Every startup enterprise begins with an idea. How far your startup business will go will depend on how contagious the idea behind the startup is. Starting a business is hard and surely takes time to reach a break-even point. According to Biblical texts, it took even God six days to create the world. Therefore, if you’re planning to embark on the road to creating something new from the ground up, be prepared to handle a lot of late/short nights, possible bankruptcy, awkward social life and almost going nuts.
The following are some few qualities a startup enterprise should exhibit.
1. Persistence and Determination.
Persistence and Determination are important qualities any startup enterprise should exhibit. For the first few weeks/months of nursing and bringing your idea to fruition, be prepared to rebel with your inner self, friends, possible investors and the general public about the validity of your “awesome” idea. It is easy for anyone to conceive an idea but how far are you willing to go with this idea in the face of tribulations and rejections. The first thing you probably need to take into consideration is that your business “idea” might not be novel as you thought, therefore be prepared to handle competition from existing business already operating in your niche or doing something that intersects with your business idea. if you’re prepared to handle all of these and not quit within the first few months, then you can proceed.
I have to say that to focus in a particular direction for a startup is a challenging feat as there are lots of what-if’s to consider at the initial phase. Whatever the nature of your business, it is very important to conduct a research in your niche. Identify possible competitors and never assume you have none (as I always wrongfully do.). More important is to identify one unique feature that distinguishes your business from the rest of the pool. When you recognize this feature in your business idea, then you need to focus and lay a concrete plan for realizing your objectives. The focus is important because establishing a new business is a time-consuming process. You don’t want to be distracted.
3. Define your MVP
Yeah, know your MVP. MVP – Most Valuable Player/Person? Nah! Your MVP is your minimum viable product. Please you should acknowledge the fact that you cannot possibly realise all your vision for your product/service at once. The MVP for some products/services may be a prototype for the product/service. Something that brings your incredible “idea” to “reality”. Your MVP is not perfect and does not have to be perfect. At least you have something to show your investors and motivate your team. Any startup business can launch with this MVP but never expect to start making profits at this point. Maybe you’ll get investors with your MVP or maybe not. The most important thing at this stage is customer feedback. Offer free samples of your products/service. You’re developing your business to serve an intended need. This will be a critical stage for your startup. You might have to decide if you’re to continue or not at this phase. Getting negative feedbacks? Yeah this is good, it’ll help you improve your design. It’s also important to listen to prospective customers at this point. Remember that your intended product/service is for THEM and not YOU!
3. You can’t do it alone
Everyone needs someone. Today, starting a business is most definitely not a one-man game. To bring your idea to a reality you definitely require a wide range of skills which may be outside your comfort zone. You need to bring people on to help out. This may pose another challenge for most startup businesses. While a few startups can afford to hire the required help needed, most cannot. For most startups, they have to reward the much-needed manpower for the business with the promise for future profits and stakes in the business. Finding people to work with your startup at this stage is perhaps the most difficult challenge you might face because if you don’t have a team that believes so much in your idea to want to invest so much time and effort in building your dream with you, you’re probably not going so far as a business. While knowing you can’t do it alone, be prepared to do it alone. Personally, I usually prepare my MVP before requesting help. At least then I know I have a proof of concept and can demonstrate the idea in reality.
4. Appreciating Failure
Failure is an important part of any process. It helps you build, become better and more resilient. Learn from your failures instead of bickering about them. Whatever failure might mean to your intended startup do not wait for too long to fix the problem and move on. Remember to always persist. I can say with some confidence that the reason most businesses succeed is due to the fact that they’ve failed at the initial point and have learned from their failures. Almost no one gets it right the first time. Remember that success is an iceberg, you only see the top. You have absolutely no idea what some business have gone through to arrive at their present stage. When you succeed, people will see only the success and not the failures.
5. Know when to quit
On a final note, every startup business should know when to quit. Quitting and giving up don’t mean the same thing to me. You can quit one idea, refine and recycle it (making sure you have learned from why you failed in the first instance), and start all over. At the initial ideation phase, you should probably set some performance measures to evaluate your progress. The human mind is capable of conceiving probably billions of ideas. If one is proving futile in the long run, quit, use that experience to realize another one. Remember you may not get it right the first time you try.
In summary, the startup experience is for the strong and determined. It is a process that will drain you physically, emotionally and psychologically. But remember never to give up, you may just be a step away from your breakthrough. Enjoy the experience and live your dreams.