After working with many startups around the world, advising them based on my personal experience, here are few of my best tips for beginner entrepreneurs who don’t know where to start:
Be flexible, and don’t be afraid to change your idea.
Throughout my work with creative people, I found that many creators get stuck on their original idea and are too afraid to pivot. Pivoting is important! Many of the biggest companies these days have done the same, when they realize their product might not be ideal but out of what they already have, they can create something different. A good example is Slack, who started as a video game company, and even though the video game was not very successful, they realized that the internal communication platform they created, to communicate between US and Canadian offices might be a great opportunity. Iterating your ideas is a viable step. It will take you one step closer from just an idea to actually having a product. Listen to others, and be open to new ideas all the time.
Listen to others, and be open to new ideas all the time.
As the founder of a startup, you always say the last word, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to other people. Most startups require a team of people with different skills and backgrounds. You can’t possibly know everything from the beginning. Other people’s perspective can change your way of viewing your own product. One of my favorite eureka moments is the story of how the polaroid camera was invented. The creator took a photo of his 3 years old daughter. The girl looked at her dad and asked “why can’t we see the photo right away? From that moment, it took 4 years to create a camera that revolutionised the world. So, are you humble enough to get inspired by a 3 year old?
Write user stories
It’s simple. Take a piece of paper, write down a name of a customer you might have in the future. For example, let’s call our customer Jojo. Now, try to describe Jojo as much as you can. How old is Jojo? What are Jojo’s values? What does Jojo care about when he buys products? What are his hobbies? Who does he hang out with? What makes him excited? Those questions will not only help you understand which features are important in your product and which one aren’t, it’ll also help you understand who is your target audience and how to get to them. If Jojo for example is a child, advertising on Instagram might not be beneficial for your business.
Understand why YOU would buy this product
The easiest way to sell someone a product, is by truly believing in the product. There’s a difference between “people would definitely buy it if I build it” and “I would pay money for something like this”. If you already have yourself as a customer, there are probably more like you out there. A content creator from College Humor once said “I create content that I would’ve wanted to watch, and if I like it, I’m sure others will enjoy it too”. If you still doubt this tip, think about that time you were working in a temp job, and quit after a few months, probably because it was hard to sell something that you don’t believe in.
Entrepreneurship is hard. It doesn’t have 1 book that you can follow. There are no answers in 1 YouTube tutorial you can watch. Even if you ask other entrepreneurs, they might not give you an answer because every business is different. It’s a long way and you will learn skills you never even knew you needed. When I started my journey, I knew nothing about running a company. Luckily, my friends in the industry told me “don’t panic, you’ll learn on the go.” and that’s exactly what I did. As I was having business meetings, I learned what they expect me to say, what they want me to show, and where my business is lacking some attention. Don’t be afraid to start when you have no idea what to do. If you are dedicated enough, you will learn on the go.
Photos were taken from different places around the internet. Mainly google search. If you feel like we should replace them lmk.