This evening I joined a session for aspiring tech entrepreneurs organized by the Founder Institute in Brussels. The Founder Institute is “the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program, helping aspiring founders across the globe build enduring technology companies.” as we can read in their website.
3 different speakers, some interesting taken out. Some advices are not new, are indeed so popular to be almost a set of “mantra” for the tech entrepreneur. Some of the statements reported below could be considered as a new perspective. Here we are:
Your idea is important, but the key for success is the execution of the idea.
Your technology/product counts for 20%. Yes, only 20%. Marketing, sales, communication counts 80%.
Think twice before calling yourself a “serial entrepreneur”, VC may dislike it. A serial something is someone jumping from one “start up assassination” to another. Such a guy could seem someone not committed to make the company succeed but only looking for fast money.
Fail fast, Fail cheap ( this is “The Mantra”) and plan, do, study, act, plan, do, study, act, plan, do, study, act, plan, do, study, act,plan, do, study, act, plan, do, study, act,plan, do, study, act, plan, do, study, act,plan, do, study, act, plan, do, study, act, plan, do, study, act, plan, do, study, act…yes once you acted you start back planning. Be agile and fast. Fail fast, Fail cheap.
Don’t underestimate the power of negative thinking. In Naples they say “ogni scarrafone e’ bello a mamma soja” (Pino Daniele, famous italian singer even wrote a song on the topic, click to enjoy it!) translated it means that your Mom will always love you and think you are the most beautiful, brilliant, perfect, creature on earth. And as a corollary as well your ideas. Your Mom maybe could not be the best advisor to evaluate your start up idea. You need negative thinking. You need to highlight death threats and find- already at business plan level – a solution for those threats.
You’d like to build a platform putting in contact teacher and students. Wonderful. But difficult. You need to grow both sides of the community in parallel. If possible try to have only one side to grow. Never underestimate the “how to” bring traffic/download to your site/apps since is still one of the most difficult and money consuming activity.
No. Don’t be like thousands of start up ” young and dynamic”. You need to be reliable, solid, strong. You need to attract customers, and investors. You need to sell. Position your company as a “thought leadership company”. Be adult and proud. You are an innovator, not a teenager.
And… when evaluating your idea be sure you do have a check mark on all the 5Ps:
1. PROBLEM your company should offer a service/solve a real problem.
2. PROMISE your company should offer a real solution to the problem.
3. PROOF why should I believe that your company is offering a real solution to my problem?
4. PROFIT well…make money! persuade me to buy your solution.
5. PERSISTENCE “ the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people“ (Merrian-Webster). Even Urban Dictionary agrees ” Unrelenting, someone who never gives up. Ceaseless.” In a nutshell: never ever give up!