When setting up a business most people ask about the first necessary steps. Every entrepreneur goes about it in his own individual way. Many entrepreneurs actually set up their business adhoc and improve while they go along – creative chaos you might call it. We´d like to share with you our first steps starting Foundum, as some might be relevant for you as well – creative chaos in a structure
From Idea to Opportunity
We´ve been playing around with the Foundum idea for a little more than one year. The first idea fragments and concept notes were scribbled into a children drawing book (better than any power point, word or mind mapping software).
It’s been important for us to validate that we don’t have only a nice idea but that there’s actually a real opportunity beneath it. After speaking with numerous company founders, other entrepreneurial key players and stakeholders who helped us validating our concept and developing the idea further, we could verify that there´s a strong need to display the entrepreneurial global ecosystem on-line.
Researching the Market
First thing we did was looking into the market to see what the potential market of entrepreneurs actually looks like and how big it is. Did you know that there exist more than 140 Mio. entrepreneurs world-wide?
Internal Communication structure
Our remotely working team benefits from Web2.0 information sharing technologies. Yammer - our internal company Twitter – enables us to share day to day information, news and resources. As a document repository we can highly recommend using Dropbox where you can share files online whilst having them saved on your computer.
Well, these were the fun parts and now the hard work begins:
Writing the Business Plan
Many entrepreneurs either don´t have a Business Plan in place when starting their business or they go the other extreme… overestimating the importance of a Business Plan trying to create the perfect document. We´re trying to define all important aspects of the business and use it as living document as we go along. It´s important to have a Business Plan especially if you´re planning to apply for grants, loans or other types of investments. You can present your business idea in a structured way and it also helps you to remain clarity of your own goals and objectives amongst your team from day one.
Finding the right name
This is a very tricky topic, since you have to find a name that fits to your business, where the domain name is still available and where you have a high chance to register the trademark. Some entrepreneurs subcontract a branding specialist for the name finding process. In our case we tried to do it ourself. We brought our heads together several times and soon came up with the name: Foundum - based on the words Founder, Foundation and the latin ending „–um“ interpreted as providing a robust basis.
And of course we were lucky that this domain was still available. Important if you’re estabishing an internet site.
Creating the Logo
We have some of the the best designers here in Barcelona/Spain when it comes to logo creation. Arnau Masramon from Forabord is the one who turned our vision into an icon expressing it all: connecting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial entities through local ecosystems all over the globe. The font design we discovered at our favourite Sushi restaurant in Ibiza. The font colour is taken from our best-loved withe wine bottle and the icon colours are the water colours of Espalmador.
Especially when creating a brand in the B2C sector a trademark should be secured ensuring there won´t be any difficulties with other companies in the future. We´re working closely with a trustworthy lawyer in our hometown Hamburg/Germany to assure a smooth registration processes.
It´s important to register all major domains just to avoid complications in the future with stolen domain names. We´ve registered the main domains of Foundum which we consider important for our market.
Telling the world who you are without having a product ready
Before even launching our site it was important for us to show the world who we are and what we are trying to achieve. That‘s why we created a first ´Teaser´ Page and started blogging about topics relevant for entrepreneurs.
Setting up our first Twitter Account
Of course, these days it‘s a MUST to have a Twitter Profile if you want to be someone in the Web2.0 Galaxy I´ve been active on Twitter for nearly two years now and it was a special moment to see our first Foundum Twitter post up and running on 18th November. We are eager to share relevant information and connect with other entrepreneurs.
Developing the Product
We run riot in brainstorming sessions where we´re sticking paper and scribbles on a (real) wall and from there we specify our ideas in a requirements document in the most detailed way. After finalizing this first planning stage we visualize our ideas using the Wireframing Tool Axure. It´s important to plan your website properly before you get the developers starting to code on it as you might lose a lot of time and money if you change your mind later when the site is already up and running.
Setting up the Company
Every city and country has their own regulations – make sure you are aware of them. In Barcelona we had to register the company name first to obtain permission from the government to use it for our purpose. Before the company can be set up in front of a notary, you need to have a provisional NIF in place and a bank account up and running with the initial capital deposited.
… to be continued!