How to find an idea for a startup and analyze mistakes effectively. Experience of the founder of YARD Delivery

How to find an idea for a startup and analyze mistakes effectively. Experience of the founder of YARD Delivery

Where is the source of ideas for startups? In problems. Once you understand their essence, you understand the solution. But what is the path for a startup from idea to realization? When to attract investment, what gives you the strength to believe in your product, and what kind of challenges lie ahead? Spoiler alert: there will be some, but they will teach you a lot.
Oleksandr Korniichuk, founder and CEO of YARD Delivery, spoke frankly about mistakes and lessons learned from them, about the proper allocation of resources when they are limited, and about how to stay motivated as the project develops.

YARD Delivery is creating an app for express delivery between parcel lockers. The Ukrainian startup unites parcel lockers into a global network and does not spend money on maintaining a staff of couriers, but rather engages them through crowdsourcing. The first country to launch is Latvia. The service solves three main problems for users: contact with the courier, cost, and availability of express delivery. The company is at the pre-launch stage, with a mobile app already being tested. So far, the team has attracted investments and completed the Pre-seed round. The main investors were Baltic angel investors and the founders themselves. The project has already signed a contract with logistics providers and e-commerce representatives and hired couriers who will start working immediately after the launch.

How to find an idea for a project and check if your project is needed by users?

Brilliant ideas appear only as a result of understanding the essence of the problem. When the ultimate goal is known and understood, the brain is actively looking for ways to achieve it. This was the case with Yard Delivery. When I used courier delivery, I faced a huge problem - I had to constantly adjust my schedule to the courier, reschedule meetings and change plans to get the parcel. And, as a rule, to use express delivery, you need to pay twice as much.

Realizing that the demand for express delivery is growing, but there is no decent offer, I came up with an idea for a product. Ten years of sales experience at a parcel locker company also came in handy. The combination of these factors was the impetus for creating our own startup, YARD Delivery. Now our goal is to make the delivery process more convenient and efficient for everyone who values their time and money.

Learn how to allocate resources

First of all, you need to assemble a team that will be enthusiastic about the idea and ready to work full-time even with limited resources. Next, it is very important to learn how to properly allocate these resources.
You should always keep records of funds and expenses, and evaluate efficiency. Be able to focus on priorities.
It is very important to work on recognition (presence in social networks, publications in the media, attending various events, etc.) This requires time, energy, and resources that may be limited for a startup, but the result is worth it.
For example, our team attended such events as Web Summit, IT-Arena, Parcel+Post Expo, and many others, which gave us a lot of cool contacts, necessary connections, and even supporters of our project.

What mistakes have taught us

Correct analysis. At the stage of conceiving and designing the product, we wanted to create a service that would be focused only on the C2C market. After analyzing and delving into the product, we realized that we had chosen the wrong vector. Subsequently, we added B2C and B2B directions to the service. When starting a business, ask yourself: does anyone need it, how well will it integrate, and what value will it bring?

Trust but verify. Our main failure was related to a team of hired app developers who worked with us for a long time, unprofessionally and chaotically. As a result, we spent tens of thousands of dollars to realize that this is not the way to work and that we were being "led by the nose." Now we have a rule: trust your partners, but always set deadlines and check each block of work. And again, you need to start with the right analysis, in this case, of contractors.

Always be prepared. We have a story about an unfortunate incident when we were unexpectedly invited to an event where we had to pitch. I hadn't prepared for it because I thought I knew my project perfectly and was pinning all my hopes on improvisation. But it turned out that this was not enough, and the lack of preparation was obvious to the audience. Therefore, I recommend writing down the entire pitch so that you can present your project to any audience at any time.

Attracting investment requires caution

Don't be afraid to accept investments at later stages of the company's development, when the value of the startup has already increased, as this will allow the founders to give up less ownership in exchange for funds. In negotiations with an investor, it is important to pay attention to synergies with the fund and their capabilities beyond financing.

"With experience, we have realized that smart money is important, not only to provide financial support but also to bring significant value in the form of new contacts, partnerships, and opportunities to expand markets."

We would definitely not take money from investors with dubious intentions, as this usually only leads to problems in the future. Taking all these aspects into account, getting investment should be not only a source of funding, but also a strategic partnership that will help your startup grow.

How to build your dream team

An ideal team is made up of people who share your values and have the energy and passion to achieve your goals. Whether it's friends or family, the key is that everyone on the team has enthusiasm and a common goal.
Of course, over time, disagreements can affect success and lead to the loss of important team members. But to avoid this, you need to discuss and define the nuances, responsibilities, and roles in the team to the maximum extent possible at the first stages of cooperation.

How to find motivation to work 24/7 when the project is developing
For me, constant motivation comes from a strong belief in my product and the team behind it. One of the tools to stay motivated is effective, ongoing pitching. Feeling positive contact with the audience during a presentation, you experience a boost of energy, and it is very inspiring and gives you faith in your project.

Involving a startup in the fundraising process and communicating with thousands of investors is really hard and mentally exhausting work, and sometimes it leads to burnout. But every small success, every small victory in this direction again adds energy and motivation, a boost of optimism and confidence.

Be interested in the stories of famous people: what to read and watch for a startup
"Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It's not just a book, it's a source of important lessons and insights. It helps to focus on the essentials and avoid wasting time, which is critical in startups.
Another recommendation is the book Netflix and the Culture of Innovation by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer. It describes the corporate culture of Netflix, which is a leader in streaming. It clearly shows how to go beyond the template thinking.
I advise you to watch the series "We Crashed" - a cool story of the creation, development, scaling and fall of the American corporation of coworking centers WeWork. I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't watched it, but believe me, you can draw a lot of conclusions after watching it.
I also like to watch, read, and be interested in the life stories of famous people for inspiration. It always inspires and broadens your horizons.

Made on