Step-by-step guide: starting your web company

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By Elizabeth Yin (Co-Founder, LaunchBit) Every aspiring entrepreneur has to start somewhere. Yet when you decide to start a company, there's no guidebook to tell you what to do next. People might argue that "real" entrepreneurs need no such book, but a few years ago, I had wasted two years floundering and $20k of my savings on my failed startup -- I could have benefited from such a guidebook. So my best friend Jennifer Chin and I compiled the LaunchBit Startup Guide, which I wish I had had several years ago.

This guide is for new aspiring web entrepreneurs to learn to validate your business idea and build early versions of your first web prototype without coding. After my failed startup was over, I teamed up with Jennifer to try my hand at a different startup.

Today we build comparison shopping sites and use the Lean Startup Method to vet our business ideas before coding our sites. This process ensured that we either cut our losses quickly or achieve profitability. Over time, our process became formulaic. We share our learning and process in the LaunchBit Startup Guide.

In the LaunchBit Startup Guide, we cover:

  • Customer research
  • Doing keyword & other online research
  • Finding and Interviewing potential customers
  • Analyzing your interviews
  • Building a landing page
  • Messaging and creating your layout
  • Marketing your landing page
  • Analyzing your conversions
  • Building your first prototype
  • Using third party tools to build your prototype
  • Determining your feature set
  • Marketing your prototype
  • Analyzing your conversions

At each step, we explain the thought process behind the analyses and learnings. The guide also points to fantastic blog articles written by user experience experts and other successful entrepreneurs. We include tutorials on how to utilize useful third party tools, saving you time in starting your web company.

We built this guide in hopes that no one else would bark down the wasted path I had taken. The focus is on customer development and executing quick iterations of your idea in order to determine product/market fit as soon as possible. We'd love it if you'd check it out and let us know what you think. Email us at hello@launchbit.com.

You can also hear Elizabeth tell her story on YouTube here:

About the guest blogger: Elizabeth Yin is an internet marketer and backend programmer. Previously, she ran marketing for startups and also worked as a marketing manager at Google. Prior to Google, Elizabeth wrote backend code for startups during the rise and fall of the dot com era. Elizabeth holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford and an MBA from MIT Sloan. Follow her on Twitter at @launchbit.

You can catch Elizabeth Yin and Jennifer Chin in person at Web 2.0 Expo 2011 on March 28 in San Francisco as they lead a workshop on Get Going: How to Build and Test Your Idea Without Programming.