Many times, I hear people criticise an idea because “it’s already out there”. What is most important to every idea is its unique selling point.
These are the days of start-ups, especially in the history of an undermined technology sector of the largest black nation. Youths are refusing to get jobs and those currently employed are at the verge of tendering their resignation letter. Few others are combining both. While there is nothing particular wrong in a large mass of youths setting up their businesses, it’s important we get some things right. I’ve interacted with several start-up founders or at least quite a number of young people thinking about executing one idea or other within the past one year, especially in the technology sector. After all said, here four quick things young start-up founders should learn:
- Consequences are Inconsequential: Fear, that one thing that always reveal itself, either in words or deeds. I have even seen start-up founders pitching these fears. Truth is you can never know how successful you’ll be until you try it out. Damn the fears, conquer the doubts. Go ahead and act. Make as much mistakes you can make as fast as you can. Fail forward. At the end, you’ll have learnt how to run a successful start-up, so long you learnt from the failures.
- It’s a people business after all: Repeat after me “Every business is a people business and if you lose people, you lose business”. Whether it is your co-founder, partner(s), staff or customers, business is all a game of people. Partner with people with complementary attributes or skills. Hire the best out there and solve a “real people problem”. Treat everyone (staff, customer etc) as important, really, they are.
- ALL at once versus One-at-a-time: Should you wait till all your features are built before launching? I think not, at least not in this fast paced world. Wait till you build all those features and when you’re done you may just discover that those features are now obsolete and no more fashionable to your target audience. Facebook did not have half of its current features at launch, but they have stayed true to the core proposition of making the world more connected. Evolution is a constant process. Launch, then evolve.
- First versus Best: Though dominating today, Google was not the first search engine and Facebook was not the first social networking platform. Many times, I hear people criticise an idea because “it’s already out there”. What is most important to every idea is its unique selling point. Lary and Sergy saw something different that can be compared to what Yahoo and others were doing before they started Google. So, don’t get locked up in the fact that someone is already executing that idea that has been beating your heart. If you can be the first, go ahead; but it doesn’t guarantee you market dominance in the long run. You can either be the first or you’re insanely different…I’ll prefer the latter.