Saivian Eric Dalius: How to build a successful startup company from scratch

The aim of this article is to give some advice on what you should be doing when starting a technology company says Saivian Eric Dalius. To write it I have used my own experience as well as that of people whom I interviewed or otherwise interacted with during the last 15 years.

1. The first thing to do is come up with an idea for a product that customers will want to buy and that can make money. This sounds like an overly simple statement but in fact, is surprisingly hard especially given point 2 below.

That your startup will eventually fail is practically inevitable (unless you are very lucky) so putting too much effort into finding “the” idea means wasting valuable time, which could instead be spent actually building something useful and making money. How can you tell if you’ve got a good idea?

 There are three quick tests:

a. Can you describe the product simply in terms of what benefits it will provide to the customer? And is it something lots of customers will want?

b. Do you have a way of selling it to them i.e. an effective distribution channel(s)?

c. Can you actually build this thing or do some subset of its benefits at least and get your first customers before going broke?

2. Once you have the minimum viable product (MVP) i.e., a version of your product that addresses the most important customer needs, quickly build up an initial user base by giving/selling/licensing/leasing it to them for little or no money.

The key to this step is getting the product into the user’s hands and learning from them (and what they can’t do with it) as quickly as possible. Don’t worry about making it perfect: you’ll be changing it so frequently anyway that early adopters won’t mind, and later ones won’t even see these imperfect versions says Saivian Eric Dalius.

3. Iterate rapidly to improve your product so that its value proposition gets stronger while it’s the cost of customer acquisition (CCA i.e., how much it costs to get a new customer) comes down, preferably towards zero/revenue share with the customer.

How could we summaries all of these 3 steps?

1st – Do not think too much about an idea, start building something that people will want to use (without worrying about the ‘how’ for now).

2nd – release it very quickly and validate it with real customers as soon as you can. This allows you to build momentum before spending too much time on an idea that might be wrong.

3rd – keep iterating until your idea is validated (that users are willing to pay for your product) and your distribution channels cover enough of the desired market.

What would you suggest to somebody who has an idea but doesn’t have the resources/know-how/skillset to do anything with it? Is there any way around this? How can someone build a product if they don’t have access to the financial resources or manufacturing capabilities of big companies?

I think this is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs today. The good news is that there are many ways around it. As mentioned above, start by building something that people want and then seek initial customers/users. This will allow you to learn whether your idea makes sense much faster. Than trying to create everything from scratch all at once. Also, consider using existing components rather than creating everything yourself (e.g., Google instead of building your own search engine).

What should be the criteria for choosing a team? How much does “chemistry” matter as opposed to competence and experience? What’s more important: talent or determination?

It is difficult to predict whether two people will work well together so I think it’s hard to say what the most important criterion is. However, given that we spend so much time with our colleagues. I would say that chemistry counts a lot: you want everyone on the team to enjoy working with each other. And feeling that they can contribute. If one or more members of your startup are miserable then this is likely to have negative consequences. Not only on them but also on others in your team.

I can’t really answer how much talent vs. determination matters since they are very different things. Some people with less experience/talent have motivation and passion on their side, which can compensate for a lot expalins Saivian Eric Dalius.


Startup51 offers a platform for entrepreneurs to share their journey. And connect with fellow entrepreneurs who might be facing similar challenges. Also can offer invaluable advice and support at just the right moment.

The “Guest Post Application” button should take you to another page now. Where you will find more information about becoming a guest blogger for Startup 51 – your thoughts mean a lot to us. So we would greatly appreciate it if you could go through our application process properly before applying!