The ability to stop when an idea is not worth the time is a valuable trait for a startup owner. Find the courage to move on when an idea that seems brilliant isn’t the one. Entrepreneurs can understand it early, but some don’t want to terminate the implementation.
So, how can you mitigate the risks mentioned above and achieve success in your startup? I have a few suggestions. Keep in mind that this isn’t a definitive list of do’s and don’ts, but it might be helpful for entrepreneurs who are at the beginning of their business journey and are looking for some tips:
1. Aim to become an innovator. To help set your company apart, look for niches in which you can offer improvements, but make sure your solution is easing customers’ lives. For example, there are solutions ranging from notetaking to transcription available to accompany Zoom. Although those companies didn’t create Zoom, they saw a need among users and helped solve it.
2. Know your competitors. Direct or indirect, there are always competitors. Successful startups understand with whom they are competing.
3. Don’t rely on serendipity. People like success stories about sudden enlightenment, an unexpected twist that has changed the course of events and led to success. Creating a business, however, is not about luck or intuition. If you have an idea worth attention, it’s important to be proactive and find resources and opportunities to present it and draw investments.
4. Don’t complicate the idea. Startups tend to pay too much attention to functionality. Some aim for perfection before they even define a target user segment. But I believe the simpler your product is, the better it is for a start. Present the core idea you intend to sell, and add perks along the way.
5. Know the processes. A manager should clearly understand the business process. If you know how things work, you will be able to estimate idea feasibility, define risk areas and cover the majority of them (since eliminating risks is just impossible).
6. Share the responsibilities. A financial expert, lawyer, tech expert and manager make a good team, but these are four different people. If you are good at something, don’t try to undertake other responsibilities as well. That’s where the problems begin. Someone who tries to do it all could fail to notice critical elements of running a business, such as checking patents to ensure the product doesn’t already exist, drafting up properly written user agreements, etc.
7. Stay calm. Running a startup can be stressful, but it’s important to keep a clear head. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by the small stuff, and ensure you remain composed in front of your team.
Handling The Unexpected
The year 2020 has shown me that there are many game-changing circumstances we might not be ready to handle. However, startups are always working with probabilities: At the beginning of the journey, you know nothing; you only have an idea. Most likely, it will work. Most likely, you’ll find customers. Most likely, they’ll pay for the product.
The chances are rarely as obscure as 50/50. And if the odds of success are below 50%, I believe it’s better to look for more ideas. It might be the thrill of the race or a desire to prove their point that makes people go on when the chances suggest doing the opposite. Don’t forget that these things alone aren’t enough to start something big. That way, when you do land on your next great idea, you can implement the seven tips above and lay the groundwork for a successful startup.