Deciding to open a startup means being aware of embarking on a journey with risks and difficulties. For this, the first thing to do is an initial study of the reference market, then you need to draw up a business plan and read up on the available public and private funding to raise liquidity. Even if it may seem like a difficult path, with a little organization and tenacity, the goal can be achieved: realizing an idea.
1. Find a winning idea
Starting a startup means making an idea concrete, finding a solution to a problem or responding to a need. Success will be decreed by the ability of this intuition to be able to break through the market and, as anticipated, the initial study of the reference market will be fundamental.
2. Definire il business model
Una volta definita l’idea, occorre rivolgersi al mercato e validarla, ovvero valutare se effettivamente esiste un bacino potenziale di clienti a cui rivolgersi. Una strategia solitamente utile è individuare un gruppo di early adopters (ovvero i nostri primi clienti) e chiedere loro di valutare l’idea. I feedback degli early adopters ci consentiranno di migliorare e affinare ulteriormente la nostra idea e di valutare la fattibilità della stessa.
Subsequently, the business model is defined to describe what the startup does, how it produces value and what its competitive advantage is. The most used tool is the Business Model Canvas. By registering for free at the GoBeyond Academy, it is possible to find out what a Business Model Canvas is and how to use it, as well as having access to many other insights designed to support the development of sustainable projects with a social vocation that have a concrete impact.
3. Do a market analysis
The analysis of the reference market is useful for many reasons. The first is to identify competitors and analyze their work, from how they use promotional means to the characteristics of the service or product.
Furthermore, market analysis is used to understand if we can carve out a space for ourselves in this market and what we need to get there. Only in this way will we be able to understand if our idea can actually be transformed into a company that generates profits, because it has customers to turn to.
4. Create a business plan
The Business Plan is a fundamental document for starting any activity, as it serves to evaluate the feasibility of a project, as well as to predict growth and evolution. The business plan includes a description of the objectives, the necessary professional figures, the market context and an analysis of the economic needs, essential for identifying the necessary financing.
5. Finding funding
As described in our article on ways to finance a startup, there are several alternatives to resort to. It is one of the most difficult phases, because there are no revenues and there is still no product. We need to arm ourselves with patience and evaluate all the options available to acquire liquidity through public and private funding, actively participating in contests and calls dedicated to startups.
6. Create a marketing plan and get started
It is necessary to carefully choose the promotional activities to be activated at the beginning and above all to address a limited number of people. Only when product-market fit is achieved (full customer satisfaction) will it be possible to activate the next steps: wider market, new marketing activities, new product or service implementations.
The moment is still embryonic and the feedback from our customers is the most precious treasure that allows us to find elements to improve, but also to identify the strengths on which to focus.
From here on, the only goal will be growth and expansion. It is difficult for sure, but we have proof that someone has made it and those will have to be our beacons to follow.
The virtuous example of an Italian startup
For some years now, a new term has been coined in the field of innovation, namely unicorn, a title applicable to those startups that have reached a billion-dollar valuation. In Italy, for example, three Piedmontese boys have earned the title of unicorn with their startup Satispay, thanks to the development of a system aimed at simplifying digital payments.
Satispay is one of the most successful Italian startups in the fintech field.
Founded in 2013 by Alberto Dalmasso, Dario Brignone and Samuele Pinta, the basic idea of Satispay is the need to make electronic payments quick and easy, a forward-looking idea that was consolidated during the Pandemic. In fact, the first major turning point took place in November 2020: a total of 110 million euros of investments were reached since 2013. Growth did not stop and in September 2022 it obtained a mega round of 320 million, exceeding the valuation of 1 billion. The Satispay case highlights how it often takes time – a good 9 years – and tenacity to achieve the first relevant results.
It is important to remember that there are players who enter the scene to support and facilitate the growth path of a startup, such as GoBeyond with its Call for ideas dedicated to students, entrepreneurs and aspiring innovators.