I’m not going to do it. Mostly because famous VCs and founders are already doing it. All you have to do is just listen, apply, test, observe, pivot or persevere and repeat.
But I will give you top resources that can help you with your startup, no matter the stage you’re at, but most efficiently if you’re just getting started.
Who am I to talk about it? I’m the co-founder of a non-profit organisation, Girls Who Code Romania, BizDev for Work In Startups, Growth Hacker for Mindvalley and founder of Firsty (a startup that died before the MVP launch and yes, failure is the best teacher).
Let’s get started.
Before you start:
- Paul Graham’s advice on starting a startup: just don’t do it!
Top 3 online classes to take if you want to start a startup:
- How To Start A Startup: Y Combinator‘s class at Stanford. You have all the big names in the startup world giving you advice and pointers: Paul Graham – Founder YC, Peter Thiel – Founder Paypal, Marissa Mayer – CEO Yahoo. You want to listen to these people, I assure you!
- How To Build A Startup: by Steve Blank, course built on his book The Startup Owner’s Manual, a book which is a mandatory read. If you want customers for your startup, that is 😉
- Technology Entrepreneurship: by Standford’s Chuck Eesley (check out part 2 also). This is the best course to do if you have an idea and you don’t know how to turn it into a startup. By the end of it, your idea will be a baby-company. He incorporates a lot of the above (interviews, case studies etc.).
Top 3 books you absolutely must read if you want to be or are an entrepreneur:
- Eric Ries’s Lean Startup: this is the absolutely number one book you have to read. If I was to choose only one book to recommend, this is it. Ries came up with the theory of agile development, constant testing and iteration, plus constantly learning from failure and adapting your product to the customer’s real needs.
- Steve Blank’s The Startup Owner’s Manual: when you’re done with Ries and you know how to develop your product, you gotta take a look at how to develop your customers. Blank is the best advisor on this one.
- Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares: you have a product, you have a customer development plan, all you need right now is growth. This book gives you a very simple process and advice based on case studies (Dropbox, Evernote, SEOmoz, AppSummo, and many others) on how to grow your startup using the right channel for you.
Bonus reading: Eric Ries took his lean development idea further and is on his way to become the Peter Drucker of startups management. He collaborates with startups founders or experts to develop a “Lean Series” for anything startup-related, from UX, to branding, to customer development. The books in the series can be found here: The Lean Series by O’Reilly. Check them out.
The 3 Growth Hacking sources you absolutely must check are:
- Sean Ellis: he’s the guy that came up with the term of Growth Hacking, so make sure you’re on to him and follow his every move.
- GrowthHacker.tv: this channel has interviews with all the famous growth experts in the startup world. From Dropbox to Facebook, you have an insight in growth strategies of companies who made it big.
- GrowthHackers.com: a community for anyone involved in growth and marketing. It has some famous growth hackers on, but also newbies that struggle with questions and issues at the beginning of their startup journey. So, jump on board, ask your questions and get to learning.
These are killer sources that help you directly with your startup. There is a lot of information out there, quality, that you can apply from day one, all you have to do is take it.
Last but not least: don’t throw your money on courses about startups and startup growth published by no-names or people that never built/sold a startup. It’s a constant waste of time. I’d rather “buy” consulting from growth hackers in my market or industry, if I am to put money on it. The resources are here, most of them are free, some of them have acceptable prices (growthhacker.tv has a yearly subscription of $149) and give you evidence-based, valid advice.