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A quick guide to building tech startups

About the Book

Most business ideas remain just that, ideas. Knowing how to get to where you want to go and actually getting there is the part where business ideas fall flat. I come across many people who have an idea and want to start a business but don’t know where to start. 

This book covers the steps you need to follow to build your idea into a business. It’s not rocket science, but there is no silver bullet either. The details will depend on your idea, market and a number of other factors. This book is a place to start from and will point you in the right directions.

First, we'll look at where you are starting from, then continually cover what to do next and - most importantly — how to do it. Feel free to jump ahead to the relevant parts that you're struggling with, instead of working through the sections you already know. I've grouped the information into stages to allow you to quickly find the most relevant advice and get you back to running your startup - where the real impact happens.

There is plenty of information out there on how to build lean startups, but most articles dig deep into one section and what I felt is missing is an overview of the process and how you'd work your way through it. This guide is not a detailed handbook and focusses more on the process that you should follow. It's here to keep you moving — which at the end of the day is what really counts for startups.

Happy Reading!

”Startups are like sharks. They have to keep moving forward or else they die." - Paul Graham

About the Author

Roger Norton
Roger Norton

I know the difference between a startup and a small business and run a Startup Studio that helps entrepreneurs build their dreams. I believe in continual learning, but not in institutions. I'm a big supporter of lean startups, paying it forward and helping connect people.

I dropped out of engineering at UCT and took a 4 year break, to travel and work as a Engineer on luxury superyachts. I'm passionate, hard working and always willing to get my hands dirty.

As an outgoing technology enthusiast and geek I who love cool gadgets, futuristic technologies, building startups and products - generally, making stuff happen.

Projects & Companies I've been involved in: Playlogix, Domestly,,, ChessCube, PocketCricket, Silicon Cape Initiative, BrandsEye,, Easy2Map, PYPE, OrderCloud, Traffic Student Networks, TEDxCapeTown, GIBS Spirit of Youth Program mentor, BYM, the Chosen, Startup Weekend mentor amongst others.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    • In a nutshell
  • Step 1: Identify a Problem
    • Focus on the problem
    • What do you do?
    • Lean Canvas
  • Step 2: Go talk to people
  • Step 3: Study competitors
  • Step 4: Map the idea
    • 1) User flow
    • 2) Wireframes
    • 3) Functional Spec
    • Red Flags
    • Painkiller vs Vitamin
    • Advertising is not a viable revenue stream
    • The value disconnect
    • Your solution is too complex
    • Thinking you just need to build tech.
    • Having so-so (or no) response from customers
  • Step 5: Build a Minimum Viable Product
    • What is an MVP?
    • Focus is your friend
    • How to find your MVP
    • Follow the money
    • Building your MVP
  • Step 6: Get people using it
    • Two steps to getting customers
    • How to price your product or service
    • 1000 dedicated followers
  • Step 7:Iterate and Refine
    • Growth
    • Stickiness
    • Revenue
    • Refine
  • Funding
    • Startups aren’t all about funding
    • Types of funding
    • Breakdown of Equity funding
    • VC returns on investment example
  • About the Author
  • Notes

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