There’s a lot of question whether Newark, NJ, mayor Cory Booker’s recently announced startup #waywire is one loaded with potential or just an expensive pipe dream unlikely to get the user support it needs to become the next Facebook or Twitter. Still there’s much to be learned from Booker’s announcement and tips you may want to consider for your next startup.
Lessons in Startup
The kids are allright. First, when you create a new startup, target a specific audience. Sure you want everyone on the planet to eventually buy from you or use your product or service, but in the beginning, pick a group you think has a unique need. Booker maintains the millennials don’t have a voice and says he aims to give them one. TechCrunch
The smartest guy in the room. Booker is a smart politician and a tech savvy thought leader, but he tapped some of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest when it came to setting up his news startup for twenty somethings. You can use a similar approach. Be smart enough to put together a team that complements your strengths and makes up for any deficiencies. Fast Company
Who’s got your back? It’s not just the initial team you build, but the partnerships you forge early on to create your new business. In the case of Booker’s #waywire, he’s sought out some of the most influential investors and tech executives around to partner with him. The partners you choose are also important. CNET
Stuck in a rut. While niche audiences can be a good place to begin, it’s important to make sure the group isn’t already being served and that there’s enough room to grow. On one hand, Jammit, a startup creating aids for aspiring musicians, may have little room for growth beyond its targeted community. On the other, it competes against many free resources already available online. The Wall Street Journal
Biting the hand that feeds. Once you’ve identified your customer or user base and have connected with it effectively, it’s a bad idea to change direction too radically and engage in a course of action sure to antagonize that base. This is exactly what some critics argue Twitter has done, with moves reminiscent of MySpace and Digg missteps. Gigaom
Thinking big. Looking for that next billion-dollar business idea can be problematic. Cincinnati business leaders believe picking the next tech startup superstar will revitalize their community overnight, but many startups begin with a small, devoted following that grows slowly over time. Be ware of the next big thing. It may turn out to be a flash in the pan. Cincinnati.com
Irreconcilable differences. When partnering on a startup, it’s important to have documentation outlining rights and responsibilities, says Small Business Trends founder Anita Campbell. But it’s also important to see that you and your partner are compatible and have complementary strengths. Incompatibility among partners can spell big trouble for your venture. CorpNet
Acts of desperation. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and successful entrepreneurs have never shied away from taking those steps when necessary. Here are some examples of startup entrepreneurs who weren’t afraid to go to extremes when it came to insuring their company’s survival. Be sure you’re willing to do what’s necessary to help your business succeed. Forbes
Preparing for the worst. Earlier, we heard about the importance of picking the right partners for your startup. But legal considerations are also important to avoid litigation that may occur between co-founders as the business moves forward. It’s vital to look at some of the reasons founders might sue each other, and talk about some of the more critical issues of partnership up front. Smart Business
Ingredients for success. When planning your startup, don’t worry that you might not be the savviest tech entrepreneur, the shrewdest business person, or the most talented leader the world has ever seen. Other elements like hard work also factor into success. Just look at the examples Silicon Valley has to offer. Slate
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