Five Kinds of Startup: Service

Expertise, Viability, People, Overhead, Scale
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When we talk about the ingredients for successful startups, one of the primary rules is: Find a problem a lot of people have and solve it. Product Startups, as we discussed last time, take the long road to complete that journey. It's a daunting undertaking to try to solve a problem with a thing. It's a much more direct route to solve a problem with people.

We live in a society of perpetual progress, and this progress continues to create opportunities for doing things for other people that they can't or don't want to do themselves, because they're either lacking in the latest knowledge or they're just short on time.

So if you're really good at something, you can probably create a Service Startup around it, as long as you can do it more cheaply and more quickly than they (or anyone else) can.

This is not as easy it sounds. You may be an expert in computer software, accounting, plumbing, interior decorating, or shopping. You may be the person to whom everyone runs when they have a problem they can't solve. You may even have a part-time gig making a little side money off people who find your expertise worth paying for.

The big question is: Can you make a business out of it?

While all businesses are unique, there are really only a few kinds of startup. How these companies operate, grow, and succeed will depend on what kind they are. Thus, a lot of the decisions you will make and paths you will take will depend on what kind of startup you're running.

Service startups are fairly common. They spring from a wide range of industries, talents, and offerings, and they usually start out as a single operator who realizes he or she can do all of those things their employer is currently doing for them -- finding new business, providing access to equipment and training -- with a shot at more control, as well as better salary, benefits, and working conditions.


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