So you have a brilliant idea for a company. As fast as inspiration may have struck, you’re likely just as quickly deflated by the laundry list of to-do’s to get your baby launched. But what if launching a startup didn’t have to be so labor intensive? What if you could if you could literally go from conception to live in a month, a week, or even 20 lightning fast minutes? The key here is to reconstruct your idea of what it takes to get a business off the ground. Sure, you can raise funds, hire a team, code your vision from scratch, and do things the old-fashioned way. Or you can take a queue from some very innovative folks and utilize existing technologies to bring your vision to the world.
Need a little inspiration? Keep reading. In the time it takes you to finish this article, your next startup could be live.
Case Study: Product Hunt
Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover started with the first fundamental necessity for an uber fast startup; a simple idea. He wanted to create a community of product specialists to share information about new and exciting goods. Rather than build the community from the ground up, which require a ridiculous amount of code, Ryan opted to use existing tools instead.
In just 20 minutes time, he set up a group on link-sharing tool LinkyDink. He now has over 4,000 active users who voraciously consume his product suggestions each week. Understanding he had a hit on his hands, he has sinced pressed forward with a website, and expanded Product Hunt’s reach considerably.
Don’t Reinvent the Internet
The lesson here is also simple: utilize the myriad of sites, tools, and platforms that brilliant folks have already gone through the trouble of creating. It’s amazing how many companies spend scads of time and money building tools that already exist. Focus on what makes your idea unique, and vow to only spend time building and fine-tuning that specific attribute.
Efficiency Tools That Don’t Break the Bank
To further your inspiration, we’ve listed a few crucial tools that entrepreneurs without big budgets should definitely have in their arsenal. These may not be solely responsible for launching your new big idea, but they will help you get things off the ground without needing to raise a single penny.
1) Write a Wow-Worthy Business Plan in a Snap
Enloop is a snazzy tool that helps budding business owners create beautiful business plans. This program walks folks through the entire process, including financial forecasts and all the gory details. The “free and easy” model has limited features for a single business plan, and this is all you need to get things going.
2) Reach Your Audience with MailChimp
MailChimp, a well-known and much loved email sending tool, is free for folks who only send a handful of emails each month. This is essential for getting your newsletters off the ground – you don’t have to pay for their fabulous feature set until you’ve hit the big time and are sending up a storm. Email is still a crucial way to keep your audience engaged, and you can trigger lots of revenue generators through them too. There are other services like Campaign Monitor, but Mailchimp is free for users with lists under a certain number.
3) Find the Help you Need on Odesk
Sites like Odesk are essential for entrepreneurs who can’t afford to build permanent teams. Odesk is a community of freelancers around the world; you’ll find someone for just about any role you need to fill. You can hire folks by project or on an ongoing basis, and the community feedback system helps to minimize the interview process.
4) Make Things Pretty with Gimp
Photoshop is an expensive, feature-intensive design tool for artsy types. For the rest of us, there’s Gimp. Gimp has just the right amount of features you’ll need to polish up images for your design perfectly. Best of all, it’s free.
5) Visual Project Management
You likely don’t have time for intensive project management tools that require a full-time manager just to maintain. If this is the case, fall in love with Trello (we even use it here at Flippa.) Trello makes managing the details of a project easy-peasy, and it’s extremely intuitive and visual. It only has a handful of features, but that’s just perfect for a team moving at light speed.
Or You Could Just Go Shopping
Don’t forget that the fastest way to launch a new business could be a virtual stroll through Flippa’s marketplace. If you have a desire to launch an ecommerce store, as an example, it’s incredibly wise to see if there’s a store out there for sale that reflects your passion. By choosing this route, you’re live the moment you close the deal; or at least very close to it. All you need to do is fine tune and kick into marketing mode.
Regardless of which route you choose, the lesson is clear; startups don’t have to take years to launch anymore. Every idea has an expedited road to execution. If you have a shoestring budget and a penchant for impatience, let those factors work in your favor. You can always go big when the profits start rolling in. Just get your idea out there; your public is waiting.
Thanks to Craig for the photo