The key to success and the mistakes to avoid
Recently, Richard Branson has published Five Secrets to succeed in business while the Wall Street Journal has reviewed 10 mistakes from start-up entrepreneurs. Some insights that can be gained when you read both are the following, about which I am completely sure, my experience has taught them to me.
- Create something that stands out and you really enjoy. You will work a lot, and otherwise it will not pay off. Do your pre-business work well, the business plan, but do not invest too much time on it. Just start when you have a fairly well-shaped idea and a prototype to show to potential workers, advisory board people, investors, and clients. If what you do is really good and proposes a solution to a problem, things will go extremely fast afterwards!
- It is really important to build a team with the best people, which is one of the signs of a good leader. Therefore, you have to create something people that surround you are really proud of. You cannot do things alone, so be prepared to be generous with talent, but do not ask too many people for advice, your ideas would turn into a mess! Be visible both in the company and out from it, people in your market should know who you are and what you are doing: do not fear potential competitors if what you do is not easy to copy.
- Start selling fast. Do not spend a lot of time in product development, go to market as fast as you can, the final product will then be shaped by the inputs from customers. While this can be true in many markets, it could be complicated in some. However, sales will bring external capital if you need it, but do not raise too much, it could complicate your start-up life. Sales obtained with small investments in marketing will also prove that the market you are addressing is correct, and this will lead to distributors if necessary. However, do not overestimate the market size and how you achieve a fraction of it!
In any case, in start-ups, what really works is the learning by doing approach, a hands-on experience!