surely, all these points are speculative. The team will be happy to hear your opinion, additions or objections on the topic.
Reason 1. Information.
Do you really think that 5 paragraphs of Facebook success story really make it possible to repeat it? Surely, they provide general understanding which even may be transformed to a project roadmap… But the situation is that the complete development story of Facebook or any other world-famous brand that initially was a startup fills out the volume of several books with hundreds of pages. And it is impossible to find, because it doesn’t even exist highly likely. Unless founder(s) kept records of all the progress regarding their product development from the beginning. And if so, most probably these records are unavailable to read.
Reason 2. Founder’s personality.
Obviously, startup’s success depends significantly on the founder’s personality. Startup is its founder. A composition of founder’s personal qualities plays a vital role in the startup development, especially at early stage.
Thus, if we want to repeat someone’s success story we need the same personal qualities of a given founder. Or even better ones. In this case we are capable of repeating the necessary decisions and management instructions on the way to successful realization of the project.
Reason 3. Co-Founder(s) and team.
It is impossible to launch a product solo. A single person cannot execute development, marketing and promotion activities. Ideally a startup needs 2 founders to be successful at early stage. At a later stage you need an integral team, even if you hire a freelancer or an outsourcing company to cover software development needs.
So the situation is that it is necessary to find a Co Founder and team members with required pool of competences and expertise. Of course if you were lucky to meet exactly the same co founders and team members, this will increase the chances to succeed. Anyway, not depending on what people become part of your team, further progress and success will depend again on your personality (see Reason 2).
Reason 4. Fundraising.
Practically every startup requires and tries to raise investments. For any goal: build an MVP, for marketing, for market share expansion.
The statistics shows that a founder has to pass about 300 pitches (not only pitching a startup from the stage at the dedicated conference, but also including dedicated networking events with investors in a speed-date format) nowadays. In some niches you need about 100 pitches.
So the process of raising investments itself is long time and difficult. And in our case, on the way to repeat the success it is also critical. Will you manage to raise investments with required conditions? Maybe.
It is necessary to notice that an investor never invests in the product. An investor invests in the team (see Reason 3) that is capable of creating the product and sell it.
So to be successful on this step you have to repeat success on all previous ones.
These are basic points. If you succeed in all of them, repeating the story will be successful.
We would also like to add some off top. Nowadays this is a common practice to set up business on the basis of already working ideas. If you see an example of a good service operating abroad, try to analyze the possibility to repeat it in your area. Usually this approach requires some changes to business model, because business model has to be adjusted to a given area.
What’s more, investors are more willing to invest in a startup that is going to repeat already realized business idea than in a completely new product or service. Why? – Because it is very important for the investor to see proven market demand in the proposed product or service.
To sum up
Surely, it is very useful to know how famous brands were developed and what their success story consists of, especially if you are a startup owner or founder or a product manager. However, the thing is that every startup and its product is unique, and so the development plan of the product should be unique. The big task and challenge of any founder and product manager to define this development plan. And who knows, maybe one day this development plan will turn into success story that “young” founders will study and analyze later.
By the way, we recommend you to read more about the so called “growth hacking”. In general growth hacking is marketing and product development trend about looking for brand new strategies to attract users or customers aiming at blowing growth. There are some default techniques like creating video, making interactive content, quick login and signup, offering some functionality for free, etc. But growth hacking is about creating your own promotion “hacks”.
As you may probably know, for Facebook this was limitation of initial audience of users. Mark Zuckerberg focused on the students of his university, so first Facebook users understood that if he/she sign up in the system, it makes possible to chat with someone from another students group or course, and know something about the person of interest. If Facebook launched initially opened for any American for example, this would have been unsuccessful because no one is interested to chat with a grandfather from Alabama who is fond of growing flowers. Mark Zuckerberg (and his team) was limiting registration, it was available only via invites at the beginning. And when he saw that more than 99% of his university’s students became users of the network, he opened registration to other universities.
AirBnB founders’ growth hack was high-quality photos of apartments. They spent quite a lot of money to hire a professional photographer to make photos of registered apartments, and this worked – users became to rent the apartments via the service. Nowadays good photos is a must and normal state of things for any service, and in the time of AirBnB startup it was a growth hack.
We have already described also one of such hacks in our first article about product management which was case of Dropbox founder, when he made a fake video demonstrating features and having nothing developed. This growth hack made possible to acquire first 2 000 users.
Code Inspiration’s team wishes you to be successful in your projects and products. Do not hesitate to address to us if you have questions or comments. As always, we are ready to be your reliable software development partner.