Getting the startup basics right – one year on

Getting the startup basics right – one year on

We’ve gained some new perspectives on startup life since launching LemonEdge a year ago. Let’s find out more.

Jamie Nascimento
November 4, 2021
min read

In July 2020, we published this article about bringing your business idea to life and starting your own startup. It’s been a year since we launched LemonEdge and we’ve learned so much about what it takes to start a business. So, it seemed like a good time to revisit our old advice and add some new tips.

Launching a business

You may be worried about launching a new business in the aftermath of a global pandemic. When we launched last year, the COVID-19 pandemic was in full swing, but we had gone too far to turn back.

However, the basics to launching a business are the same right now as they were when you made your initial plan. So, if you’ve handed in your notice at your job, brought on staff, put a down payment on an office or anything else, keep going. Your good idea is still a good idea. General Motors, Microsoft, Uber and Pinterest were all formed during times of massive disruption.

The basics

We followed the basic building blocks that we talked about in the 2020 article. Whether you’re launching into the financial service software marketplace, fintech or any other industry, the fundamentals don’t change.

However, since our launch, we found there are some extra things to consider. Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

  • What is your target category?

           ○      Which industry will you operate in?

           ○      Where is your specific focus?

  • Who is your target customer?

           ○      Remember, you sell to people, not businesses. Create an ideal customer profile (ICP) to bring them to life

  • What is your ideal customer’s pain point?

           ○      This is a data point. For example, 57% of people want a new service provider. Make it as rich as you can, combining data points to uncover a unique perspective or a fresh look at an old problem

  • What is your functional solution?

           ○      You should be able to sum this up in two sentences. It’s incredible how often I meet people who need ten minutes just to explain what they do

  • How will you position your company in your sector?

           ○      What makes you different? – Gucci and Zara both sell clothes but feel like entirely different brands

  • How distinctive is your brand?

           ○      Can you tell your brand apart from your competitors from 20 feet away?

  • What is your core communication message?

           ○      Be simple, consistent and single-minded

  • How will you define your company values as a startup?

           ○      Startups do things differently from big, established corporations. They ‘move fast and break things’. They disrupt the marketplace

           ○      Your core values are the foundations of your company culture, a flexible yet agreed-upon way of doing things

           ○      Startups typically develop their culture around these five fundamentals:

  • Innovation and creativity
  • Communication
  • Learning
  • Transparency
  • People
  • Will your company operate remotely?

           ○      For us, remote working has been an enormous benefit. We were able to operate across three different time zones (with a fourth on the way)

It allowed us to hire talented people, wherever they are in the world

  • What type of people will make up your company and its culture?

           ○      From experience, we can say that self-starters and people who are motivated to think outside the box fit best in a startup environment

Stay on track

The year since we launched has been a whirlwind. We grew our headcount from two to thirteen amazing people, with remote work allowing us to hire the best talent globally. Remote work also helped us budget better. For example, because we don’t pay to lease an office, we can invest that capital back into the business and be closer to our clients.

The journey never ends, but it starts with one small step. Even Facebook (now part of Meta) and Apple were startups once.

If you have a business idea that you think is worth pursuing, don’t let the current situation stop you. If you want to make a difference, it’s time to make that leap. If you have the fundamentals in place, you can be a success.