I have helped many budding entrepreneurs during those early exciting days when struggling to find their way as a start-up. Some don’t get past first engagement. For those individuals that do progress, my observation is they can roughly be divided into two groups. Those determined individuals that have the self-discipline to make it happen. And those with a good idea but without the commitment and understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur.
The focussed individuals, are eager to learn and to discover how and what they need to do to make it happen. Some are desperate to learn and maybe to discover from those who have experienced success. And some just want to get inside the problems and challenges they face and to discover the skills to succeed.
The other group have an idea for their business. But when I hear their story it misses out all of the things that require self sacrifice. In the majority of cases this will lead to an inevitable consequence, usually the failure to survive for very long, at least without some external help and usually this will only be a temporary solution.
The reality for a start-up
A start-up needs more that just a good idea to be a success. They also need the determination to win. A business idea will go through many iterations and very often ends up being something completely different. In my mind this is not a failure, finding that unique proposition is the challenge for all would be entrepreneurs, your difference is your strength.
Having helped many entrepreneurs track there way through the challenge of starting a business, this post is the first of a series, reflecting on some of the common difficulties that can arise. It also looks at some practical solutions that can help those who might be on this sometimes wonderful rollercoaster of a journey.
A business idea or an emotional roadblock!
Ideas for a business can come from so many places, finding the right business idea is the first critical step, they can be well thought through balanced and objective. Or more often, they can come from a dream that is unlikely to be realised, at least not in the way that was originally thought. In my experience the best ideas solve a clear and identifiable problem.
For example, I recall hearing a story from a few years back from two men who had just started a new business, having spent most of their working lives on oil rigs in the North Sea. While they were employed, they had identified a problem that sometimes happens when drilling for oil. In order to fix this problem required the drill to be fully withdrawn. To complete this process required the rig to be shut down for a whole day, at a cost of $1M. The two men had given this problem some thought, and proposed a solution to their bosses. Unfortunately, their idea was not taken seriously and the problem continued.
When the men retired they decided to develop their idea and eventually produced a simple design which they offered to their old employer to test. After some development iterations they were able to produce a solution that was proved to solve the problem. The solution had the potential to make them very rich and as far as I know this is exactly what happened.
Investing time in the early stages of a business, to clearly understand how the product or service delivers value and undertaking testing is critical to a successful launch.