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Can’t Miss Startup Advice (September)
A lot has happened since the last startup advice post here on DailyTekk that I’m sure you don’t want to miss. First, we explored the issue of failure and whether or not it was fatal. The responses will give you courage and hope in your quest to start your own business. Second, we explored the concept of creativity in If Creativity is Currency, Are You Broke? I think the name speaks for itself. Both articles are must reads for entrepreneurs.
Yes, this 3rd installment of startup advice (specifically tailored to tech entrepreneurs, but equally useful to all founders and teams) is labelled ‘September’ but I think you’ll find that what is said here is pretty timeless. How can you go wrong when you have the mind behind the Star Trek Holodeck giving you advice? Since each person here represents a different sector, background and experience level, I’ll ask once again: where on earth are you going to get access to these great people all neatly organized for you to peruse? Just here
Also read: Can’t Miss Startup Advice (July)
Don’t wait! Most people will have an idea and talk about it for ages. The reality is that idea is running away from you every day unless you chase it. I don’t think you need to quit your job, blow your savings, and alienate your family (that all comes later), but you can always find ways to put good, productive energy into refining your idea and understanding of the customer it helps.
Will You Do Whatever It Takes?
Forget it! Just kidding. But it is a difficult and painful road, littered with strife, disappointments, greedy and hurtful people, and sacrifice. However, if you are lucky and are pursuing a product that there really is a market for, a big market, and you have a really good economical solution, it can really be worth it. You could make a lot of money, see your efforts and creations actualized in the real world, meet and make friends with many interesting and wonderful people, and have a great time enjoying the ride.
Before starting your company, you have to do the research to determine if your product will work, if it fills a need of enough people, if anyone else has something like it or something that will make it irrelevant, if there is or most likely will be a big market for it, and if it is likely to be able to be produced, marketed, and sold with a good profit margin. You need to ask yourself if you are willing to make the commitment to do whatever it takes to see it through. You have to write a patent application on it and file it. You have to make a prototype or find a way to convincingly demonstrate workability and produceability. You have to set up a company, write a business plan with justifiable projections, and begin the arduous road to finding one or more people that are willing to invest in your idea. The real secret to success is to never give up. Most of the time, success goes to the last one standing.
Integrate With A Vibrant Startup Community
Reach out. If there isn’t a vibrant community of startups and other like minded individuals where you are, move to somewhere there is. Starting a tech business takes a huge commitment in terms of personal time and offers massive highs and lows. The more like minded people you have around you, pushing you forward, understanding your pain, sharing the same experiences and broadening your network, the more likely you are to succeed.
Don’t Be Afraid of Failure
Go for it! Take this opportunity to pour your heart and soul into something that you are passionate about. Tech entrepreneurship is a particuarly interesting field because the barriers to entry are so low. That means you have no excuse not to start, but you’ll have tons of competition from day 1. You will encounter many obstacles but keep moving forward, and stay true to your vision. Don’t be afraid of failure—If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing yourself. It will be the greatest learning experience of your life, so just keep going and never give up!
Build the business around something that excites you rather than something that looks good on a spreadsheet. It’s best to have domain knowledge or other understanding of the market that you can bring to bear. That kind of knowledge is a great “unfair competitive advantage” vs just knowing the technology. And then FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS on the main pain point in your domain area.