You've got a good idea. You have the right skills to get it done. When do you take the leap of faith and start giving a new project your time and money?
That's an answer I'm trying to find right now. Through the process of starting and operating TheSecretIngredients, I learned so much, and I know that I will respect the lessons I learned from mistakes and not repeat them. Finding the confidence to launch a new project is taking more courage this time, and I find myself hesitant to commit fully to one project right now. So, the question I've been asking myself is...
What's the safest way to launch a new startup?
I've put a lot of thought into this over the last several months, and I have a plan for my new startup project:
- Devote enough resources in the beginning but be VERY conservative, thrifty and resourceful.
- Get advisors involved before you build anything to make the best possible decisions about your initial business model.
- Build something inexpensively. Make it look good and professional but it doesn't have to be perfect. (I've got resources for this. Contact me if you need some ideas.)
- Get your network's feedback and start marketing on a small, local level.
- Put feelers out in the community to get an idea of what events you should be attending and who you should know in the industry.
- Collect your feedback and decide if changes need to be made to your test site.
- Market your site more and more as you have time but keep the pace equal to your delivery speed.
- Analyze the results and if it's worth your efforts to get serious.
These are the steps I've taken with my test project, GetYourChick.com, a dating advice website that offers confidential, honest feedback for men. I built the website myself in April and was able to get everything up and ready for under $350. SBDC in Seattle provided me with free one-on-one business advising (highly recommended), and I asked my contacts and consultants from past projects to add their two cents.
So far, I've gotten a wonderful response from the test site. The local crowd thinks that it will resonate with the Seattle dating scene; I've got singles events lined up; and, I'm meeting with contacts in this industry. I'm still hesitant to begin PR efforts, but I am blogging on a regular basis, link building, and starting to do my search engine magic.
I'll keep you updated on this test and if my efforts are successful. Please ping me if you know anyone in the dating industry that I should know, or if you have questions about the methodology I'm using.