Building a company is a journey that takes a lot of effort, patience, and hard work. In this article, I will be sharing my experience of building my new venture Wois.io, as well as insights on how to build, scale, and get results in startups. I have already built multiple companies and I realized that I go through these exact same stages every time, and in the most successful cases I’m even coming to the end of the game. So, let’s dive in!
- The Idea Stage
- The idea stage is the foundation of any company. It's where you start with an idea, and everything else follows. In my case, I wanted to connect bright-minded people worldwide and highlight their opinions, stories, and unique thoughts on different topics. My initial idea was to store their legacy in the form of decentralized NFT’s where they can share - or even sell - their digital legacy. I started to build a team around this idea. The team was open-minded, and at this specific stage, we all felt like one big family that’s building something cool, innovative, and that we hadn't thought of before.
- Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
- At this first stage the goal is to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This process looks the same at almost every startup. Some companies might do it in a year, some within a month or weeks, but they all go through the same steps. This stage is crucial because it helps you test your product or service, get feedback from potential customers, and understand what works and what doesn't. But the most important point is that your team has to be tight knit and working in unison with minimal push back or conflict. In my new company, Wois, we went through this process in 4 months from the first day of development.
- Market Fit
- The second stage is going from MVP to the Market Fit. And this is where Wois has been for the last 10 months. It's the period where most startups die, and on average it takes about 3 years for companies to find their market fit. This period is also called the "Death Valley" because companies need to prove that the idea is viable and needed. During this process, all ideas usually go through pivots, and it’s important to accept that some ideas may not work. In my case, the NFT marketplace wasn't working optimally for different reasons, but I still wanted to highlight people and what makes them who they are. In this past year, I’ve already made around ten pivots. Usually tensions are high in this stage and almost everyone on your team is feeling some level of stress. When you’re trying to bring your idea to life without knowing whether or not it’s going to work, teams usually split - some see the viability of your idea, while others unfortunately don’t. As these emotions start to arise, it’s important to check in with your team and allow them the space to talk through these feelings. Ultimately, this stage is where your company is trying to survive in battle - not just on the battlefield, but also inside the team.
- If you're lucky enough, you'll arrive at the third stage. So let's say you've already found the market fit and clients who need your products. Usually in the second stage, there are very few processes in place within the company. And the product is still not working perfectly, but you’re constantly trying to improve it for your clients (who continue using it regardless).
- The transition from the second stage to the third one involves going from chaos to efficiency. This is when a new challenge arises - something I like to call “growth pain”. As the company grows, you need to start filling out documents and paperwork, onboarding employees, hiring support for your clients if needed, and introducing new processes. Basically, you need to work on the efficiency of your business and product while continuing to show up for your clients, among other things. Lots of companies don't survive this stage either because clients might abandon your product if it’s not working efficiently or effectively, or you simply can’t keep up with your competitors. There is a lot of tension in this stage as well, but it's a different kind of tension. In fact, it’s beneficial because it pushes you and your team to be efficient and deliver the best product to the world. You’ve already killed all the enemies on the battlefield, and now it’s time to build a proper kingdom.
- Organizing and Culture
- Finally, the fourth stage is about finding new opportunities and working on the company culture. This is where a startup can really thrive and become a sustainable business. But if your company doesn’t grow, then it's time to find new opportunities. It's important to remember that a startup is a living organism that needs to evolve and adapt to survive. And as you know, most startups fail and die at different stages in their life cycle - it could be months, years or even decades.
- Recognizing your strengths and weaknesses and finding partners, employees, or agencies that can take on specific responsibilities is essential for building a successful startup.
But what is the secret that allows you to go through these stages and survive? I keep emphasizing the same idea in all of my articles - people are different. It also means that all of us perform at our best in specific stages. Imagine people as animals. “Hamsters” and “rabbits” will perform best in the first stage - Idea to MVP - or in Research & Development departments of the company. They thrive because they get to create something exciting and not go through to the battle of proving the concept or rising above competitors.
“Coyotes” and “wolves” will feel most powerful in the second stage - MVP to Marketfit. During a fight, you need to be a predator, and have an “all or nothing” and “today or never” mentality. This stage is chaotic, everything moves quickly, and a lot of pivots are made to prove the concept works for the right customer. Unfortunately, conflicts that are driven by emotion, power and control arise inside the team as well.
“Lions” and “bears” are smart and calm, but also can be predators . However, they don’t like chaos - efficiency and regulation is where they thrive. Lawyers or professional accountants are a great example. Many people might assume they are overthinking, overworking, checking every number, and every single word. But that’s their nature - efficiency for them is all about rules and order. And they strive to do their work perfectly because there’s simply no other way.
And the final group is “elephants” and “giraffes” - large, calm plant eaters. They are not in a rush, they are kind and friendly. But if you cross their personal boundaries, they will fight back. Their main goal in the company is to look for new opportunities and build a healthy culture within their team. They fully understand how different groups of people (or animals in this case) can work together in peace.
Understanding the different stages of a company's growth is crucial for anyone working in a startup. It's essential to recognize where YOU personally fit best and build a team that complements your skills and stages. Each stage has its own challenges and opportunities, and it's important to remain flexible and adaptable throughout the journey.
P.S. This article was generated automatically using a 13-minutes video recorded on Wois.io