Have a startup idea? Here’s how long it will take you to turn it into success.
We have all heard of “overnight success” stories. Someone had an idea, built a simple MVP (Minimal Viable Product), and it just… took off. Millions of users, million-dollar valuations, investors, press, parades and fireworks. Right?
Well, not really.
These “overnight success” stories are often exaggerated by the PR team to throw the magic pixie dust on the brand’s origin story.
After working with hundreds of startups and founders, we have a more pragmatic view of how long it actually takes from idea to a viable and growing business. So here is the path that we observed most often.
Idea Validation: 1+ years
The best ideas come from trying to solve a real world problem you had yourself. It doesn’t always mean that you can turn into a successful product or service. It takes time to validate that a sufficient number of other people also have the same problem.
We break down this period into 2 stages:
- Problem Validation: making sure that the problem does exist for other people, they it’s “painful” enough for them to pay for a solution. Sometimes you can discover that even though people have a problem, they just don’t care enough to do anything about it.
- Market Size Validation: you want to make sure that there are enough MVC (Most Valuable Customers) out there to make it financially viable, at least in theory.
An MVC is someone who:
- Has a problem you can solve.
- Knows they have that problem.
- Actively searching for Solutions or Already using Band-Aid solutions that don’t quite solve the problem.
- Willing to change their behavior, and
- Willing to pay money for a solution.
Solution Validation: Several Months+
Ideas are useless. [Side note: don’t be afraid that someone might steel your idea. It takes so much effort to do something about it to be competitive.]
You have to spend a lot of time validating that your solution will actually solve the problem you want to solve. If you’re lucky, you can confirm it quickly simply by showing a sketch of an idea to a potential customer before writing a single line of code. If not, it may take several low-fidelity prototypes to find something that works.
Then you still have to package, build, price, market and sell the product to your customers. And they have to like it, and recommend it to others.
Then you will have to commit to continually refine the product, add new features, optimize delivery, etc.
We would call this Qualitative Solution Validation Stage.
Solution Validation at Scale: 1+ Years
So your solution works for the first 100 customers. Awesome! But will it work for 10,000?
To service more customers, you have to make sure that as you scale, the product still solves the problem on a technical level, and that you have the required corporate infrastructure to support that growth. You’re going to start hiring beyond your Dev Team. You’re bring in HR, accountants, marketing teams, etc.
Getting to Predictable, Repeatable Growth Stage: 2+ Years
It will take several more years until your company optimizes its processes, figures out repeatable sales channels, automates customer acquisition and retention, all while fending off competition and staying at the forefront of innovation in your industry.
So, yeah… We don’t think there is such thing as an overnight success. But it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing entrepreneurship. It’s one of the most exciting and self-fulfilling journeys a person can take!
And we think that founders that can make it in the long run, through all of these years of painstaking experimentation, are those that are committed to the problem they set out to solve. Not those who fall in love with the solution they dreamt up at the beginning (most often than not, the first solution is not the right one). But if you’re truly committed to solving that Problem, you will be willing to try anything, talk to everyone who can give you an additional insight, and keep going in the face of challenges.
We want you to know that we’ve been there and done that too. We understand the ups and downs of building a startup, and we will bring our expertise in building products and co-designing solutions together with your potential customers to maximize success.
About Fifth LLC. | Software Development Agency
Fifth LLC. is a Software Development Agency, the missing piece in your entrepreneurial journey, the tech partner to bring your ideas to life.
FIFTH is an exceptional team of 35+ developers, designers and a new generation of scientists. The three co-founders with backgrounds in quantum physics, molecular physics, astrophysics, applied mathematics and artificial intelligence met at a university 9 years ago. They bonded over their shared love of technology and a keen sense of its business applications, starting a team that has built over 200 digital products to date.
We live and work in beautiful Armenia, and our clients hail from the Silicon Valley, Europe and Hong Kong. What we all have in common is the drive to elevate our clients’ business to the next level and create them loyal fans in the process. We build rich, interactive, fully integrated digital products that delight the users and are easy to update and maintain.
To find out how can make your idea a reality, contact us for a free consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org