No one starts a business they want to fail. Yet, very few entrepreneurs do whatever it takes to build a successful business. Most startups die the day they are born. Rarely because they are bad ideas but usually because the founders are not committed enough to build a startup that succeeds.
Even the entrepreneurs that last to see their product on the market with paying customers can eventually get overwhelmed with the accumulation of challenges and roadblocks. I have been there and I know exactly how it feels.
Turning an idea into a valuable solution that makes a difference is a feeling that is worth every sleepless night, but how many of those nights are you willing to take before calling it a night? These five tips will help you build your startup with more clarity.
1. Don’t Take Your Time
Whether or not you have the required resources to start, get to work quickly. If things work out, you’re in business and if they don’t, you move to the next venture. If you need funding, seek funding. If you failed to seek funding, find a different path.
Sitting on an idea or product for months and years costs you time and money. When you don’t free up your mind to focus on a venture, you are truly committed to, even if you’re not spending a minute or a dime on your current project, you’re wasting time, which means you’re wasting money generated through the value you could be creating with a different project.
2. Cut Your Learning Curve
The brain of an entrepreneur is an idea factory. We see a problem, we instantly think of solutions. If there’s no problem, we start thinking about how we can improve existing solutions. This problem-solving mindset is a blessing and a curse.
There will always be an opportunity of a lifetime, an offer you cannot refuse, the next billion-dollar space, all of which initially seem like a much easier path to success. The truth is, you can’t flip an idea or an opportunity. You can’t buy an undervalued idea, build and sell it overnight. Capturing a new opportunity means starting from the beginning, even if it seems like you’d be ahead of the curve. It means learning the space, business, key players and market.
The tip is simple. Capture opportunities in areas you’re familiar with and stick to it for as long as it takes to build a successful business, whether it’s your first or fiftieth idea. When you know the space, you can move faster by making fewer mistakes and leveraging resources like connections you may have already spent years building. Move even faster by hiring people that are experts in your space.
3. Capture Opportunity-Driven Ventures
A necessity-driven business is when entrepreneurs look for a business opportunity based on the return they can potentially generate to substitute or complement their income. This is not to be confused with a side hustle or passive income-generating projects. The difference is in how entrepreneurs approach the opportunity. A necessity-driven business means starting a business out of a necessity to make money.
Research shows that opportunity-driven businesses are more likely to succeed and thrive. They’re when you identify and focus on capturing an opportunity by prioritizing long-term over short-term returns. This goes back to distractions and chasing shiny objects. There is no such thing as overnight success.
4. Minimize Guessing
As an entrepreneur, many of your decisions will be based on gut feelings and instincts rather than facts and concrete data. All of today’s most successful founders had to make such decisions. And they learned a thing or two over the years. Seek help!
Just like building a startup in an industry you are familiar with can help you cut your learning curve, asking entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes will do the same. The reason is that making a mistake will teach you a new thing. You can learn the same lessons by getting it right sooner through the support of mentors. Research shows that mentored entrepreneurs are five times more likely to start their business and 12% more likely to stay in business after a year.
5. Take Calculated Risks
When you finally decide to build your startup idea, just making the decision to start can feel like a risky decision. This is before even thinking about making any investment or taking any action. The relationship between risk and return is crystal clear. If you don’t take risks, you will have to settle for mediocre to no returns.
Smart entrepreneurs take calculated risks. Focusing on industries you’re familiar with, starting opportunity-driven ventures and seeking mentorship will help you take calculated risks. Finally, remember not to take your time.