Navigating the startup process |

Navigating the startup process

The road to a good business idea comes in many different forms. Mine brought me all the way to Reno from England, past a successful retail career, through a short stint as a web developer and landed in the position where I am now: successfully launching a startup business.

Along the path, I have learned tips and tricks about the local startup community that can only be found by doing. Luckily, some of these tips were given to me along the way and saved me massive amounts of time energy. Others I had to learn on my own.

Here’s five key tips I’ve discovered that will hopefully help entrepreneurs looking to begin, or are in the midst of, the startup process:

1. Anticipate time and finances needed

Be completely honest with yourself. Make sure that time is readily available — a resource often overlooked— and that finances are in order. Each startup will require a different set of resources; however, time and finances are always needed and frequently run short.

Tip: Double the projected time and financial resources necessary to launch a product or service.

2. Jump into the culture

Immerse yourself completely into the startup community and culture both locally and online at least one year before launching a fledgling enterprise.

The following online resources have personally influenced me over the past few years and are worth checking out:

-This Week in Start-ups — Media outlet covering startup news and related topics

-Jason Calacanis Blog — CEO of, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, podcaster and writer

-Jason Cohen Blog — Founder of WP-Engine and Smart Bear Software

-Rob Walling Blog — CEO of Drip, an email-marketing tool focused on increasing conversion rates for startups and software companies

Check out these local resources as well:

-Reno 1 Million Meet-up — Entrepreneurial feedback forum at Swill Coffee & Wine

-Digest Reno website — Newsletter announcing the upcoming events geared toward startups

-Reno Collective — Local collaborative workspace

EDAWN — Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada

3. Fit into the market

Just having a great idea isn’t going to be good enough. The question that really needs to be answered is: Does my target sector need or understand what my startup is offering?

Most startups don’t have the time or money to educate a market, so if a market doesn’t already have an inherent need for a product or service, problems will arise — regardless of the startup’s “cool” factor.

4. Develop an effective and affordable marketing plan

A strong marketing/public relations plan is often as important — or even more so — than a startup’s innovative idea. Without effectively marketing a great product or service, a startup in Reno or northern Nevada will go unnoticed.

5. Find a quality team and trusted advisors

There’s no way one entrepreneur can be good at everything, even though at times startup owners feel like a jack-of-all-trades. As soon as possible, build a team that possesses abilities and skills complementary to your own. In addition to having a great team, find a trusted advisor or mentor who has been through this process.

Jonathan Denwood is a Reno entrepreneur and CEO of the startup Mail Right, a platform that offers email, social media and reputation building marketing for veterinarians.