The First Question All Startups Ask


How to Start?

Over two years of providing office hours and coaching at Flywheel, the first obstacle I find most startups face is answering the question, “How do I start?”  The reason the answer is so difficult is that most business advisors find themselves lost offering good advice about how to get from an idea to a repeatable revenue model.  Startups have two precious resources… their own time and money. Both typically are limited, so finding the shortest path to revenue is always the challenge.

As Steve Blank, author of The Startup Owner’s Manual and Four Steps to the Epiphany, put it,  “A startup is not about executing a series of knowns. Most startups are facing a series of unknowns—unknown customer segments, unknown customer needs, unknown product feature set, etc. For truly visionary founders ‘seeing things that could be’ means more than just a standalone product—it means a world transformed…A startup is a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.”

What Guy Kawasaki refers to as the ”art of the start” is less about business plans and more about discovering a business model, less about sales and marketing and more about discovering customers and market fit for your idea. Fortunately for us the inception stage of getting a business started has been distilled into a series of methods known collectively as “lean startup”.

That’s where the “How to Start a Startup Series” beginning this week at Flywheel comes in. Based on curriculum developed by the experts at Stanford University and Y Combinator (the most successful tech accelerator in the world), this course concentrates on how to focus your resources, avoid rabbit holes, and move from idea to a validated business model in the shortest time possible.

Taught by local experts in lean startup methods, you can learn all about lean startup methods and best practices from national and local experts in entrepreneurship. Offered weekly in two-hour evening sessions over ten weeks, each session is accompanied by video lectures, readings, and books that feature the best of the best.

The courseware includes lectures by Sam Altman, President, and Paul Graham, Founder, of Y Combinator.  Additional lectures include co-founders of some of the biggest tech companies and cover 20 sessions with the likes of startup experts including Peter Thiel, Aaron Levie, and Reid Hoffman to discuss how to come up with ideas and evaluate them, how to get users and grow, how to do sales and marketing, how to hire, how to raise money, company culture, operations and management, business strategy, and more.

Register for How to Start a Startup
-October 5 – December 14 (Wednesday nights, 6-8:00 pm)

Running from October through December, this is the first in a series of courses that teach startups everything they need to know. Additional Courses in the winter and spring will include:

 How to Market a Startup
-January 11th, 18th, and 25th (Wednesday nights, 6-8:00 pm)

 How to Finance a Startup
-February 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd (Wednesday nights, 6-8:00 pm)

 How to Protect a Startup
-March 1st, 8th, and 15th (Wednesday nights, 6-8:00 pm)

 Getting Investor Ready
-March 22nd, 29th, April 5th, 12th (Wednesday nights, 6-8:00 pm)