Starting a company without business experience: some of the most successful founders started their entrepreneurial journeys without any prior business experience. Having a business background isn’t the core of the entrepreneurial success, it can be acquired through great teammates and advisors, and learned over time. What is important in starting a company is having a unique insight into an industry, or a core competence that others don’t have, passion for the product or service, intense motivation, perseverance and vision.
Find a co-founder with complementary skills: you need to share vision, responsibilities and excitement for the company. Identifying strong skills and finding ways to work synchronized is the key.
Get involved with industry groups: there are a lot of events and meetups near your location that bring people interested in startups, small business, innovation, etc. Don’t be afraid to share your idea with people who could be a great fit for a co-founder or advisor – you might find their insights useful and they would be interested in learning more and joining you.
Be unique: the whole point of entrepreneurship and building a startup is to offer something genuine and unique, something that can add value to people’s lives. The design thinking techniques are popular to generate innovative business ideas.
The right place to start: find the right epicenters for your business, and start from there. Base it on your business model pattern (business strategy), business model canvas. The customer-driven epicenter is the best option to start with, especially when you want to penetrate a particular customer segment of your industry and offer them something new. The finance-driven epicenter is used as a starting point of ideation process when you focus on innovating the charging mechanism in your industry, adding new revenue stream and disrupting the way your competitors do make money in your industry.
Always iterate: the first idea is nothing but theory. After drafting your first version of business canvas and developing the initial business model, start testing it outside the building while listening to your customer feedback and iterate accordingly.
Know your customer: businesses spend tons of money on market research, but the most important factor to their customer acquisition and product development cycle is their customer’s opinion. If you don’t have a huge R&D budget, start conducting low-cost market research and get to know your potential buyer’s feedback.
The empathy map: how to touch the customer’s heart. Answer these questions:
- What do they like to do during weekends?
- What influences them?
- What do you know about their attitude in public?
- What does success mean to them?
- What worries them?
The best way to find out whether your business idea is the next big thing is to start small and design a business model based on market data.