Day 1. You have decided to start a company. What's next?
You have the big idea. You may have an invention or a prototype. There may be a few people. You may even have some funding or a place in an accelerator program.
Now it is time to start building momentum and to transform the loose collection of elements into a company.
This is the list we share with our teams at Main Sequence when we start a Venture Science company. Not everything will be relevant for you. But it is a helpful list to stop procrastinating and start building a company as well as a product.
Go and say hello to your customers and develop a customer playbook
Interview 100 customers and pitch. Learn what lights them up.
Develop a customer discovery interview format. How do we get get to value discovery quickly and consistently?
Create pitch deck for customers. It is probably different to an investor deck.
Build a network map of the people that matter around your company. Who can champion? Who can kill?
Establish digital systems today to start collecting the memory of the company
Something like Notion to collect playbooks, policies, etc
Something like Hubspot or Copper to collect people (customers, potemtial employees, etc).
Build v0.1 company playbook. This can be simple at first. Trust that it will grow.
How do we pitch?
What do we stand for?
What is our culture?
How do we sell?
Turn the big idea into a first hypothesis of strategy
Build your story
Run Messaging workshop to know what words you use
Establish a visual brand that is professional and be OK with the idea that you might change it one day
Launch holding web page. Even if it is just a logo in the middle of the screen. No code services like Webflow make this easy.
Get a Twitter account. People can't talk about you there unless they can @mention you
Media launch - target outcome? Customer pull?
Start building thought leadership around your category
10 Medium Posts
At least 2 tweets per week
Build a Twitter list of the people that matter around your company and check into it regularly. Join the discussion
Consider a program like Ship30for30 if you need motivation and skills to get started
Establish the corporation
Get insurance (including D&O). Set up a cycle (eg annual) for regular review of level and scope of coverage.
Book first 12 months of board meetings
Develop ESG framework and targets
Build an ESOP plan (Lawpath)
Draft policies for:
ESG (including modern slavery)
Diversity and inclusion
Business continuity (e.g. COVID-related operating disruptions)
Delegations and authorities
Bring the invention to life
How quickly can you show something? What is it?
R&D Tax Project Plan. There's real money there to fund your growth
Patent / IP strategy
Prioritisation of proof. What do you need to show for people to believe you?
Build your investor/funding network
Create a pitch deck for investors.
Present to other founders for feedback
Pitch Slam Dunk financing story to investors and test for their interest. At least 2 investors. It is OK to do this years before pitching
Review of government grants available for your startup. Make a big list and add to the calendar
What am I missing? I am @philmorle on Twitter