Taking the entrepreneurial plunge and starting your own business can be as liberating as it is terrifying. While holding a corporate job is no easy feat in itself, being an entrepreneur requires an entirely different skill set which may make you feel nervous and unprepared.
Coupled with the fact that there are so many variables from the get go, it’s hard to even know where to begin, let alone fathom success. However, there are some practical considerations to anchor you as you navigate unfamiliar waters. These are necessary to nail down and to keep front of mind so you can remember why you began the business in the first place.
1. Pick your passion
Think about something that is personal and a pain to you or people you know and aim to solve that problem. Personal experience provides an intuitive insight into what the most important aspect of a product or service might be. This allows you to focus your business direction in delivering for the needs of the consumer- and therefore delivering upon the needs of your business.
2. Build it easy
This again ties back to why you do things. You do things for your customers, not yourself. No one cares about the effort you put into deploying your product, service or platform. They care about the simplicity of use, the end result and how they can utilise your solution to improve their lives or their businesses.
3. Raise a family within your business
Funding is all the rage right now but don’t forget to focus on developing the best team there has ever been. If you have the best idea in the world and all the money behind it but not the best team, you might as well stop immediately. Your business is not about you or your idea but the people within it.
4. Your first client
Your first client is the person who your business’ world revolves around. You need to put all your energy, all your heart and soul into making them happy. They will also be your hardest client. Because the truth is your product is not finished, your service is not what it should be, but they believe in you, saw value in you and have now invested in you. Your first client is the person who will generate your first income so always keep that in mind while building your offering.
5. Team up with channels
Another important question is how do you get your client/how do you distribute your offering? I always say, do not underestimate partnerships. Most businesses think they are in the clear once they have raised funds and once they have built the product. There is a ‘Build it and They Will Come’ mentality which is 100% not true.
The easiest way to overcome this is to think about channels. Channels are conduits to which you will distribute your product. But you also need to make pick the right channels that are best for you. E.g. if your product is a revolutionary type of soap, McDonald’s isn’t going to be your channel. It’s all about calibrating your channel to suit your offering. Don’t underestimate the time and effort this will take. If you don’t have the funds for it, then you have to be street smart about it as it will take lots of legwork and trial and error.
6. Don’t sell the best product or service in the world
Many people think that the best businesses are the ones with the best product or service. This is fundamentally wrong. No one cares about how good or bad your product is. Clients care about how good your solution is to them. You need to have the best solution to solve their problem. This involves having your offering and also an ecosystem around it (which may include support, training, GTM schemes)
My final advice for now is fairly simple. To those of you who are still wondering if they should start a business, now is the time to stop wondering. If you have made up a list of reasons as to why you should start your business vs why you shouldn’t start your business, I guarantee your second column will vastly supercede the first one: there are always more compelling reasons why you should not start. So stop thinking and just go for it.
About the author:
Stephane Ibos is CEO and co-founder of Maestrano, a cloud-based business management platform launched in 2014 in Australia. He was an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 2015 and a member of the Australian delegation at the Entrepreneurs G20 in 2014 and 2015.