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A life line of a project : from conception to sale. Ideas and hints from Nikolai Livori.

Nikolai Livori – serial entrepreneur from Gaming Industry, who has successfully created and sold several ventures, shared his story and gave some hints for startups during Malta Startup Community event.

A life line of a project : from conception to sale.

1. Come up with an idea.

Find your passion and try to find a niche market for it. Ideas some times are very cheap, you should understand whether yours is viable to become a company.

Hint: See where major player is failing and target that niche market. If you are good and lucky – your exit would be acquisition by that company.

There are two types of ideas/ ways:

  • improve something that is already out there;
  • create something innovative.

The second way is very tough, cause market is not there – it’s hard to find partners, investors, customers – they don’t understand what your product/idea is. And to make it worth, even you don’t know what should be your business model.

Hint on how to deal with that problem: frame it, wrap it, partner with someone, engage in a big marketing campaign. Test the market – create “fake” brand, or even “fake company” to test a market, e.g. run a FB campaign and see interest, feedback, results. A/B test.

2. Analyse your market.

Do your home work. Google hard and then google harder!

3. Do your Financials.

By the end of the day whatever your idea is – the goal is to make money. Just agree with that and accept that 🙂

Do your financials, when you start applying for significant investment. Investors WILL make due diligence of your assumptions and asses your financial forecasts.

That’s something useful not only for investors, but for yourself as well.

A thought: don’t take more then you can/need, cause you’ll have to triple it in 3 years. You have to know what sum of money you need.

4. Search for the  right partners.

They give you credibility. Both people and companies.

Warning: If you partner with wrong people- you’ll spent a lot of time trying to get rid of them.

5. Incorporate and have contracts in place.

That will save you from a lot of pain in the future. Do it well from the start – select company’s structure, tax regimes etc. Have a good accountant and auditor.

6. Have an Exit strategy in mind.

You have 3 options:

  • grow as much as you can & delay exit
  • go on stock exchange
  • get acquired

Advice: study competition, make your company attractive to a potential buyer. You can’t expect someone to come out of the blue, know whom you are targeting.

Closing notes:

  • Teach your IT people business. There is always a clash between CTO and tech team on one side and CEO and business developers on the other – your team should be on the one page.
  • Entrepreneurship is more than full time job. Take care of your head and body.
  • Know the power of saying NO.
  • Before you choose an industry, think how it will affect you- that’s smth that will put a mark on your life.
  • Bring Gamification into your internal processes.

Home work for start-ups from Nikolai Livori


Read also Tips from Deborah Webster on How to attract a Top talent.

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