Depending on how you count I'm involved with my sixth startup.
Some of them, including this latest, required outside capital whereas others were the product of sweat equity.
Some failed, some succeeded, both to varying degrees, and none came easy regardless of the outcome.
Throughout all that I've learned a thing or two and thought some of that may be helpful to those of you who are or are contemplating doing your own thing. But first let me set your expectations regarding what I have to tell you.
Searching “startups” on Amazon turned up 10,872 book titles. Why so many?
Well, it’s a very popular topic, there’s much to learn, and anyone seriously interested in starting a company, particularly those who've never done so previously, should learn all they can before beginning.
But bear in mind this post is less than 800 words, which means I'm not giving you the keys to the startup kingdom. Just my take on 5 things you need to consider before starting your startup.
They're numbered but don't assume an importance rank order. They're all equally important.
1. Twice as much, twice as long.
I'm way past my first startup “rodeo” and the absolutely-written-in-stone certainty I can assure you of is this: Becoming successful will take at least twice as long plus at least twice as much money, probably much more than you assumed would be necessary.
What about failure? Well I suppose the good news is it takes much less time to fail than it does to succeed. However, don't apply that rule to how much you'll spend in the process. Failure is at least as expensive as success, often more so.
2. Nobody cares as much as you.
You have this “incredible”, “awesome” (pick your own adjective) idea for a new product/service. It can’t miss! But soon you find the world is not as insightful as you because no one seems to care.
No point in wasting too many of the 800 or so words explaining why that is. Just accept it is what it is. You can and should work to make them care more but don't expect it day one.
3. You're wrong much more than you’re right.
Startups are a house of assumptions. You know very little for certain and even that you do know is subject to change.
Every business operates on assumed "truths", exponentially so for startups. You assume a lot and know very little. It’s ok that you don’t know; the job is as much about identifying and correcting inaccuracies as it is assuming them in the first place.
Just don’t “drink” too much of your own “Kool-Aid” to the point where you repeatedly act on false perceptions.
4. You’re not alone.
There’s a lot new under the sun but not necessarily your idea. Don't assume you're the only one who’s thought of it, particularly if you need to raise investment capital.
Do your due diligence; find out who and what you're up against. Your potential investors will and want to know you have as well.
And if you don't discover competition ask yourself why? The best validation of any new idea is that it is not a new idea.
5. You may end up alone.
You might be the consummate entrepreneur, willing to toss aside a well paying career in return for the chance to run your own business. But that doesn't mean your wife/husband/significant other/children, etc. are as well.
Nor does it mean your extended family and friends will support you to the degree necessary. And make no mistake about it, you do need help and support from others beyond those directly involved in the business.
You can attempt to go it alone but at least understand the feelings and concerns of those you drag along with you. Their unwillingness to live the startup life could be the undoing of your fledgling business, and worse, your relationships with them.
So that’s it, my list of 5 things you should consider before attempting a startup.
"Are there only 5?"
Not even close, you need to know much more than this, which is, in part, why I mentioned the 10,000+ book titles on Amazon relating to the subject. And if you're only going to read one I recommend you make it Guy Kawasaki's update to his original startup handbook The Art of the Start, The Art of the Start 2.0.
But this is a start, one I sincerely hope will spare you later pain and possibly even failure in your startup.
Break a leg!
William Matthies is the CEO of Coyote Insight, a planning consultancy, the author of The 7 Keys to Change, and a frequent speaker on matters pertaining to planning and change, both personal and professional. Contact him (email@example.com) to speak at your next group event.
You can’t go past a news paper, radio show or television news story these days without being flooded by all things Bitcoin or Crypto Currency. Some say it’s the new world of money while others suggest its all just a passing fad. Whatever your position or preference of...
This week I announced a suite of measures for the Government to consider when it comes to small and medium sized business and what we can all be doing as we start to look at emerging from the COVID19 lockdown. The reality is that a good number of small business owners,...
As someone who has been working in suicide prevention for some years now i know that often having a simple conversation can make all of the difference when a loved one is doing it tough. COVID 19 and the lock down tends to amplify how we feel when we are isolation or a...
We know that mob out there are uncertain as to what the COVID-19 / Corona Virus means for them – this can cause us all to panic and some in community more so that others. Panic attacks can compound the situation so we gather some information about what you can do now t...
Don’t forget our elders can suffer in silence too: suicide prevention
Many people think that mental health and suicide are not topics that impact our elders but they could not be more wrong. The data tells us there continues to be an emerging trend when it comes to peop...