Most of us would like to create a startup or own a business. We dream about it; we talk about it. However, the good dreams amount to nothing in the end because most of us would never take the dreadful decision.
In this article, I would share some accumulated, albeit basic, wisdom to help you understand the situation better. Hopefully, I can calm you down if you’re in entrepreneurial desperation :). I am not a wise saint or a high priest. I just would like to share with you whatever I have experienced.
Like myself, you must have cleared that messy table a dozen times by now, and you stare at a single sheet of paper with a pen. Perhaps, next to it is a cup of coffee or tea. You think, think, and think. You predict what and how to do it….and often you are about to go crazy when you face a dozen of competing alternatives.
Entrepreneurship: the goddess of failure.
Entrepreneurship means that the very bright idea, that you are so proud of, can prove fatal.
Think about it.
Your best ideas would mostly earn you a lot of misery because it is hard to build a business around one. Failure stares at you every day during the early stages of a new business.
Those who dare to sail the ocean of entrepreneurship should know in advance that over 90% will drown and a further 5-7% would get crippled. I mean their businesses would stay afloat but there would be no significant growth. Adding just a dozen employees in ten years is not growth.
OK. It’s too much of a doom and gloom, right? Hang on tight, I am not finished yet 🙂 So what we got here is roughly 1-3 % of people who are going to survive and build profitable companies with solid growth. Would you still like to continue reading this article? 🙂
Answer 4 basic Questions to create a start-up
Let me share some questions that one needs to ask while creating a start-up and I hope that would bring some organization and clarity to your thoughts.
First of all, when the entrepreneur (our beloved hero of this story) is creating a startup he /she is haunted by the most basic questions:
Who is my customer? (What is my target market/segment?)
What does my business do for my customer? (my solution, not wishful thinking Plz)
Why does my business exist? (purpose, what is pinching me really!)
What is my business strategy? ( How can I solve the problem better and differently? Or I am just another Tom)
The questions look fairly simple and easy on the surface, but I assure you that they have the potential to drive you mad. However, these questions would prepare you for a more organized investigation into your business ideas.
The environment & orientation of a startup
Today, entrepreneurs are constantly challenged by a fast-changing business environment which can render your entire business model obsolete. This can happen either when your fellow entrepreneur outsells you or your customers leave.
Besides, a technology shift can also throw your business out of the market. Sometimes, the technology would appear from nowhere and can subvert your entire business model. Anything can happen.
Therefore, under the constant threat of a change, the rationale for long-term planning seems increasingly unconvincing or probably outdated. It is so true in the digital or online space today.
The start-up process at the early stage
If sound input from marketing (customer’s perspective) is missing at the early stage of conceptualization, then your business would suffer from the classic ‘marketing myopia’. Bear with me, I am getting a little professorial here. Just don’t fall in love with your product or service, focus on the customer. That’s what ‘marketing myopia’ means here.
In other words, a responsible entrepreneur would take great care to understand his/her customer and the supply side of the start-up from the perspective of larger societal interest.
It is to think strategically (long-term) because we also don’t want to hurt the planet earth. The great entrepreneur introduces the right concept right at the formation stage by understanding the business environment.
Business Objectives Vs Vision/Mission of entrepreneur
What is the new business objective and strategy? This is the first question that you need to answer to lay down a solid operational foundation. For the entrepreneur who is already running a business, the question is equally important as a revision of goals is frequently required.
The vision of the entrepreneur becomes the source or a guide to the objectives of a new start-up. The more ambitious the dream, the more difficult would be the objectives and goals.
For convenience, I would say use objectives or goals have the same meaning. Let’s forget about the difference between the two debated by professors in the classroom.
Objectives should reflect the right focus and value in light of your business’ vision and mission, the balanced scorecard tool can be used for this purpose. The management can create objectives for 1-3 years depending on the firm.
Please understand that nothing beats hands-on learning. You build a strong mindset and positive attitude when you face unpleasant problems in a start-up or a new business.
What is your new business or startup strategy?
The answer to the following questions is your small business strategy:
Who should you compete? ( this means you prefer collaborations or no collaboration)
Which area to compete in? ( your product or service scope)
And how would you like to compete? (your team)
I will add more to this section later, for now, it is enough. Pondering over these basic questions should give you a good start.
I had my first business in a small town. I was in my early twenties then. The good old days! I miss you my younger me 🙂 When my co-founder left, I continued the business for about 18 months. I also had to finish my studies at the university.
Towards the end of graduation, I got the urge to go to a big city & look for a fancy career in the advertising industry. I decided to quit the business. It is one of the worst decisions of my life.
I need not bore you with the details but the point is if you have got something going in a small town, you should stay there and keep running it. It is better to raise a start-up in a small town and then bring it to a big city. Don’t sell your small start-up or small business because raising one in a big city is hard!
As they say, you are either an entrepreneur, or you’re not. Forget about the job market. You don’t look for a job, you are supposed to create one.