How to Start Your Own Company Using Your iPhone

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.

Start Your Own Company app

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.

Start Your Own Company app

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.

Start Your Own Company app

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.

[Start your own company—with your iPhone]

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  • David LaMarca

    I really like the new Starter Cards iphone app, in the past 20 years, I've started 5 businesses, and I am about to start another. This app is a fresh approach to the steps one needs to take to start a business, and is great for the new entrepreneur or even for someone who has been doing it a while. I'm happy I bought the app, it was well worth 99¢, I even went to their website and bought the whole deck of 52 physical cards, which are great, because you can spread them out on a bulletin board to help with your strategy planning.

  • Sarah Stringer

    I have read several "starting a business" books and always find that they focus on one aspect of a business. The great thing about these cards is that they don't only focus on things like how to get a business license and how to hire good employees, the cards also place great emphasis on the importance of branding and choosing an office space for your lifestyle. These cards really cover all aspects of starting your business.

  • Greg Kowalski

    Agree with Mark. Snake oil - must be coming from 'marketing crowd'. Almost shameless jump on the 'hot wheels of the day', iPhone apps. But the fact that Fastcompany picks it up - not a good sign...

  • Mark Longbar

    Must have been a slow "tech news day". I'm used to more from Fast Company's product reviews. Just because you take a bad book idea and make it into an iPhone app, doesn't make it good technology; or even technology for that matter. Sounds more like some little cupcake is looking for another way to plug the shameless commerce part of her business.

  • Jim Littlefield

    I purchased the app and appreciated the branding advice and getting off on the right foot. Other information includes thoughts on incorporation, start-up financing and establishing business relationships. Well worth a buck to start smarter!