First-Time Founder's Guide: 7 Strategies for Building Your Startup



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April 16, 2024

Are you a first-time founder ready to dive into the exciting world of entrepreneurship? 

Building your startup from the ground up can be exhilarating but also comes with challenges. 

To help you successfully navigate this journey, we've compiled a comprehensive guide with essential strategies and actionable steps. 

Since 2020, I’ve been building, creating, and pivoting. 

Running a full-time business for the past 3 years and experienced building many side hustles long before that. 

I’ve also worked with and supported numerous startups as a mentor at e@UBC - Entrepreneurship at The University of British Columbia and LOI - League of Innovators, Canada’s largest startup accelerator for entrepreneurs under 30.

While I’m still learning and adapting every day, I thought I’d prove the 7 strategies for building your own startup. 

Let's dive in!

1. Start with a Solid Idea

Every successful startup begins with a great idea. 

Start by identifying a problem that needs solving or a niche that has yet to be fully explored. 

Conduct thorough market research to validate your idea and ensure a demand for your product or service. 

Feel free to iterate and refine your concept based on feedback.

Key Takeaway:

A solid idea forms the foundation of your startup. Validate it early and often to increase your chances of success.

2. Create a Detailed Business Plan

Once you have a clear idea of what to build, creating a comprehensive business plan is time. 

This document will serve as your roadmap, outlining your goals, target market, competitive analysis, marketing strategy, financial projections, and more. 

While your plan may evolve over time, having a solid framework will keep you focused and organized.

Key Takeaway:

A well-crafted business plan is essential for securing funding, attracting partners, and guiding your startup's growth.

3. Build a Strong Team

No entrepreneur can succeed alone. Surround yourself with talented individuals who share your passion and vision for the company. 

Look for team members who bring complementary skills and diverse perspectives. 

Cultivate a positive company culture that fosters collaboration, innovation, and mutual respect.

If you’re not looking to build a team (like myself), you’ll still want to surround yourself with the right people.

You can join a community for entrepreneurs like the one I built called Mentee. 

Key Takeaway:

Your team is your most valuable asset. Invest time and effort into recruiting, nurturing, and retaining top talent.

4. Focus on Customer Experience

In the early stages of your startup, customer feedback is invaluable. 

Engage with your target audience to understand their needs, pain points, and preferences. 

Incorporate their feedback into product development and iterate quickly based on their input. 

Prioritize delivering an exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint to build loyalty and advocacy.

The assumptions and thoughts you might have early on are different from what your target audience even wants.

One way we stress this at e@UBC is by conducting hundreds of customer interviews—not 5 or 10, but many more than you may think. 

Key Takeaway:

Happy customers are the lifeblood of your startup. Make it a priority to listen to their needs and exceed their expectations.

5. Embrace Agility and Adaptability

The startup landscape is constantly evolving, and flexibility is key to survival. 

Be prepared to pivot quickly if market conditions change or new opportunities arise. 

Stay agile and open-minded, willing to experiment and iterate until you find the right path forward. 

Keep an eye on industry trends and competitor movements to stay ahead of the curve.

Key Takeaway:

Adaptability is essential for long-term success. Embrace change and remain nimble in the face of uncertainty.

6. Secure Funding Wisely

While bootstrapping may be an option for some startups (investing your money into your business to grow), most will require external funding to fuel growth. 

Explore various funding options, including venture capital, angel investors, crowdfunding, and loans. 

Be strategic, seeking funding sources that align with your startup's stage, goals, and values. 

Prepare a compelling pitch deck and be prepared to articulate your vision and potential for success.

Key Takeaway:

Choose your investors wisely and negotiate fair and equitable terms for both parties.

7. Stay Resilient and Persistent

Building a startup is a challenging and often unpredictable journey. 

Along the way, there will be setbacks, failures, and moments of doubt. 

Stay resilient in the face of adversity, learning from your mistakes and persevering in pursuing your goals. 

Surround yourself with a support network of mentors, advisors, and fellow entrepreneurs who can offer guidance, encouragement, and perspective.

Key Takeaway:

Success takes work. Stay focused, stay determined, and always keep sight of your vision.


Building a startup as a first-time founder is a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning, hard work, and perseverance. 

Following these essential strategies and taking action can increase your chances of building a successful and sustainable business. 

Remember, every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow. 

So embrace the journey, stay true to your vision, and never stop chasing your dreams. 

Good luck!

If you’re an early-stage founder or solopreneur in Vancouver, we would love for you to check out our amazing community Mentee here!

Chris M Wilson

Chris Wilson is a keynote speaker, CTI coach, and entrepreneur. Through his Hover to Fly framework, he aims to impact the next generation in their careers and lives.

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