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Last weekend, I had a quick coffee chat with (another) one of my friends from my banking days who would like to build her own startup soon.
Naturally, my first question was “how long have you been working on the idea and what have you worked on so far?”.
She had a smirk on her face as if she knew that I will ask that question. She pulled out her phone. I was hoping that she is going to show me a demo of the app.
She showed the designs of the logo and how the color and branding will look.
Apparently, it took her 2 weeks to find the right domain (urgh!) and another 2 weeks to hire a freelance designer to get the logo and branding done.
In addition, she paid RM3,000 to set up a new LLC and another RM2,500 to open a new bank account (I cringed again!).
She emphasised that she wants to be protected legally and would like to file for a trademark for her logo and other related branding, so that no one will be able to steal her idea (okay, by this time, I’ve had enough).
“I am sorry that I have to be honest about this. I think you got it completely wrong. Whatever you just spend your time and money on for the last 2 months is complete BS.
Most new businesses, will end up pivoting their brand in the first 3 months as they work on their product. So, whatever branding you got there is completely useless.
The perfect domain is useless if you have pivoted out of it after 90 days of working on the product.
No one can protect you from someone else stealing your idea. The only thing that can protect you is the traction behind your product.You do a successful launch and get customers fast – that’s the only effective way to stop your competitors from entering the market.
Why? Because you already have the customers. You just have to make sure that you don’t lose them while the others haven’t even started selling. That’s the headstart that is going to protect you.
You don’t need a new LLC when you are just starting out. Instead spend the money on locking in your initial team, getting a clear understanding on what you want to build, validating it through talking to your friends and potential customers, initial wireframes and designs of the app/product. After doing all that, if you are still into the idea, then you can register a company.
In the beginning, speed matters more than anything else. You are already two months late. So, I reckon you should drop all that and start working on your actual product.
When you have a MVP, talk to me again. Maybe then, I can help.”
I was honest with my reply. I had no intention of putting her down or discouraging her.
I thought that more people can use the same practical look at starting a company. Hence, this article.
Eliminate every distraction that makes you procrastinate on the product itself. Traction is king – everything else is an afterthought.