For example, incorporating, registering a trademark, getting web TOS, etc. What were the issues that arose for which you wished a quick, easy-to-use, reference existed? I ask because my company is launching a service that helps entrepreneurs build the infrastructures for their businesses and we want a sense of where the help is needed most.
My team and I recently launched an MVP website, Biztrack, which provides entrepreneurs with step-by-step instruction to Setup, Manage or Grow their business while also sharing helpful information, third-party resources, online tools, government resources, downloadable documents, pricing estimates, and a list of recommended business providers for each of the steps below.
Setup Track: Transform that great idea into a product or service.
1. Conduct Market Research
2. Research The Competitive Landscape
3. Review Business Setup & Ramp Up Costs
4. Create A Business Plan
5. Choose A Business Location
6. Choose Business Structure
7. Choose A Business Name
8. Register A Business
9. Get Domain, Develop / Host Website, And Setup Company Email
10. Obtain Federal And State Tax ID Numbers
11. Apply For State Licenses And Permits
12. Open A Bank Account
13. Get Business Insurance
14. Establish Branding For Your Business
Manage Track: Run your business like a boss.
1. Manage Accounting
2. Manage Business Finances
3. Pay Business Taxes
4. Human Resources
5. Get Business Equipment, Tools, Services, & Software
6. Remain Compliant With State And Federal Laws
7. File A Patent, Trademark, Or Copyright
8. Develop A Minimum Viable Prototype (MVP) Or Product Prototype
9. Conduct Beta Testing
10. Gather User / Customer Feedback
11. Website Optimization / SEO
Grow Track: When business is good, it’s time to expand.
1. Access To Funding
2. Expand Your Business
3. Manufacturing And Distribustion
4. Brand / Promotional Merchandising
5. Develop A Sales Strategy
6. Develop A Marketing Plan
7. Develop A Public Relations (PR) Plan
8. Create A Social Media Marketing Plan
9. Business Training / Consulting And Health And Wellness
10. Seek Out Strategic Partnership Opportunities
11. Outsource Your Business Services
12. Close Or Sell Your Business
The feedback we’ve received from the business service providers we’ve partnered with has been extremely positive as LegalZoom, GoDaddy, Hiscox,NameCheap, LegalShield, HubSpot for Startups,InMotion Hosting, TriNet, andresponse:now(to name a few) have all agreed to be listed as recommended business partners.
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This is a great idea. Doing it well will be hard but insanely valuable.
One opportunity you have by getting companies young is to de-fuckify (<- technical term) their KPIs and business model before they get entrenched. I used to work at a company with a complex biz model and oversaw the implementation of an ERP system when the company was at $50mm or so. It was a ghastly experience - and ERP implementations are almost always ghastly (if they don't fail completely). Friends and I have pondered - what would make ERP implementations less hellish?
The problem is that one-size never fits all for ERP, so even small companies are forced into buying/customizing "enterprise" (aka fragile and boutique) solutions. But what if one-size* could fit all? If a company was built from the ground up in ways that are standard, except where deliberately and advantageously diverging from standard, perhaps ERP wouldn't have to be such a freakin' mess.
The same applies, overlappingly, for BI.
Another idea: there are a finite number of biz models, and yet it is often a long search to figure out what one will work for you - and whether or not it'd be lucrative enough. A business model builder would be an *awesome* feature. If you chose "freemium subscription", then you get asked to estimate conversion rates, churn rates, etc. You could specify demographics & psychographics, which your system could use against census & other data to estimate market size. Hell, you could get fancy and give examples of pricing for "like" services. This would spare entrepreneurs so much pain. It isn't as convoluted and non-deterministic as we tend to think - just nobody has put the data all in one place.
Final idea: there are two sides of the MVP process: product development and user feedback. Tech people are notorious for being good at building, but failing to get user feedback. VCs shame them into shaping up, but it is always an uphill battle. Why can't we let people do what they're good at? Plus, people who build product get really emotionally invested, and it is hard to be objective - this is just. how. it. is. If there was a service to be us tech peeps' "MVP buddy" that recruited users, ran focus groups and helped interpret findings: SO VALUABLE. I'd like to sign up for a service that runs a monthly user test on my product - month in and month out with some slight/limited adjustments in timing if certain big features are being rolled out - where I could give guidance about what I was most interested to know, but would mostly be in the hands of a (far more objective) user test guru. From this I get qualitative feedback AND quantitative feedback, so I can see, month-over-month, if my product is getting easier to use and more desirable.
BTW, these are some of my fav ideas for alternate startups I might someday do, but I have my hands full and I just want these things to exist. Though people tend to value ideas based on what they pay for them... which in this case is nothing :-)
* By one-size I really mean "less than infinite" - if all businesses could find their match in a set of say, 50-100 "sizes", that'd be "one size fits all" by comparison.
None of that is MOST important. Those are just features to get someone to spend money that they maybe shouldn't spend in the first place. If you really want to build something critically necessary, and missing in the marketplace, you should develop a platform that answers the questions "does my idea suck, or not", and "Even if my idea is great, am I the person to lead the launch"?