The product or service idea is up to you – that’s why you’re the entrepreneur right? Here’s what should immediately follow:
1) Define your target audience. The more specific you can make this the better. Start with: Who will your first five customers be, and why? What problem are you solving for them? How important is it?
2) Research the target. Find out what they need most pertaining to your product. Ask about current alternatives. See where you can do better. These conversations will guide you in the weeks and months to come.
3) Plan on lots of exploration and rapid iteration to develop your business model. Focus on how you will be different. Don’t be married to the original idea – expect it to evolve.
4) Create a marketing strategy based on what you’ve learned from studying the category, and the research. Make the strategy as concise as possible – nothing more than two pages.
5) Use the strategy as the basis for your name, logo and website.
6) Remember than scaling requires standardizing and executing your business model. Does it work well? Is it repeatable?
7) Create a website and mobile presence that speaks directly to those same first five customers. The narrower the focus, the more compelling your message will be.
8) Stay lean and move quickly. Perfection is the enemy of the good. Fix what doesn’t work, but don’t stop.
9) The first relationships with your customers are the most important. They will either recommend you, or not. Treat them like gold.
10) Don’t be cheap or your brand will look that way, too. Hire the best talent you can possibly afford – especially for your initial branding. You only get one chance to make a first impression with potential customers.