Make a conscious effort to keep things in perspective so you wont get burned out. It is easy to get stuck in the daily grind, but if you think about all the distance you have covered, and what excitement lies ahead, it is much easier to feel motivated & optimistic
Topics: Motivation, Validate, Time, Customers, Lean, Endurance, Quitting, Capital, Partners, Rocky Road
Fully Qualified? A few months ago, a friend called me excitedly to share a startup idea. He was an investor’s dream entrepreneur: engineering undergrad with an MBA from MIT, worked at Google, and literally wrote a book on the core tech behind his startup. He launched a product, was getting a little attention, and was at an scaling point. He probably could have raised funding based on this traction and asked me, “Should I take the plunge and do this full time? I think I’m ready.” I’ll let you know what I told him in a moment, but first, these are the questions I suggested he ask himself before leaving a cushy gig for a high-risk venture of Starting a Business:
- What’s your Motivation? Are you motivated by the prospect of getting rich? Are you irritated seeing less-skilled former colleagues becoming successful – by founding companies? These are perfectly normal human emotions, but horrible reasons on their own to start a business. Survivorship bias is real, and for every Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, there are thousands of founders who do not make it.
- What have you done to “validate” this Idea? Do you have a functional product? Many users? What has been their Feed-back? Have you built up recognition as a thought leader in your industry through social channels? The reality is that, in today’s eco-system, you can prove quite a bit with nothing beyond a personal investment in time.
- Is this idea worth your Time? Is the risk-adjusted return of your current career path much less than spending 3-5 years starting up. If he wasn’t passionate about solving this problem, he should pass on the idea. Passion doesn’t mean excitement for the product per se, but if you’re not enthusiastically jumping out of bed to improve it, it doesn’t make sense to do a startup.
- Are there “real” Customers for this? It’s one thing to have a working product, it’s quite another to have paying customers. Are you priced competitively to alternate products? Is your product easy to install, learn & use?
- Lean & beyond. Founders collective advice is for Founders is to plan for a year with no income from the time you quit your job until the time you get funded. It can be 3-5 years. Plan to get to the Break-even point asap – to get some Cash Flow.
- Do you have the “endurance” for the Marathon version of your Startup effort, or do you only want to do a Sprint? Can you survive if your product doesn’t take off for 12-24 months? How about 36 months? The reality is that startups often struggle for a long time, and the beginning can be the slowest part. The more of that struggling you get out of the way “before” you quit your job, the better off you’ll be.
- Is quitting the “right” next Step now? Can you keep your “day job” until you’ve validated your market and you’re ready to launch? This won’t work for every company, but most Hardware, Software & Apps don’t require your 24/7 attention. Only your Customer Support. What can you prove to yourself before you leave your job – when starting a business?
- Capital won’t make you Clever or spending more Time on an idea won’t either. Going full time on a startup is a necessity at some point, but are you ready? Can you “Survive until you Thrive?
- What do your Partners in life think? How long are your business partners/ investors/family members really willing to hang in there, if things don’t work out right away? You’ll be burning savings & investments, but you should also be prepared to jump on a plane at a moment’s notice to meet with a customer. Will your “significant other” & others, be okay – if you spend several nights a week at Meetups – networking for contacts?
- Startup stories rarely follow a smooth Path -more like a Rocky Road, The successful ones often leave out some of the details of there rough journey and all the pot-holes. Before you decide to found a startup, go through this checklist of questions thoroughly (& have an expert review it), until you have real confidence in your plan for starting a business.
- My final Advice to you. I encourage everyone who has a burning desire, to try Starting a Business. Don’t take the step because it seems like the right thing to do at this time because of the opportunity. Don’t quit your day job, until you absolutely have to. Don’t have a too “rosy” picture. Don’t do your planning based on the best-case scenario. This is always risky and un-realistic. There are always a lot of challenges that occur for most Founders when starting a business.
Quotes on Starting up.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance”. – Steve Jobs, Apple
“Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient & the persistent. It’s for those that love a challenge and celebrate their victory” – Elon Musk, Tesla, Solar City & X
“Statistics suggest that when customers complain, business owners & team member ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business”. – Zig Ziglar, famous Author, Motivator
“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it you can. – Debbie Fields (Cookies)
“We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.” – Pete Cashmore, founder & CEO, Mashable
Comments: Are there any other Questions that should be asked – before Starting a Business?
from Venture Beat 17 Jan 17 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz