Regardless of the accessibility of information available at our fingertips on entrepreneurship, startups and small businesses (not to mention apps, hackathons and meetups), I am frequently asked for guidance or direction on how to get started. Rather than sitting down to write yet another list of resources, I turned instead to a number of entrepreneurs in my network to ask them to answer that question "how did you get started?" - knowing peer advice is likely the best guidance when you're seeking insights to just get your venture started.
Susan Solomon, DriveThru Branding
How She Got Started: Armed with a career in brand and digital agencies, as a consultant and in a startup, Susan started DriveThru Branding in 2015 to help small and medium-sized businesses build a basic brand strategy. It was the brand definition experience at a startup - the all too exhausting, endless and time-consuming debate about the elevator pitch, design, colors, tone--which truly motivated Susan to address this brand definition challenge in a fundamentally new way. Her new company DriveThru Branding builds on-demand brand guides for better marketing. To get started she set up 15-20 interviews with companies in different industries. The interviews proved Susan and her team were right: getting team and content aligned is hard and companies operating without a guide post (a brand guide), are consistently reinventing the wheel - or having the same, endless brand debates about the elevator pitch, design, colors, tone...
One Resource That Helped Her Get Started: Steve Blank's The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company.
Minda Aguhob, Peakfoqus
How She Got Started: Finding herself unemployed after working in healthcare and education technology for 15 years, Minda started Peakfoqus in 2014. She now designs smarter mobile solutions for peak health and focuses on seniors, patients and their families. The Peakfoqus story began with a desire to work on a product with deep social impact and was ignited when her dear best friend and 90-year old neighbor fell. Not carrying a pendant or phone, he wasn't found for an extended period of time. When Minda asked him what he would carry, he replied, "one of those smart watches."Minda started researching options available for tech curious seniors and discovered that most companies don't understand seniors' relationship with technology. The focus is on the family (or hired caregivers') worries and guilt. These products poorly contribute to seniors' health & safety, because seniors seldom wear the products consistently as they aren't designed for them. To get started, Minda talked to seniors and their worried families for two years (her background as a psychological researcher came in handy). She also joined New York City's TechVenture program, a free program funded by the city.
One Resource That Helped Her Get Started: New York City's TechVenture program.
Aassia Haq, Guidrr, Inc.
How She Got Started: Seeking a way to combine her love of travel with the influences of on-demand, urbanization and peer-to-peer, Aassia created Guidrr a platform to create, share and discover experiences built by the real people you follow and trust. A solo trip to Florence, Italy helped her to sort out her vision. Aassia had been following bloggers and influencers to prepare for her trip but once in Florence, she couldn't easily access their advice and inspiration on the go. Lost in Florence, Aassia reached out to a local blogger, Nardia, asking if they could meet. Over coffee Aassia shared her idea: could lifestyle bloggers benefit from sharing information on mobile that would enable travelers to live and walk the city as a local? Nardia loved the idea, and became Guidrr's first real customer in the lean startup process. Aassia's next step was to build a MVP and dive into customer development. Within a month of launching in beta, Guidrr had interest from bloggers on four continents and in seven countries. Fast forward to today, Guidrr has revenues and interest from travel strategies, tourism board and brands.
One Resource That Helped Her Get Started: Collide Co Build, a tech and business services on-demand accelerator based in Dallas, TX.