What is The Weekly Startup all about?

Have you ever tried to build your own business? Did you fail? Did you notice your failure too late? Welcome to the club!
I have built a lot of startups, and many of them failed (fortunately not all of them). Unfortunately I noticed most of the failures too late, after I spent thousand of dollars. Yeah, that’s painful.

So I asked myself: How can I decrease my failure rate? Or at least: How can I recognize a failing startup earlier?

And that’s why I started this blog: The Weekly Startup.

What makes a startup successful? Let’s find it out!

The Weekly Startup is an experiment. I want to start a new startup every week to find out which tactics and methods work and which don’t. I want to find ways to generate and validate business ideas fast and simple and I want to find ways to scale promising business ideas within a short period of time (literally: a week).

To make it short: I want to find out what makes a startup successful. And I want to share the results with you.

Let’s see what will happen…

My personal agenda and why I think I am the right one for this job

Sorry, I haven’t introduced myself to you. My name is Christoph Biallas and I am a serial entrepreneur from Hamburg, Germany. I am the CEO (uuuuh, that sounds posh!) of the incubator 8seeds. I have seen thousands of business ideas and tested probably a few hundreds. I LOVE to think about new business ideas as much as I love fresh pizza, traveling around the world and spending time with my newborn son Noyan.

During my career I have gathered a lot of experiences with starting and testing new businesses. Today I use this experience to help other companies to test their business ideas or new products, but I am always curious about learning something new, for example by launching a startup every week.

I hope The Weekly Startup will provide some new insights, which I could use for my own projects and the projects of my customers. That’s my personal agenda for this blog.

And why do I think that I am the right one for this job? Well, I already got a wide diversity of experience in this area. I already know some tools, methods and tips and tricks, which I can use for this task and share with you. To start a startup every week won’t be easy but I really want to take this fresh challenge.

The rules of the game and why they are important and useful

Every experiment needs a setup and rules to follow. Well, these are my rules of the game for The Weekly Startup:

  • Start one startup per week
  • Try to make as much money as possible with this startup within a week
  • After a week: Make a decision, if I will continue the startup and „grow it“ in my incubator 8seeds or close it down
  • Use learnings from this startup for the next startup

140326 Rules TheWeeklyStartup 580x435 What is The Weekly Startup all about?

That’s all! I want to keep things as simple as possible.

I believe that these rules are extremely import and helpful. Here’s why:

Rule # 1: Start one startup per week

It’s nearly impossible to say if an idea is a good or bad one, before you have tested it. At least, that’s what I’ve learned so far. I had so many „great“ ideas (beware of irony!), which failed totally in real life. So from my point of view the best way to find an awesome business idea is to sort out those ideas that suck. You have to dig through a lot of dirt, before you can find some gold.

That’s why I lay down rule #1: The goal is to test a lot of business ideas to find ideas, which work. It’s like evolution on speed – business-evolution, a trial-and-error for business ideas.

Rule # 2: Try to make as much money as possible with this startup within a week

This rule has two important components: „make money“ and „within a week“.

In the first draft of this post, I wrote „Try to make the startup as successful as possible…“. But then I noticed, that “successful” can mean nearly anything. It could mean: Get a lot of traffic, get a huge media attention or impress a lot of friends. It’s not specific enough. That’s why I decided to change it to „make as much money as possible“. Money is the best measure stick we have (at least when you don’t work in an NGO) – so let’s make some money!

But why the second component „within a week“? Wouldn’t it make more sense, to take more time to validate the business idea. At least two to three months? No, it won’t and the reason for this is Parkinson’s law.

Parkinson’s law says that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. This means: If I gave you 8 hours to cut a tree, you would need 8 hours; but if I gave you 4 hours, you probably would make it in 4 hours. The time pressure forces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials. That’s why I use such a short period of time: I want to find the bare essentials of business – hey, that’s actually a good name for a book! icon wink What is The Weekly Startup all about?

Rule # 3: After a week: Make a decision, if I will continue the startup and „grow it“ in my incubator or close it down

The most important part of this rule is „make a decision“. Grow or go, red or blue pill or take it or leave it – call it what you want. Very often people (me included) tend to hold fast to an idea, even if it has no potential. The best way to encounter this is by setting a, what I call, decision-deadline. On this decision-deadline you have to find out if the business has enough potential and you have to DECIDE if you want to grow it or if you want to close it down.

If the business idea is a good one, I will outsource the growth period of the startup to my incubator 8seeds. So I got enough time to test other ideas. Of course I will keep you on track about the growth of each startup in my incubator in this blog.

Rule # 4: Use learnings from this startup for the next startup

Woooha, that’s an important one! Like I said before: I want to do business evolution on speed in this blog. The concept of evolution works so well, because good „ideas“ survive, while bad ideas are going down. Therefore I will use the learnings of one startup for the next one. By doing this I hope, that the startups are going to get better and better – or to put it in another way: I hope that the next generation of startups will earn more money than the generation before. To say it in a biologist-slang: „The learnings will be inherited from one startup generation to the next one.“

I will briefly summarize the learnings for each startup-project in my blog, so you can use these learnings, too. Additionally I plan to write a free document where I summarize all learnings of all startup-projects, so you will get a great overview about all learnings.

What I will write about in my blog posts – and why this could be important for you

I will write down all my experiences with each startup in this blog. For each startup, I will write about:

  • How did I get the idea for the startup?
  • How did I try to make money with the startup?
  • How much money did I make and where did it come from?
  • What decision did I make after one week? Grow or go?
  • What were the learnings of the startup? How will I use them for the next startup?

140326 What I write about and why thats important for you 580x435 What is The Weekly Startup all about?

I will give you the full transparency of the financials and the invested time and effort. I won’t keep anything secret.

You can use all these information for your own business, so you won’t do the same mistakes I did. Among the blog posts about the startup-projects I will sum up my learnings for idea generation, business validation, decision making and business execution in separate posts or documents, which I will offer as a free download. This will help you to get a great overview about the best-practices for all the different topics.

Hopefully you will enjoy it!

Inspiration & Credits

I got the inspiration and idea for this blog from Noah Kagan (Founder of Appsumo). You will find some of his great ideas within this blog. For example Noah promotes the idea, that you can validate business ideas within 48 hours – or more precisely: that you MUST validate your business idea within 48 hours otherwise the business idea probably won’t work.

Therefore a lot of credits for this project goes out to Noah. If you want to find out more about him, you should read his awesome blog.

Send me your ideas for validation

The Weekly Startup is not a closed shop so feel free to send me your ideas, which I should validate. Of course I do this for free and I will provide some additional, personal feedback to each one of you sending in an idea. And don’t be afraid, that I would steal your idea: I won’t! I have got enough ideas on my own ;). Additionally I will test the idea just in the German market (see paragraph „As a side note“), therefore you don’t have to be afraid that your idea will be stolen by others (except when you live in Germany, too).

But if the idea is REALLY good, be prepared that I will make you an offer to buy it for my incubator 8seeds ;).

All right? Then I am looking forward to hearing from you, you sparking-minds!

As a side note

Like I said before: I live in Hamburg, Germany. Therefore I could test the business ideas just in the German market. Sometimes this will distort the results of the test, because consumers and markets behave different in different countries or have other problems. Please be aware of this, when you read my blog.

Because English is not my native language, sometimes some of my sentences may sound odd to you. Probably I will use the wrong vocabulary here and there. I want to apologize in advance for these mistakes. Please be gentle with me icon wink What is The Weekly Startup all about?

Let’s get it started

All right: Enough said! Let the games begin and let’s see what will happen. If you want to get the newest blog post to your email account, fast and easy, than please subscribe to my newsletter. I’ve you got any comments or ideas on my blog, please feel free to comment in the box below. I will try to answer as soon as possible.

Keep on launching businesses!

~ Chris

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15 Responses to What is The Weekly Startup all about?
  1. Lars Brücher Reply

    Nice idea, but challenging ;-)
    Would be great if you would present the results of the first weeks in a betabreakfast session at betahaus Hamburg!

    • chris Reply

      Woooh, that was quick, Lars.

      Thanks for the invitation. It will be a pleasure to present the results in the new “sacred halls” ;)

      Cheers
      ~ Chris

  2. Patrick Reply

    Sounds promising. Can we assume that it will be online businesses only, since you only give it a week to get income?

    Good luck and looking forward to the first week/project!

    • chris Reply

      Thanks for your kind words!

      Yeah, mainly online – I guess.
      I think a lot of the validation and sales part will be direct/ face to face. Probably the best way to test fast and easy.

      Cheers
      ~ Chris

  3. Patrick Reply

    BTW Confirmation and Contact is in German, you might want to change that to English for a broader audience ;-)

    • chris Reply

      Uuh, really? Thanks a lot! Will change it in a minute!

  4. sharon Reply

    Good luck and I look forward to your blog

    • chris Reply

      Thanks Sharon!

  5. Kellen Young Reply

    Great idea! Do you happen to know much about product licensing? I’m trying to obtain a contract with Disney and I’m not sure how much I’ll expect to pay as an up-front payment and per unit percentage both of which I’ve been told I’ll be required to pay.

    Thanks!

    • chris Reply

      Hi Kellen,

      thanks for your kind words!

      I haven’t done anything on product licensing so far, therefore I can’t answer your question specifically. Sorry!
      But I know some people who were doing product licensing and I can give you the following tips:

      - You need financial power to do product licensing (the up-front payment is just one part – also think about sales and production)
      - Get exclusivity for your kind of product! Otherwise Disney could use you just as a test and give the product to another, bigger company, when they see that’s it’s successful
      - Get a good lawyer. There are a lot of legal details which are really annoying

      The big challenge you will face with product licensing is, that it will take a lot of time and effort before you could start your business. You need patience, money and a pighead (I really hope that’s the right word – I had to look it up) for that.

      Cheers
      ~Chris

      • Kellen Young Reply

        Thanks a lot for your insight Chris! That helps a lot! I’ve been looking everywhere for information on this and was told that an attorney would probably be my best shot to secure a deal with Disney. We’ll see how it goes! Thanks again

  6. Christopher Niemöller Reply

    Neat idea!

    Contact me if you need any support regarding quick hardware prototypes.

  7. Andreas Tillmann Reply

    Like it!!!!!!!

  8. Judy Reply

    I have been working on an app start up company, focusing on games. I have the game ideas, I know the easy part, but I need a team to execute. The tech person, marketing and developers, I know of a few Angel Investors and Venture Capital Companies but I need a team.

  9. […] while ago, I came across The Weekly Startup, a blog about taking action, failing fast and starting u... justinzack.com/?p=42

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