Startups – Lots of Questions

Startups have a lot of questions and doubts. Here is a small sample of what I get. They are in no particular order (there may even be repetitions).

  1. How can I support myself?
  2. Should I start a service company or get into products?
  3. How long will it take to break even?
  4. How will I convince my family?
  5. How essential are co-founders?
  6. How do I find a co-founder?
  7. How much money will I need before I start making some money?
  8. How long do I need to support myself (and family) with my own savings?
  9. Should I start on my idea while I am still working? Are there any legal issues I need to be aware of?
  10. I am technologist. Can I learn marketing and sales?
  11. I am marketing/sales guy. How can I get a tech guy to work with me?
  12. I have several ideas. How should I go about picking the right one?
  13. Should I build products based on my ideas or should I look for problems to solve?
  14. How many people  do I need on my team before I start?
  15. Should I do a funded startup or bootstrap it?
  16. How do I bootstrap?
  17. How do I get funding? How long does it take? What are the chances of getting funding?
  18. What if my product fails?
  19. Should I work out of home? Should  I find a co-working space? Should I have a good office?
  20. How can I attract people to my startup when I can’t pay them much?
  21. Should I build a product that is independent or build something on an existing platform?
  22. Should I use open source technologies or commercial technologies?
  23. I don’t know anything about finance and accounting. How essential is that skill for a startup?
  24. How long should I wait before deciding whether I have traction or not?
  25. Should I sell my products/services entirely through my website? What if my customers are not web visitors?
  26. There are hundreds of thousands of apps in the marketplaces. Is it too late to get in?
  27. My product is similar to the other product but much better. Is that a good idea to start with it?
  28. How do I get my first few users?
  29. How can I find people to test my product and provide feedback?
  30. Should I give a free copy to me beta users? Does beta make sense any more?
  31. What is an MVP? How do I decide what features go into an MVP?
  32. How do I get my first few paying customers?
  33. How do I scale to a few hundred paying customers?
  34. How do I price my product?
  35. Should I price less than my competition, or more?
  36. How would people find my product?
  37. How much money should I spend on advertising?
  38. I am not a designer and they seem to be a rare breed. How important is design for the first version of my product?
  39. How can I find talent? I want do build on Python/Ruby but I seem to bump into .NET or Java or PHP programmers only?
  40. What are the tech skills I need to learn before starting? There seem to be a formidable list – PHP/Python/Ruby/Java/C# for the server, HTML/CSS/Javascript for the client and knowledge of configuring servers.
  41. What marketing skills do I need before I start?  There seems to be another formidable set – SEO, Writing captivating messages, call to action, website analytics, growth hacking, direct mail campaigns, designing surveys?
  42. What is all this stuff about inbound marketing/content marketing/curation? They never taught me any of these in my engineering course or even in a few entrepreneurship classes I took.
  43. Should I start with a Freemium model? Why? Why not?
  44. People keep telling me to find a niche. I have no idea how to go about it. Who can help?
  45. Every one I talked to, asked me what my business model was. What the heck is it?
  46. When I come up with an idea, how do I know whether some one already implemented? How do I find out?
  47. When I talk about my idea, my friend says that he vaguely remembers seeing something similar? Should I still go ahead?
  48. My idea for the product is not new but it will make life easy for users. Should I still do it?
  49. Some one said that a new product has to be 10X better than a similar product? What if it is just 1.5x better or I don’t even know how much better it is?
  50. Is there a place where I can ask all these questions?

Add your own to the list.

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6 thoughts on “Startups – Lots of Questions

  1. It is an amazingly comprehensive list. In fact, just these questions and your answers based on your experience alone would be an excellent guidebook for novices as well as experienced people. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks Raghu. This gives me topics for a few follow up posts. I struggled with many of these questions but we also used to discuss some of these in various forums.

  3. Dorai,

    Would you like to take a shot at answering these questions in quora? We can put them up, link them here and it would atleast be a place for people to go to, to get a sense of things.

  4. Dorai,

    Do you want to take a shot at answering them, in quora? and perhaps linking them to the questions here? Would be a great link to send to people.

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