There is no standardized process to create and carry on a new venture. Currently one can find processes that go from a simple “three steps scheme” up to complicated flow diagrams which discourage even the most optimistic entrepreneur.
Based on this it is possible to summarize the process of launching a start-up in a few steps so that you may feel comfortable with the idea, notwithstanding that each part of the process is vital and requires time, patience, resources, decisions and lots of research (did I mention patience?). Furthermore, it is of utmost importance that the initiative be protected under Intellectual Property, as we will see down bellow. A not duly protected start-up can cause everything else to collapse should another company or person appropriate it. Fortunately, you are an informed entrepreneur… or else you wouldn’t be reading this.
Steps to develop a start-up:
1. Visualizing the idea
Some authors refer to this as the “pre-start-up phase” or “early phase”. It is the moment when you don’t have the money, nor the structure and possibly not even the name. Nevertheless, you probably have the idea. So far it is nothing more than an unfulfilled dream but you can still start thinking of a business model, an adequate name to register for your company and a name for your product or service, a graphic symbol to represent the business, as well as on how to go about raising the resources needed.
2. Setting up the company
You are now at a point in which you have the minimum capital needed to begin with, a clear and definite idea, a name to register for the company and most probably a simple organizational chart in which you play several roles. Here is where Intellectual Property comes in: not only are you going to formally and legally register your company but you must also protect the trade name you have chosen for it, as well as for your products or services. After all, the last thing you want is that after working so hard someone else may come along the way and appropriate your trademark and the good will that you may have developed around it. This includes protecting the logo or graphic symbol.
It is important that once you have registered the name of your company and your trademarks that you also register them in the social networks so that in the future you may use them to promote your business. If your company requires a space or office to function, now is the time to search for such space and run the necessary errands to buy or rent it so that it will be ready for the following phase.
3. Product development
This phase may vary depending on the type of business you have set up, that is, if for selling products or offering services. If you are developing the prototype of a new revolutionary product you must definitely resort to Intellectual Property to patent it so that in the future you may exploit it commercially and take credit not only for having developed it in the first place but also to reap the benefits that may derive from its commercialization.
Evidently this phase is not named so but it is a dramatic way of saying that from this point on there should be no turning back. This is the day in which you open the doors of your business for the first time or sell the first unit of a product developed by you. The fact is that you are now immersed in the entrepreneurial world and it is time for the party to begin. You are about to start recovering the capital invested in buying supplies, paying taxes, salaries and a whole lot of things that will pressure you. So take a deep breath, keep your cool and rely on the resources that you and your team consider appropriate to promote the sales that you crave for.
Today very few things happen outside the web and the social networks. Therefore, remember that just as in World 1.0 copyright provisions also apply in the social networks: respect the authorship of content produced by other persons and be careful with the image you project of your company. Once something is published it is very difficult to reverse it, so before using the network to promote your newly-founded company define the language and communications strategy with the help of a Community Manager, try to produce your own content and images, or if need be, use content protected under Creative Commons-type licenses. As you can see, entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property must go hand in hand to guarantee success in a vital part of the process.
Finally, it is essential that you know the scope of your rights and obligations as creators so that you can get the most out of the potential of your ideas. Avoid taking off on your left foot by previously researching the issues of Intellectual Property involved before launching a project. Fortunately you are doing very well by reading this article.
Last but not least, remember that at Clarke, Modet & Co. we can always advise you so as to make your endeavor much easier.
We wish you luck with your start-up!