|Posted by Karan Kashyap on January 9, 2012 at 12:55 AM|
When trying to decide whether or not to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, people have an endless number of questions. Whether it’s your first shot at being in business for yourself or you’ve done it before, some questions are sure to continue popping up. Below are some of the most common questions we hear, with some ideas about how to answer them. This article won’t answer all your questions, but it will get you off to a great start!
How will I know if my business idea is a good one?
Speaking with potential customers before you go forward with building on your startup is important. By speaking with these people, you will either have your assumptions validated, or you’ll learn that they were all wrong. Either way, you’re gaining some valuable insight. Although it can be difficult to hear criticism at times, learning from criticism can save you a whole lot of time and heartache. Certainly don’t fool yourself by assuming that the source of the criticism is crazy and you’re doing everything correctly. Be realistic and face the truth gracefully.
How do I fund my startup?
If at all possible, you don’t. Bootstrapping is always our preferred startup method. One good idea is to start out by doing some consulting services for customers, which tends to have almost no overhead. By doing this, you’re not only supporting yourself, but you’re also remaining in contact with the customers and are learning which problems they have. Then you can develop a product or service based on a clear understanding of what your customers’ wants and needs are, rather than on your assumptions.
In the next five years, which industries have the biggest growth potential?
Look around. What big problems do you see? By looking for problems, you’re also looking into the biggest opportunities. Poverty, homelessness, energy crisis, water crisis, etc. All of these are huge problems. You could address some of these problems with your new company. Another place to look for problems is within big companies. In every industry, there are giants, and it’s inevitable that within these giants of industry, there are places where they are weak. You can look for these holes and create an expertise related to them. For example, although Google is obviously the largest search provider, it’s not the only one, because others have seen where they are lacking and created companies around the needs that are not being met by Google.
How can I possibly overcome my fear of failure?
This often comes down to the importance of having a clear vision. Your vision helps overcome fear because it allows you to picture your business as successful and focus on that picture. You also need to find some sort of philosophy to draw inspiration from. Whether you get your inspiration from a book, partner, or mentor, the important point is that you’re gaining inspiration. It’s becoming increasingly popular for entrepreneurs to use other business leaders as their sources of inspiration. Look around – there’s something out there for you.
Where can I find mentors?
Take a close look at the people who you’re surrounded by every day. Who has your respect and truly believes in you? Do they respect your work? Someone like this has a terrific potential for becoming a good mentor for you. This type of relationship is a very personal one, so it’s important that you have good chemistry with one another, and not only common business interests and goals. You can expect to invest a lot of time and emotional energy with your mentor. If you can find someone who will allow you to do a little bit of work for them, it can provide a setting in which they can coach you. In a sense, you are working for each other in this way.
So, what about all the other questions you have? Take the time to seek out people who will not only answer your questions, but also provide you with examples of their own experiences. The more knowledge you can gain ahead of time, the higher your chances for success.