My BlogThoughts & Musings on Startups, MVP Design & UX
Top Tools for Startup Weekend
Here is a list of some of my most favoured tools primed for startup weekend activities. Best of all, all of these are either free or have free options using trials or free initial credits.
- Lean Canvas: great for working out the business logic so that all team members have a chance to input and a good understanding – great for early team building as it’s a well guided exercise. Check it out here and get a bit more info about it here.
- Launch a launch page: have a web presence to refer people you talk to that weekend, including people you survey/interview/in the queue for the toilets/coffee machine/in the street (!) basically everyone you gush your startup idea to that weekend, so that they can view more details on your upcoming product. But more importantly gauge interest and build momentum by encouraging them to register interest/sign up with an email address. That way you will be able to proclaim come Sunday evening that you already have XYZ number of interested bodies. Checkout LaunchRock and RocketStart.
- Create a quick logo: along with launching a page, you will find it handy to create a quick logo. This will help ‘thingify’ your idea, give your product a quickly identifiable brand/personality, help establish credibility and will make your final pitch presentation all the more credible. Free tools you could use include: SupaLogo (best for text based logos), Logosnap, Tweak (this is not free but is great for inspiration – also at only $5 is a pretty affordable option).
- Launch a twitter handle: Set up your twitter handle so that mentors, SWLimk organizers and other SWLimk weekend participants can follow your progress and show their support. It’s a great way to continue to build momentum and let people know what you’re doing, as well as to shout out to a mentor to come pay you a visit in your corner of the building.Launch a twitter handle: Set up your twitter handle so that mentors, SWLimk organizers and other SWLimk weekend participants can follow your progress and show their support. It’s a great way to continue to build momentum and let people know what you’re doing, as well as to shout out to a mentor to come pay you a visit in your corner of the building.
- Conduct customer development: for early customer validation hit up friends and family to answer your surveys and questionnaire using Survey Monkey and Facebook Surveys. It is important to get those surveys out as early as possible to collect as many responses as possible. Also checkout
Google groups and Ning Communities to target surveys towards.
- Do some early online advertising: again early customer validation/proof – if you get click throughs it is some degree of proof of your concept. And again, the earlier you put out advertising the greater the opportunity for success. This is not free as such, but hosting packages such as goDaddy often give away adwords packages with hosting which you could utilize. Checkout Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
- Develop your concept through rapid storyboarding using Storyboardthat, or even bitstrips .
- Prototyping: Proto.io (particularly for mobile which you should carefully consider as first platform for your product) this has readymade templates for mobile sites/apps such as social, peer to peer– this is what you’re looking for on a weekend such as startup weekend – you don’t want to be having to recreate a site from scratch. At minimum you want something with a LOT of premade stencils. Illustrate your business model using diagrams: Simple diagrams is a great tool for this.#
- Finally, get yourself some slick imagery for your Demo Day Final Pitch. Here are a couple of my regulars: for general image freeimages.com, for vectors http://www.123freevectors.com/ for photography check out http://www.pexels.com/ & http://www.lifeofpix.com/ for icons: http://findicons.com/ And if you just can’t find what you’re looking for check out http://www.bluevertigo.com.ar/bluevertigo.htm for a full list of image resources.
- For the ultra polish to your pitch, create a slick pitch video clip (remember you only have 5 minutes so don’t waste more than 30 seconds with a video. Check out this article for a list of possibilities: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233851