While consulting start-up companies, I met hundreds of entrepreneurs and learned the things that those who succeed always have and always do. So, before sprinting forward to write your business plan and long before you look for an investor, make sure you follow these five principles.
- Look for a problem, not an idea. “I have an amazing idea!” is something I hear very often and in most cases the idea sounds very appealing at first but doesn’t really fulfil anyone’s need. In order to build a long lasting and high potential product, I strongly recommend that you look for a pressing need and then define a product to solve it instead of thinking of an innovative feature only to realize that it actually serves no one.
- Create a winning team. You probably know this by now, but this is so important I can’t stress it enough: your TEAM is the most important thing in your startup! Find people whom you trust and who differ from you. In fact, find people who complete you. Make sure they’re highly motivated, and that you all have great chemistry between each other. You will go through rough waters at times, so make sure you have team members who will hang on tight and have fun while doing so.
- Build a strong network. Throughout the life of a startup, an entrepreneur faces a large variety of dilemmas in different fields. Since no one, not even the most talented entrepreneur, knows everything, a wide network of professionals from various fields could be very helpful. Moreover, this network might open doors for you in times of need, provide you interesting point of views when you are a bit lost and be a very meaningful support system.
- Have a great “elevator pitch”. I know you’ve heard it a million times before, and yet most of the entrepreneurs I know stutter a bit when asked about their product. The truth is that even if you are a confident charismatic pitcher, when you plan an “elevator pitch” (and yes, it requires planning) you have to make sure you don’t blabber about insignificant issues and that you stay focused on what’s most important.
- Be ready to fall. How can I state this gently? You are going to fall many times and it will be painful. When you decide you want to set out on this bumpy entrepreneurial road, you have to take this into consideration and prepare yourself to get up as fast as you can every time you encounter an obstacle or a door shuts in your face.
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