As a new entrepreneur, you will never be challenged to a greater degree than at the funding stage of your first startup. Your idea good, you have great business plan and every detail shows your business model will succeed, but with no track record, no proof of success and no infrastructure, you have to find a way to prove yourself.
Getting from zero to success requires strong will and the knowledge in understanding how the funding process works. It makes you prepared and ready to face the challenges head on by answering their questions the way that it will convince them.
From experience, here are four key pieces of advice for anyone who is gearing up to launch their startup.
1. Stay in motion and begin
Many people have ideas only to convince themselves it’s not the time to start working on them. They decide it’s not worth the effort, it cannot work according to plan, I don’t think people will like my idea or that they don’t have the skills necessary to see it through. You’ve got to stifle the temptation to throw in the towel before you even step into the ring. The people who commit early are the ones who persevere and do the unbelievable.
Over-analysis leads to paralysis and at the same time convince you it won’t work, rather than doing that, focus on what you know, rather than what you don’t. No matter how big your vision and goals, every victory begins at the starting line. The law of inertia proves that people in motion stay in motion, so don’t let your hesitation stop you from getting started.
2. Find your focus, but be ready to evolve
Pick an idea and find a way to do it better than anyone else. At the same time, don’t be married to it. Your first idea may not knock it out of the park, but your 30th might.
This is where innovation comes into place. You may not be required to reinvent the wheel, your strategy could be the combination of one or two business model that makes yours better than anyone.
For instance, amazon.com idea came from walmart, but the difference was amazon.com took walmart idea and created it online.
Be flexible enough to adapt, evolve and iterate. Your job as an entrepreneur is to exhaust all options and grind it out to find the differentiator that elevates you above the competition. Once you’ve found that, make it your central focus. Remember, you only have to be right once.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone; do one thing really well and that will enable the result you need in time.
Having a smart, small niche is great. A bigger niche is better. Best of all is owning a niche in a huge surrounding market, one that is growing and changing, because this gives you a significantly better chance of success and to position your brand as the leader in the sector.
Today, virtually every new company has to adjust its business plan as it develops to cope and with the ever increasing change in the sector. You need room for error. A large, dynamic market gives you breathing room so you can pivot, negotiate alliances and seize unforeseen opportunities.
3. Never. Stop. Networking
Networking is the best business model that will distribute your product or service and it’s the most controversial. Successful businesses like Microsoft, Apple, coca cola, Ford distribute their product via a network.
Developing a wide network of relationships will have a compounding positive effect on your personal and professional growth. Every new relationship you develop creates opportunities to expand your network by exploring that person’s list of contacts. You never know which friend of a friend of a family member’s co-worker can introduce you to your first investor or best advisor.
Having well-known names in your corner gives you a significant advantage and shows boost confidence in your early days, so develop these relationships as quickly as you can. Ultimately, the network you build will likely open doors to your company’s growth and development, fundraising and, potentially, its eventual exit.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to notable people to begin developing relationships. You’ll be surprised how willing they are to help you. Ask for referrals and follow up. Always continue to develop momentum as you build your personal network.
4. Don’t give up, just do it
The common thread that all entrepreneurs possess is the inherent refusal to give up. As you move forward, you are going to hear every reason why your idea won’t work. People who have tried and give up will always tell you-you’re wasting your time. Very infrequently — if ever — will you hear why it will work.
Because of this, you need to pitch your idea to as many people as you can. As you do, don’t be surprised or discouraged by all the “noes” you encounter. Resilience, patience, maintaining momentum and thick skin are essential.
Remember that this is your idea, your solution to a problem, your business and your vision. At the end of the day, the direction your company takes will fall on you. Investigate your options, develop new strategies and don’t stop at the first roadblock. Success rewards the diligent.