SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A STARTUP?
A startup company or startup according to Wikipedia is; an entrepreneurial venture which is typically a newly emerged, fast-growing business that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing a viable business model around an innovative product, service, process or a platform. A startup is usually a company designed to effectively develop and validate a scalable business model.
We’ve seen many examples of startups such as; Uber, Snapchat, Airbnb, Skype and even Space X. These companies have successfully launched products and services that exploit a gap in the market, which are highly disruptive to their industries and their competitors.
More and more individuals and companies are looking to create their own startup, in which they turn their business idea(s) into real-world products and successful companies.
These individuals and/or companies typically identify a solution which solves a real-world problem. In order to turn their idea into a viable company, they need to start developing their product.
At the outset of the product development, many startups have no idea how to take their concept from an idea and turn it into either a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or a fully-fledged digital product or solution.
Furthermore, many startups lack the knowledge and expertise of how to take their product to market, to promote it to their target market and create an audience.
Our involvement starts here.
IDEA VALIDATION / FIRMING UP THE CONCEPT
Not all ideas will be successful, in fact, the chances of making a success of a startup are fairly low. The idea needs to be probed, queried and validated to determine if it has the potential to become successful. The onus is on the startup to do as much research to validate their concept initially, especially if it is specific to a certain industry in which they have a vast knowledge of.
We, at Elemental, are able to provide insight and feedback as to the validity of the concept and whether we feel it can work or not, based on our experience and expertise. In certain circumstances, there are technology restrictions the startup may not be aware of which can render the potential product useless.
Once the idea has been validated, the business case is solid and the product then needs to be developed. We need to scope out exactly what the product consists of, how it must work and what the business processes/rules are.
SCOPING AND WIREFRAMING
Scoping involves a series of workshops where we discuss the idea, define the product and scope out the solution. We also finalise the features that are only necessary for the initial launch, in other words, creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Another key part of the scoping of the solution is the creation of wireframes.
Wireframes are essentially a skeleton layout of each page/screen and allow the client to view the product in an extremely basic format, with the ability to click through the various screens to get an understanding of all the steps involved and the structure of all the screens. In other words, they get to “play” with their product before it’s actually built.
This is of great benefit as people are better at understanding things when they can visually see them (as opposed to a long-winded technical specification document). Wireframes are often referred to as a prototype and it’s quicker and easier (and cheaper) to make changes to the prototype rather than make changes once the product is in full design and development phase.
While working with the startup in this phase, we make many adjustments to the wireframes based on research, feedback, usability and development impact. This ensures that we refine the wireframes until they are perfect, with all processes, screens and layouts providing a strong user-friendly experience whilst being highly functional.
Once the wireframes are approved and signed off, that constitutes the scope of the project, we also create and provide additional documentation for user journeys and technical specifications, if required, project dependent.
END OF PART 1
This concludes part one of this seven-part series. Stay tuned to our next blog article where we explore the next step in building digital products for startups.