How To Start A Web Business

How To Start A Web Business


Over the last several months I have had an opportunity to talk to many web entrepreneurs. While it was really exciting to get a glimpse at their new products, and to learn more about the direction that the web is heading, I think the most interesting bit of information that I picked up from them was an answer to the question, "How do you start your own business?"

All of these entrepreneurs have one thing in common, they have transformed an idea into action. Now I am going to share some of the advice that I have received from them to help all you burgeoning web moguls do the same.


Guy Kawasaki, Garage Technology Ventures

The answer is very simple. (a) Do not write a business plan. (b) Do not create a PowerPoint pitch. (c) Do not try to raise money. (e.) Do build a prototype. That’s the way to get off the ground because if you can’t build a prototype, a business plan, a pitch, and trying to raise money is just self-flagellation.

[Truemors]


Vajid Jafri, cFares

cFares

If you truly believe your idea fills a need, then start with identifying how many people would use it. Make sure that someone else hasn’t already built it. Then build a prototype and test it with a small group of people to make sure the potential users will like it. Put together a brief business plan and build a financial model of how you are going to sell it and make profits. Get together a top notch team, even if you don’t hire them until after you have funding. Put together a pitch and start calling the investors. All these steps are there to test your mettle, and if you truly believe in your mission you will overcome adversity. You will never give up, you burnt you boats and there is no going back, “Failure is not an Option” are your mottos. If you stick with that, then victory will be yours.

[cFares]


Ed Freyfogle, Nestoria

Nestoria

My main advice would be to always remember that your most valuable resource is your time. Are you using it effectively? Having good ideas isn’t hard, knowing which idea to focus on, which to outsource, which to skip altogether, that’s the skill.

Beyond that, all I can say is hire great people. We’ve been very lucky to attract a first class team.

[Nestoria]


Andrew Glass, Foodio54

Foodio54

Mike and I have worked on several projects together now and the one thing that comes to my mind is that you have to envision what you want your business to be and then realize that someone else is planning on doing the exact same thing that you are. Then you have to buckle down and work like there’s no tomorrow.

Most people are just like us…they have full time jobs and the only way they’re going to be able to make their idea develop into a reality is to make sacrifices. What little time and money you have after work and bills has to go into that idea you have. You have to stay focused and prioritize everything. Mike and I use a whiteboard in our apartment to write down what needs to be done and rank each thing by priority and difficulty. This allows us to keep a running tally of the things that we need to do every time we step out of our rooms.

[Foodio54]


Eric Goh, Recommendr

Found your company with people you really trust, respect, and admire. Your company may outlast the average marriage in the US, so you better be sure these are people you are willing to work with for the long term.

Pick an idea that tries to help people and make people’s lives better. If you succeed in helping people, you too will be a success. Choose something you’re passionate about. When you work for yourself, you’re going to work harder than any company you’ve ever been at. Starting a company will be physically, mentally, and emotionally painful at times and if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, there is a good chance you will quit.

Some other advice is to “just get it out.” You can’t design in a bubble so you need people to give you feedback. Listen carefully to your early adopters; they will be invaluable in shaping your product or service. Don’t forget to thank the people that help you. Even if you’re a cash strapped startup like us, you can do small things to show your appreciation. We give people that help out whatever we can, like gift cards to Peet’s coffee, some iTunes credits, or something like that.

[Recommendr]


Mark Trefgarne, LiveRails

LiveRail

Well, every company’s challenges are unique, but if there is one piece of advice I can share, its to build the right team. No matter what challenges you and your business face (and there will be lots), if you are surrounded by a team of intelligent, passionate, talented and imaginative people who believe in what you’re doing, you’ll have everything you need to work through the tough times.

[Live Rail]


Aaron Fulkerson, Deki Wiki

Deki Wiki

Don’t wait to release. Get it out there early, don’t be afraid to be embarrassed. We learned this lesson the hard way. If you look at the current landscape of “Web 2.0”, “Enterprise 2.0”, or “Media 2.0” apps, I believe we fit in each category, those who are most well known are often the least interesting, but it’s because the creators put it out there quickly, very early, and talked about it lots.

[Deki Wiki]


Matt McInerney, Gleamd

Just go ahead and do it. If you really think you’ve got a good idea, you can find a way to implement it. I got Gleamd off the ground in 2 days, and I’m so glad I just put the pedal to the metal and got it done.

[Gleamd]


Nick Schmidt, Project Elliot

How I started off was developing my own personal passions into something tangible, then start networking with people online & offline. Networking online is great, but it is even better when you get to meet people face to face and actually see they are a real people.

Seriously, if you want to try something new, DO IT. Try it by yourself then network yourself to other people. Ask questions, talk to people, join groups, and find other people that are interested in the same things you are interested in. Collaboration is key.

Just talking about this reminds of all these other project ideas that I have put on the backburner, but they are still are a burning goal in my mind, and they will be implemented in the future.

Right now I have a paper weight on my desk that my late mom gave me. The paper weight that says, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Ask yourself that, then believe, and you will receive.

[Project Elliott]


Web 2.0 Roundup


VideoJug: Small Business And Entrepreneur Basics

In brief — pick a great team, get your product to market, create what you're passionate about and "Just Do It". There is about $10,000 worth of consulting fees written into just this line. Get out there a build something great.

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