As I begin looking at starting my next venture I’ve been reflecting on what should I be doing NOW before I start, to significantly increase my chances of success…and I believe there are four things.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur just like me read on…
[contentheading]Who Am I?[/contentheading]
First, decide you are an entrepreneur.
Our identity shapes how we think and the actions we take…if you want to be an entrepreneur the first step is to decide you are an entrepreneur.
[contentheading]Who’s My Team?[/contentheading]
Second, find someone who’s going to be crazy enough to come join you (maybe even a couple of people).
Interestingly, there’s a project called the Startup Genome that is attempting to unlock the secret to what makes startups successful, one of their findings based on a survey of 650 companies is:
[div3 class2=”quote-l” class3=”quote-r”]Solo founders take 3.6x longer to reach scale stage compared to a founding team of 2.[/div3]
If you can’t convince someone else to be as crazy as you, how are you going to convince someone to invest in you and your idea? For some inspiration on ways to start building your team read “Starting a Startup“.
[contentheading]Who Am I Connected To?[/contentheading]
Third, get connected.
The first time to meet a potential investor/advisor is NOT when you actually need their money/advice…not unless you’re being introduced by someone who already knows the both of you well.
Again from the Startup Genome project (regarding this point and the next):
[div3 class2=”quote-l” class3=”quote-r”]Startups that have helpful mentors, track metrics effectively, and learn from startup thought leaders raise 7x more money and have 3.5x better user growth.[/div3]
[contentheading]Who’s Been Successful?[/contentheading]
Become a student of startup success and failure stories. Research the latest in business and product development thinking specifically as it relates to innovation and startups.
Personally I really like the work Eric Ries has been doing with The Lean Startup movement and highly recommend his new book “The Lean Startup“, I was fortunate enough to get an early copy.
…and OK, I know I said there were only four, but there’s five really…
Fifth, take baby steps.
At some point you’ve got to commit, it may take you 6 or even 9 months to gestate your idea, identify your team, investors and advisors and bone up on how this startup thing works, but then you have to jump in. The question is now as you look to the future 6 or 9 months away what are the baby steps you must be taking today? What do you have to be doing NOW to create that compelling future.
More from the Startup Genome project:
[div3 class2=”quote-l” class3=”quote-r”]People who work half time raise about 24x less money than founders who go full time. They also have trouble building up the intensity required to drive the user growth needed to validate interest in their product.[/div3]
You will never stop working on these 4 (or 5) things, even once you’ve started your startup, but trust me the time to start working on them is before and not after you’ve quit the day job!
Matthew James says
I read this with interest. It is timely for my organisation, NHS County Durham and Darlington, to consider because we are going through a period of transformation. As a commissioning body we will stop being a statutory body and become a community interest group, namely a Commissioning Support Organisation, that will provide a range of services to GP Consortia in our region (six of them for 900k population). We have multiple directorates that are being dismentled by their functions, and will need to repack ourselves neatly into a commercially driven enterprise. Your start up lessons are very useful, insightful and empowering. I have passed this on to the development manager for consideration as we are about to hold a Rapid Improvement and Innovation Workshop over 3 days. Best wishes, Matthew James, Head of Operations
This is the perfect way to break down this ifnromtiaon.