7 Must-Knows for any Entrepreneur Starting-up
Having an idea and running with it, is the central focal point of being an entrepreneur. It is essentially what sets an entrepreneur apart from the rest. We all have thoughts, some are ground-breaking. However, we never execute them to the extent where they become breakthroughs. Perhaps due to a lack of will or a lack of vision, we tend to give up on these ideas before they bear fruits.
The first thing one should know when building on a startup is that no idea is a ‘bad-idea’.
The second thing one should know is to filter out all such non-breakthrough-generating ideas.
1. Create Your ‘Ground-Breaking’ Idea
So, you have your ground-breaking idea. Now how do you begin to transform this idea into a breakthrough? First, make sure your idea IS ‘ground-breaking’. One thing you cannot have at the beginning of your entrepreneurship journey (or ever), is to be complacent. Many startups stumble at this point.
They create a ‘ground-breaking’ idea but fail to create the proper market fit for it.
The concept or product should solve a real-world problem. There is no point in structuring a solution that even your target audience finds hard to comprehend. More importantly, as suggested, the value-add should be clear and concise.
2. Unleash the Potential of Your Founding Team
With an idea, the other essential part of your business is the team. You need people who have the talent, caliber, and hunger to crave success, validation, and glory in their lives. We all want these things but some of us have the explicit desire to rush towards them at super speed. If you visualize the eventual growth and prosperity of your business, you should channelize that energy into your team.
Entering any market is tough, you must grow at double the speed just to catch up with the preset players.
Sometimes it just comes down to ‘who-wants-it more’.
As a leader, you must unleash this need to be the best from within your team. Each founding team member would leave a strong mark on how your business functions from there on. Choose wisely and direct with perfection.
3. Test it Thoroughly! Test Your Solution Across Multiple Stakeholders
Identify multiple (unique) use cases for each of your features. Each use case has their own pattern and style of usage. Collate the information from all stakeholders to track the most optimized usage pattern and then streamline that as a pillar style on which other usage patterns can wrap around.
Each stakeholder would have their own insights. These insights, at each market spurt, is like gold-dust. Always test, and test thoroughly. Each speck of information or insight would help you better your solution. Think about each use case and the feasibility of your solution within those constraints. Therefore, comprehensive is a word we use a lot in feature and product development.
Remember, any stone unturned at testing phase would eventually become a large boulder requiring considerable efforts to rectify.
Similarly, each minute aspect covered at testing would speed up the go-to-market time and eventually add to your value and differentiation as compared to competitors.
4. Choose Your Mentors Wisely
As a leader, you must be decisive, assertive, motivated, and inspiring. To be all this at all times, you need to, from time-to-time, look to your mentors for wisdom. This is where your choice for a mentor could mean a significant push towards growth, or random circumventing strategies that waste time and money. Choose your mentors wisely as they would guide you when there is a need. This choice is extremely relative as a mentor would have a different effect on one person as compared to another.
Your mentor should be able to push you to realize your whole potential.
5. Know Your Market Well and Respond to its Demands
Along with having comprehensive testing for your solutions and infusing ambition, wonder, & desire in your team, you must know your market and your competitors completely. Any information gap here might turn into a sudden impediment while your solution is live for your clients.
You must comb over each insight you gained and validate it through multiple sources.
Even when you launch your solution, always keep an ear open for any insight that you could flag as an adaptive change. The quicker you pick up on this, the more time you have to implement the necessary changes. Furthermore, the more such market insights you gather, the higher is the potential for reinvention within your solution.
6. Ride Through the Growth Inflection Point (Test the Extent of Your Risk Appetite)
Assuming that the first version of your solution was well received (and if this assumption is correct, you are one of a lucky few), you must assess the potential for growth and risk. There is a clear balance that needs to be set here. Growth vs Risk. Victory goes to the valiant, but so does the crashes. There is always a risk when you move at high speeds. But you need to know which routes to take. Calculated risks are the name of the game. Assess each risk point to understand their cost-benefit ratio and then take an impartial decision about the same.
There will be a point where you would hit a growth inflection point when you become self-sustaining and your risks smoothen out and diversify. Know that point.
Don’t take a post-inflection risk in your pre-inflection days, and vice-versa.
7. Don’t Look Back, Other Than to Learn
Embrace Your Achievement, With Humility. Escape the struggling mentality and accept the new challenge of being an industry leader. The industry expects you to set the standards, go ahead and charge up your company to consistently perform at that level and exceed those standards.
Now you know the mindset you must follow to be successful. But you should keep this mind, the more you grow, the higher would be the industry expectations from you. So, always keep learning, growing, and achieving. The industry, then, would follow you.
When this happens, you know you have effectively transformed from an entrepreneur into a thought leader.
Previously published on my LinkedIn Pulse.