The Flow Ventures blog has been up and running for over six months and during that time it’s naturally gravitated towards topics for early-stage startups. Partly because that’s our focus at Flow and partly because people still overlook all the difficult work that happens right at the start of a startup. Things like idea screening, brainstorming, finding strategy, and finding competitors are all things entrepreneurs should be doing for themselves, not just when requested by outsiders.
I often tell people that the very first step in a startup is relatively risk free. You haven’t committed your time and money yet and you haven’t made promises to others that obligate you to a certain path. You have time to noodle around finding great ideas and discarding bad ones. This is the time to spend at whiteboards, in cafes debating your ideas, and doing research on the Web and in the real world. This is the time to assume your idea stinks and try to convince yourself that it doesn’t (not the other way around).
We’re going to keep focusing on the early stages of startups but here are 10 blog posts we’ve written so far that provide some practical ways to think about idea and business creation:
- Bulletproofing Your Ideas: Part 1 – The Quick Screen
- Bulletproof Your Ideas: Part 2 – Be a Skeptic
- A method for finding out if you have a painkiller or a vitamin
- Really Simple Strategic Planning
- Tips for Running Effective Strategy Sessions
- Translating Strategy Into Action
- Business Planning Without Business Plans
- Competitive Analysis for Startups: The Goal
- Competitive Analysis for Startups: Being Better, Not Just Different
- The Value Net as a Tool for Competitive Analysis
Writing this list makes it obvious that there are lots of gaps in our coverage. Hopefully, we’ll fill in some of those gaps over the rest of the year.