Starting your own business has never really been about the idea behind it but more about the force of execution that is able to see it through from start to finish.
A few years ago, I had finally settled on what I wanted to do with my life. I aspired to make an indelible mark on the world of business and value creation.
It seemed quite simple and as I was frequently told; “All you needed to do was to start”. Well, it’s never really that easy. I promise you.
After attending a start up event and getting my mind filled up with the “JUST GET STARTED” message, I was so motivate and inspired that I was sure I was going to be a millionaire the next year. After all, I only needed to “Get Started”.
Well, I set about launching a business idea I had conceived a few months before; rallied a few friends and there we jollied down the start up lane. As you would guess, my idea never got off the ground though we had invested some money and precious time.
For many of you out there who may be driven into business and entrepreneurship for various reasons but truth is, it is not really about what motivated you into starting but is more about how you can actually get your idea off the ground. No idea no matter how great can be viable without execution and no execution will actually work without acquiring the know-how on what can make it work.
I will share 3 things you must consider or do before starting your own business idea or venture down your start up route. These tips will ensure you don’t invest precious time and resources in a stream that will neither get you to where you are going nor bring you back to where you started.
Please note that the factors considered in this article are not exhaustive. A reading list is recommended at the end of this article for your readership if you wish to grow a scalable startup.
- Founder Readiness
Though it might seem obvious, most founders of start-ups that fail when it come to this. You may get so engrossed in what you want to achieve that you lose touch focus of what you should do to actually achieve it.
Before starting a business, you must prepare physically, emotionally, and mentally for what lies ahead. Founder’s readiness means proficiently master the skill or knowledge needed to run the business plus for delivering the value you wish to offer or you must know how to outsource such skills.
You should also be able to develop certain experience in you area of interest so as to build credibility and trust. This leverage on credibility might be your key to attracting your first customers.
Though this seems too obvious to miss, a lot of founders fail to get them ready for the journey ahead. A learn as you go method can only be effective where you’ve already acquired enough knowledge to get you started; else you are only in for a frustrating ride.
- Determining the Market
Most times, founders are so engrossed in how massive and innovative their ideas are that they fail to actually test if anyone will want to pay for it. This ends up with a huge investment of resources that no one wants to pay for.
Never get so tied up with an idea or offering until you have validated that there is a viable market for it. Innovation does not always equal cash flow. An idea no one is ready to pay might as well be taken up as a hobby.
Before investing your time and resources into building a particular product, you can test the viability of that idea by creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This can be a prototype, a diagrammatic or animated depiction of what it will look like or any other close illustration of what you product will look like. With this you can interact with prospective customers with the aim of determining if they would be willing to pay money for the value offered.
To be more assured of its viability, you can, based on the level of trust request the prospect to pay or order upfront for the product yet to be developed. This will help you determine to an extent the market viability of your idea.
- Putting Together a Team
Whether it consists of two people or ten, your team will be the primary determinant of your startup’s success. You must therefore carefully select members of your founding team.
It is a natural inclination for you to start up with a group of friends with whom you are familiar. While this works in certain circumstances, it might spell failure in others.
Your criteria for choosing a co-founding team should be based on what each person brings to the table. Note however, that money is not considered here as a viable contribution for earning place at this table.
Your team must be able to complement each other in terms of required skills, experience, perceptions etc. You must be careful to ensure that everyone is accountable to one person who might be regarded in corporate parlance as the Chief Executive Officer.
While friendliness is good for team intimacy, responsibilities should be spelt out with incentives to encourage appropriate action. Team members must be made to realize the cost of each mistake and appropriate correction must be enforced.
STARTUP READING LIST
- 6 Secrets of Start Up Success
- My Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
- The Lean Startup
- The Art of the Start by Guy Kwasaki
- Ready, Fire, Aim by Micheal Masterson