One Tool To Rule Them All: Get Your Startup Taken Seriously From Idea Stage Onwards

Got an idea for a new business? Great! You’re off on a hell of an adventure. Your first obstacle? Getting people on board. This article shares the one startup tool you need under your belt as a startup founder. And the best thing is it’s totally free…

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Ernest Shackleton, Jacques Cousteau, Yuri Gagarin… We all recognize these names as adventurers who changed the world and the way we see it. Many of us harbour a secret (or not so secret) ambition to carve out a name for ourselves in the same way. We feel driven by the adventurer’s spirit to launch a startup.

So you’ve had that lightbulb moment. You’ve got an idea that you think could change the world in some way. Whether it’s a huge idea that will save the planet or a small idea for a side hustle, one thing is for sure, you are about to embark on an adventure… and all adventurers need trusty tools.

I’m going to outline how to use just one tool to get your startup idea going. This tool is going to allow you to clarify your initial idea and to build traction with other people. Particularly in the idea stage, it’s going to be crucial in setting you up to:

1) Lay out and improve your brand / product idea

2) Configure, present and sell your idea

3) Set out your financial projections

“So what is this wonderful startup tool?” you ask…

It’s Google — and yes, you probably use it every day. Google certainly doesn’t need me to redirect traffic to its site, but using it, or a multitool like it, will definitely help get your adventure underway.

The crucial first step of any startup is getting something -anything- down on paper, and scribbled notes on a napkin don’t count! Having a startup idea in your head is all well and good, but any startup founder will know that it’s only when you write something out that you can clarify your thoughts.

Google Docs is the perfect medium for this. It can be opened at the click of a button and used from either mobile or desktop, so you’re ready for when that moment of clarity strikes. You can then organise your ideas into folders on your Google Drive and relax in confidence that they are safe in their digital form.

Google Docs also offers a range of useful features which can help you to improve your startup idea. Version history will show you how your ideas have evolved over time and allow you to make tweaks. When you’re ready, invite people to view your Google Doc. Receiving constructive feedback is important-after all, you’re an adventurer. You need to tell people about your excursions and ideas. Get tips on where you could go and how you might be able to get there sooner.

Let’s get down to business… Step 2 — configuring, presenting and selling your idea. Whether you’re trying to get people to invest money or you’re just building up interest in your startup idea, knowing how to present your product is key.

Google Slides is the perfect startup tool to get your pitch deck ideas together. Setting out your idea into a coherent business plan, and then adapting it to a sales pitch will help you get the key elements together.

Google Slides gives you the structure you need to display all the key aspects of the pitch- from a description of the problem you solve to the benefits of your product/service. Your presentation is an expression of your personality and passion; there’s no need to repeat the boring old formats you saw at school. Google Slides gives plenty of room for creativity!

All adventurers can tell a good story. Simply hone in on yours- on why your idea is important and how you can make it happen! The earlier you start these conversations, the more time you have to tweak your idea.

Step three? Understanding your finances. I hear you, this probably isn’t the most exciting part of the startup adventure, but understanding projections is vital to ensuring that your startup idea has a realistic chance of success. It’ll help you understand how much money or time you’ll need to invest to go out and validate your idea.

This is where Google Sheets comes to the rescue. The perfect startup tool for financial planning, this is a spreadsheet that’s easy for anyone to use, with methodical and logical presentation. Keeping all your numerical data in one secure place is key and the ability to review and refresh those numbers as the finer details fall into place is invaluable. From here, the adventure begins!

Getting stuck into a new startup idea is an exciting but daunting thing. With the right multitool, though, you’ll set up the processes necessary for success right from the start. So have fun & bon voyage!

Chief of Staff at Stakester.com. Supporter of people who Impact, Innovate and Create