Building a startup for good is hard work. Most of the startups we’ve seen rarely make it beyond the idea phase but some go way beyond that, to drive real social impact. Developing an idea into to a clear vision and a plan that you and others can rally around, is deeply satisfying. Especially when you know that the result is a better world.
We’ve worked with hundreds of startups. We’re often asked, ‘what advice would you give to someone who’s thinking about starting a social enterprise or a purpose-driven business?’
Over the years we have distilled what we have learnt from our personal experience into six steps guided by three principles. We borrowed the best concepts and tools from the commercial startup world, translating them into a useful and relevant resource for purpose-driven changemakers. We call it Jetpack for Changemakers.
First Things First
In the coming weeks, we’ll share with you a glimpse of the six steps from the Jetpack for Changemakers program. Our goal is to help you focus on the right things at the right time, and help you make your startup a force for good.
Before we move on, let’s start with the foundation of it all, the three guiding principles.
1. Temper ambition with reality
When setting goals for your startup, aim high. Be ambitious. At the same time, be realistic. You won’t achieve anything if you burn out. To sustain your startup, you need to sustain yourself. Be consistent in caring for yourself and in living a balanced life.
2. Follow a method
It’s important in the early phase of a startup to acknowledge that you have limited time, even if your motivation and enthusiasm for your startup is boundless. Focusing on the right things at the right time will keep you moving forward without wasting precious time.
3. Get a coach
Appoint someone to hold you accountable. Don’t waste time with a coach who hasn’t been on a similar journey: they won’t be the right sounding board. Your coach should also connect you to a community of experienced founders, with the same purpose-driven motivations and values.
We like to think of these principles as the essentials for moving forward. As you continue to progress, applying these things can save you a lot of wasted time and energy.
Madness? Maybe. Method? Definitely
Now that we have set the scene, let’s get practical! The following is a brief overview of the six steps from the Jetpack program designed to bring method to your madness.
Step 1: Set the Stage for Success. Clarify why you’re starting up, your idea, its value and the support you need.
Step 2: Create Purposeful Value. Identify your target customers, the problem you’re focusing on and test assumptions.
Step 3: Solve Real Problems. Test your idea with customers and find out what they’ll pay for it.
Step 4: Sustain Your Business. Determine how much money you’ll need to start and sustain your venture.
Step 5: Your Structure & Your Story. Finalise legal structures and recruit the right supporters, investors, and collaborators.
Step 6: Design the Minimum Solution. Develop a vision and prioritised roadmap for detailed design, build and implementation.
Over the next few weeks, we will break down each of the steps from the Jetpack for Changemakers program. Our hope is that they inspire you as a changemaker to see your ideas develop into a business that betters the world.
Being a startup for good can be challenging, but with the right methods, you can develop your business with clarity, confidence, and direction.