Entrepreneurs are people with a deep desire to develop solutions. They are resilient, creative, passionate, energetic and optimistic. Beyond these traits and in order to succeed in the entrepreneurial world, first-time entrepreneurs have some proven steps they can rely on, from developing their solution to pitching their venture.
Here are 10 steps that will jumpstart your startup:
- Focus on where your heart and skills are: Because of their characteristics, entrepreneurs often succeed in creating innovative and sustainable solutions when they are engaged with problems they are connected to. What are the problems that inspire you?
- Build alignment among your team mates: Ventures are more likely to perform well when their founders work effectively as a team. Good teamwork creates synergy – the combined effect of the team is greater than the sum of individual efforts. By working together, a team can apply individual perspectives, experiences, and skills towards solving complex problems, creating new solutions that may be beyond the scope of any one individual.
- Try to address a pressing societal problem: Given the centrality of the problem to entrepreneurs, a careful analysis of the problem becomes essential for the development of an effective solution.
- Understand what is valued by your target audience: The value proposition describes how the offer that is proposed to the target audience differs from the dominant solution(s) available. This means that empathy and filed research are key to understand potential pains and gains for your target audience.
- Build a robust and simple solution: Define the key activities needed to deliver the solution and the key elements of the value proposition. The solution architecture is key to build a simple and meaningful solution for the target audience.
- Sustainability is key for your business model: Entrepreneurs should design the business model in a way that it can generate sufficient revenue to cover expenses and allow for reinvestment in the scaling of the venture and/or in increasing its organizational capacity. This means that the value created for the target audience and other stakeholders should be monetized at some point.
- Do not forget about potential scalability: It is very important to identify potential bottlenecks that the venture might face in the future (variables or key factors of the solution that might block the scalability of the venture in the future) and possible strategies to overcome them later on.
- Test your solution, pivot it and learn quickly: The design and implementation of a pilot is an essential step before launching the solution at a larger scale. It is the first opportunity to test and iterate the innovations of the proposed model and the assumptions identified at a smaller scale and with lower risk, in order to verify if it works (or not) for solving the problem that the venture aims to solve. Testing and learning quickly is very important for entrepreneurs. So, test your solution asap!
- Bootstrap to test: As in all entrepreneurial projects, securing resources to transform an idea into reality is a formidable challenge. Yet, launching a pilot is an extremely important step and its implementation should not be delayed. In some cases, it can be necessary to use significant financial resources but, in many cases,, there are under-utilized resources that can be used to get the pilot up and running.In order to test the solution, you need to be working with the minimal amount of financial resources, you also need to engage your network.
- Develop a compelling pitch: Whether you are trying to mobilize resources or just want to get feedback to perfect your business model, a solid elevator pitch is an essential tool to communicate your solution efficiently.
About the Writer
is the Executive Director of IES Social Business School
who headed the Agrytech Bootcamp
in June. He is President of the Board and founder of ESLIDER-PORTUGAL – National Network of Civil Society Leaders, member of the Board of EUCLID-NETWORK – European Network of Civil Society Leaders and member Of the Direction of the Association “Mundo a Sorrir”. Previously, he was General Coordinator of UDIPSS-PORTO – District Union of Private Institutions of Social Solidarity of Porto. He was also Associate Researcher at INSEAD and Assistant Researcher at Universidade Católica Portuguesa – Porto Regional Center. Carlos is a Professor in Higher Education and a PhD in Economics at the School of Economics and Management of the University of Minho.