Atlanta creative director Elizabeth Baskin has started several companies herself—one of them being her ad agency Tribe, Inc., with clients like Porsche, Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, and Chick-fil-A. As she watched plenty of people in her industry emerge from the economic slump with their careers upended, she vowed to make the entepreneurial process visible, accessible and fun to help her friends who had always toyed with the idea of going out on their own. And now, thanks to Baskin and her team, there's an app for that.
The idea came from a talk Baskin gave to women entrepreneurs years ago, where her and her first business partner took a stack of index cards and a Sharpie and scribbled down every step they took to start their company. After the talk, people from the audience kept coming up and asking to buy her scribbled cards. Baskin and her team at Tribe turned the content on those index cards into a 52-step process (of course, as many as a deck of cards) and launched the all-important first phase as an app: Start Your Own Company.
Beginning with card 1, Choose a Name, the process includes financial, legal, as well as promotional steps. The order makes you reconsider the way you should putting together a business (I didn't think I needed a logo before my business plan...but maybe I should have). A double tap on each card reveals a smartly-written blurb with more information (For your name, practice saying it to "make sure you can say it without feeling silly"). Another tap takes you to Baskin's Web site for even more resources, examples and inspiration.
Taking such a gigantic concept and putting it into iPhone-sized screen steps could dumb down the content, but after paging through it, I realized it's more about breaking down what seems like a very daunting task into very basic, achievable steps. Having it on your phone is a nice way to have all the action items right there at your fingertips—not in some book you'll relegate to the nightstand—and also as a polite interruption to get you back on track when your finger has to pass over it on its way to Facebook. But your work doesn't end when you've hit the end of the app: Once your company's launched you can graduate to Tribe's full 52-card Starter Cards deck, with flashcards for your company vision, follow-through and milestones—available soon for your phone too.