Say no more, for I totally hear you loud and clear – you want to break free from the shackles that bind you for so long, you want to get out of the rat-race you’ve been trapped in since you can remember. That’s awesome, I too was there and bet millions of others are too. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone who wanted to could start a business and be their own boss? Well, guess what, everyone who truly wants it can and does start a business, the question is just how bad you want it?! If your answer is resounding ‘yes, I want it very much’, than here’s the quick startup checklist to get your started and keep you on track.
1. Winning Idea
Despite the fact that an idea in and of itself is worth little to nothing, you still need to have one to start a business. Ideally, you’ve got to find a need that needs to be filled, right a wrong or simply create the need and have a way to fill it. Whatever it may be, take time to come up with an idea that has merit in its core, something that is truly valuable not what you think could make a ton of money. You need to have an idea with substance – get one.
2. The BIG Why
If you are planning to start a business for the sake of making money and becoming a millionaire or a billionaire, you better stop right now and don’t waste your time, money or effort, for you’ll most certainly fail. Entrepreneurship as wonderful as it may seem is filled with risks and uncertainties. As an entrepreneur you are most likely, in fact absolutely positively going to encounter seemingly insurmountable obstacles, formidable challenges and temporary defeats, which after a while can become permanent as you run out of steam and nothing to motivate or keep you going. The money hunger isn’t going to do it, you need a much more meaningful WHY to keep you passionate, motivated and focused on the end result.
3. The Team
An old adage “partner can either make you or break you” holds true in entrepreneurship. In addition to having witnessed and heard stories of failed partnerships from my close business acquaintances, I’ve also lived it first hand and can tell you it isn’t pretty. Therefore, you’ve got to be extremely prudent when screening and selecting a partner for your business venture. Business partnership is like a marriage in that if any one of the partners isn’t working toward a common goal, the partnership and possibly the entire business is in jeopardy and could very well be on the path to failure, so choose wisely.
4. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Before you make an excessive investment of your time, effort, money and sleepless nights – among others – make sure your idea has got the legs and can walk. So how do you do that? Well, assuming that you already have a clear understanding of who your target audience is and what is the product or a service you’re going to launch into the marketplace, develop only a bare minimum version of your product/service which has basic functionality and can perform core functions and tasks. Once built and ready for testing, soft-launch it to a ‘closed and select audience’ e.g. the family, friends and business and acquaintance for 3 months to get the feel for it through their usage and valuable feedbacks.
5. Tweak and Pivot
Armed with months worth of feedback and case study, work on improving your product or a service by tweaking and pivoting until it’s near perfect. Very often during the MVP you’ll realize that not only is your initial product or a service total crap which needs a serious overhaul but also that your initial business plan and go-to-market (GTM) were completely off. Use the post MVP time to reflect and pivot until you’re fully aligned with your target audience and market needs. It’s very imperative that you do this right so don’t skim on it but delve deep into it.
6. The Launch
Drumroll please. The moment you’ve been eagerly waiting for has finally arrived – your very own creation, the master piece is being launched into the marketplace where it will be put to the real test of merit and value. While you want your product or service to dazzle your target audience and leave them thirsty for more, it could also be rejected right off the bat. Whatever the case may be, enjoy the process of converting your idea into a product/service and subsequently launching it into the marketplace. Don’t forget to always be learning and improving. Strive for perfection in everything you do even if you never reach it, for most of us never do. The mere striving for it will make you a better person.