The first and most important thing before you start building a startup is defining your startup company vision. Creating your vision enables you to build out the rest of your startup’s framework and start off on the right foot. This is because it establishes many similar things that you would have in an executive summary, however, it also integrates mindset and people management so you can have parameters to build from. This post help you to define these things so you can work towards and tackle each successive project in your startup’s development.
What is Your Startup Company Vision?
Your vision is not just the product and what you’re going to make, but the ways in which you’ll make decisions and run your startup now and in the future.
Ten things a startup’s vision should include:
- What your product/service offering is going to be at the time of your launch, but also future product offerings that line up. Remember that this should solve or address a problem in the market. However, this is oriented towards more traditional tech-based startups rather than local stores. 42% of startups die because they make something the market doesn’t want.
- Who are your target customers?
- Why do you want to start your startup? Is it passion? Money? What’s driving you?
- Think: What is your vision for your startup 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years down the road? Where do you want to be with your company? How do you want to shape an industry or the world? Some of these are hypotheses that you’re going to want to test, but it gives you something to work towards, as well. As you progress, you’ll learn more about the actual numbers and what’s realistic in terms of amounts of customers and for how much they buy in at.
- Where you’re going to sell your product or service (examples: physical stores, e-commerce, your website, 3rd party marketplaces)
- How you’re going to sell it (examples: e-mail marketing, referrals, ads, social media, influencer marketing, cold outreach, branding, public relations, blogging, affiliate, etc)
- How much you’re going to sell them for (product pricing will usually change, though) and what your business model will be.
- Thoughts on how you will treat your customers and what you’ll do to keep them happy.
- How you manage your cash flow, like how to prevent burning up all of your money on certain activities or software and being frugal, or somewhere in between.
- How you would like to grow your company and scale up. Are you going to be part time doing this as a side hustle until you should quit your job? (probably yes, unless you’re extremely well-off)
Nine things you need to ask yourself and your cofounders:
- The type of people you want to bring on board to work with you — intellectually, socially, and experience-wise. If you don’t know, you can learn. But do think about personality fits, as they’re very important for organizations.
- Are you planning on using proven methodologies like the lean startup methodology or “swinging from the hip”? The latter will not work and will drive any existing teammates away. So make sure to check yourself and teammates for impulsiveness.
- How do you plan do lead? (if you don’t know, this is okay, but you do need to learn about leadership best practices). Here are 25 keys to startup success and founders’ success
- How will you go about your work? This formula for successful outcomes (adjacent) is a basic high-level overview of the things you need to do to achieve goals in startups. It can help with regard to how you work and how your startup reaches outcomes. This is similar to the OKRs that Google uses (objectives and key results).
- What will your company culture be like? Are you going to be remote or in-person?
- What are the values that you’re going to portray, both in your company and publicly for your brand?
- How will you incorporate learning, personal growth, and continuing education into your startup? How will you handle problems and failures that arise?
- What type of influence and impact do you want to have on your community?
- What separates your startup from the pack of competitors
Quick but Important Note
One thing a startup needs to get started is money, whether it’s yours, a combination of yours and other partners, investors, or from doing informal fundraising from family and friends. How much you have depends on what you want to build, but at least $3000 is enough to start frugally. If you really want to give yourself some breathing room, I recommend up around $10,000 USD.
However, it really depends on what your needs are – and if you need someone to develop an app or product for you, then you can kiss all of that money away. So if you’re not a developer, can’t build it with low-code or no-code, or don’t partner up with a developer – then you’re going to need a lot more money.
Vision and Mission Statement
The answers you provide will give you an overarching mid to high-level narrative of your startup. Now that you’ve had time to think about all of these things, boil it down to make a vision statement, or mission statement.
A vision or mission statement is what you will use as both an internal and external guide, or compass for helping you make decisions that are in line with the values of your company. It can be a phrase, but it’s usually more helpful to be more specific, writing one or a few sentences that will state your purpose.
Your purpose should be in alignment with the problem you’ve set out to solve for your customers. However, it can evolve over time. So don’t be afraid to update it when you feel like you need to. Do your best to make it compelling for both the ideal user and your team.
Get some inspiration for your statement from these 30 Inspiring Billion-Dollar Startup Company Mission Statements from Inc.com, and you’ll be rocking and rolling in no time.
Example – StartupDevKit’s Mission Statement
“Our mission at StartupDevKit is to empower aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage startups with the knowledge, resources, and support they need to turn their innovative ideas into successful and sustainable businesses. We are committed to fostering a thriving startup ecosystem by providing comprehensive programs, mentoring, and a rich library of resources that enable our members to navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship, validate their ideas, and accelerate their growth. Through our dedication to empowering and educating entrepreneurs, we aim to catalyze innovation, drive economic progress, and shape the future of startups worldwide.”
Startups are a Marathon
By getting to the nitty gritty of these questions early on, you’re going to be setting yourself up for a much higher probability of success with your venture. Moreover, by doing the homework now, you’re providing answers for future pieces of critical documentation, such as an executive summary, tech startup canvas, pitch deck, product roadmap, and more. This is planning, and planning is key to your success – as long as you follow through with it. Remember, taking decisive action is critical to your success.
Remember, this is only the first step.
Therefore, after this, it’s going to be important to validate your startup idea by talking with potential customers. However, this is just one of the steps that are necessary to properly validate a startup idea.
You will also benefit from checking out our post on How to Start a Startup.
While reading our idea validation article is helpful, if you want to really step up your idea validation and reduce your likelihood of startup failure ten-fold, then we recommend you sign up for a 14-day free trial of our Incubator Program which has an in-depth idea validation course that will help you go from zero to hero, helping you focus on the most important things to build and grow a successful startup. And, it’s quite inexpensive to purchase. 😀