Demonstrating progress is vital for a startup, for a host of reasons. The more traction you get, the easier things become! As with anything the first step is always the hardest. Recruiting other team members and investors becomes much easier if you can show them:
1. You are solving a problem that you are passionate about 2. Future cashflows 3. Progress/Traction
In this post lets focus on traction without a product or a CTO.
After you meet potential co-founders or recruits, as soon as you leave the room; first thing they would do is look you up online. Having an online presence for your startup could make a huge difference.
If you’ve zeroed in on a good name, get a domain and may be a simple logo done. You can easily create a landing page on that using host of services out there.
Start a blog on Medium or Wordpress. Speaking about the industry, the idea and other things related to your startup will reaffirm your passion to others looking to join you. Similarly creating accounts on Twitter, Facebook and other specific social media that would help you reach your target audience.
You don’t necessarily need to have an actual product; to sell it, in many cases. Try and find out if you can do that. Creating a Concierge MVP is a great way to validate your idea with minimum investments. For example, if you were to do a platform where people could find curated carpenters, plumbers and electricians. You could simply advertise with a phone number and a pricing in a neighborhood. Have a few curated contractors ready to take orders and evaluate the user experience after the service was rendered.
The idea with a Concierge MVP is to manage the entire user experience as closely as the online version offline. Lets you quickly validate some of the riskier assumptions.
New Team Members
Seeing many people having skin in the game and belief in your product/idea is a great motivator for others to take the leap. Identify the key skills that are needed besides a CTO that would complement you. Having 2 other co-founders helps, more that and it can be trouble.
Another cost effective way to project growth is to identify things that could be delegated to interns.
Having a business plan has numerous advantages of course but it also is a good recruitment tool; seeing the growth potential for the business worked out on paper makes a much stronger case for why people should join you in the mission.
Instead of doing an exhaustive business plan, you could opt for a Lean Canvas by Ash Maurya. This would be more than enough to show where things are headed.
Startups operate under conditions of extreme uncertainty. – Eric Ries
To demonstrate traction; have an online presence, build a team and create a business plan. Help people become confident about the idea and your abilities to execute it. It is extremely hard to find the person who are going to help you realize/build this vision of yours with the same passion as you. Make your search easier by making it inbound.
Please share suggestions you feel are quick wins to show progress/traction in comments. Good luck with your startup!
Close to 15 years in tech; I've served as a CTO and advisor to multiple organizations. Brought close to 20 products to market. As a founding member of multiple organizations I've done everything from tech to stratgey, sales, marketing, hiring, accounting and more. Experience in a variety of technologies including but not limited to AWS, Node, React, Serverless, ElasticSearch, Groovy, Java, Typescript, Angular, Grails, PHP, Drupal, Wordpress.
Always interested in looking at new tech, strategy and ways I can add value to organizations.