How to start a startup (unorthodox version) – Part 3

3. Find 10 startups that do the same thing

After the first two steps, you have proven to yourself that you are serious enough to give this startup thingy a try. So now we get into the real work. And it sounds boring. It’s called research. It’s not market research, e.g. highlighting a specific market that is worth billions of dollars and you modestly take x% of it. It’s finding out the players in the field (forget about the word ‘competitor’, you have nothing to compete with them yet).

At this stage, because your idea is so high level (you may not be aware of it, but yes, your business idea at this stage is just some general conceptual thoughts), you should be able to find at least 10 really successful startups (regardless of the funding stage) that do EXACTLY the same as what you want to do. Yes, I do mean EXACT. Because at this stage, your knowledge of the market and your idea/product is probably so basic that you would not be able to appreciate the differences. And this is a good thing. This is because now you can start dig deep into what you actually need to do. For example, you will find out where are the good sources of information. Also, by starting with similarities, it’s much easier to pinpoint accurately the differences without bias. At the end, by analysing all these 10 exactly the same startups, you will gradually find out more about the market, what people are trying to do, where they are at, why they are doing it now, and most importantly, how they are doing it. Yes, entrepreneurship is almost all about ‘how’.

Another benefit – when you prepare yourself this way, you will never be fazed when your random friends who have absolutely no startups or relevant industry experience tell you, “hey, your idea is bad, there are many people doing it already!”. Because all you will do is just have a nice smirk.

Part 4: Join the startup community

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