Startups Creating Their Own Markets
For both the nation and innovation economy, the explosion of online entrepreneurs has been a driving force. But seasoned entrepreneurs or investors know that if you have a good idea for a business it’s very likely that 100 other people have the sameidea.
If you have a great idea 1,000 other smart people are probably working on the same idea too. Lower cost office space (coworking, innovation center, etc.), cloud hosted everything, WYSIWYG tools and rapid prototyping applications, easy access to global networks of potential users and customers all make it a lot easier and cheaper to get a product concept to market today than it has ever been.
The seed phase remains the Achilles heel of the startup scene. This makes it even more notable when new initiatives are in the works which support cool ideas at their early stages. Exciting Commerce has already reported on Seedmatch (“Crowdfunding: Why Seedmatch makes us so euphoric”) and the HackFwd program (“HackFwd: Lars Hinrichs and the Financing Model of the Future”).
For a good year now, the Telefonica concern has been putting efforts into web/tech startups and has been systematically building Wayra Academies everywhere between South America and Europe.
Last week, Telefonica gathered a couple dozen influential personalities from the German-speaking entrepreneurial scene together in London. Goal: to impress upon them the virtues of Telefonica’s accelerator program which is launching now in Germany and plans to open up an office in Munich in September (German link):
The key to entrepreneurship is not having the best idea, it’s execution. One start up has been founded by a marketing professional with ten years experience in a major consumer technology company, another by a tech whiz with a newly minted Masters from MIT, and a third by a born saleswoman who already built a small network of beta testers for her nascent product.
But each continue to struggle to reach the critical mass or momentum required to break away from the pack because they are often working alone. Once the CEO hat goes on, it’s hard to take it off, especially willingly. Yet many an entrepreneur would do their fledgling company and their wallet good if they pooled resources with another entrepreneur – money, talent, and especially time – rather than seeing another startup operating in the same space as competitive.
Over at the Startup Professional has insight into some of the pitfalls of startups:
Some people are not cut out to be entrepreneurs. This is a good thing, or the business world would be chaos, with everyone trying to do their own thing. So what about you? How do you know if you should be running your own company, or concentrating on that queue of work that someone else has built for you?
I’ve hit this before, but I still hear from too many unhappy entrepreneurs. Now is the time to put aside your fantasies, and take a hard look at who you really are, before you commit to the entrepreneurial lifestyle. If you recognize yourself in many of these quotes, you WILL NOT be happy in that lifestyle:
“I like my life structured with clear decisions.” Entrepreneurs do not function well in traditional organizations and do not like being in the conventional management hierarchy. Most believe they can do the job better than anyone else and will strive for maximum responsibility and accountability.
“Handling problems causes me stress and pressure.” To an entrepreneur, stress is part of the job, and they are re-invigorated rather than discouraged by setbacks. They may actually be less comfortable when things are going well, and are not troubled by ambiguity and uncertainty because they are used to solving problems.
“My job is fun when everyone knows and does their job.” The best entrepreneurs relish the challenge of an undefined role, and enjoy the learning process as much as success. It’s even better when they can inspire and energize others to do things that have never been done before.
“I like to put my mistakes behind me and never think about them again.” Entrepreneurs accept things as they are and deal with them accordingly. They are quick to learn from their failures. They may or may not be idealistic, but they are seldom unrealistic. They want to know the status of a given situation at all times.
“Balance and family are everything in my life.” Entrepreneurs devote the largest share of their time to the business. During tough business periods, they will give their entire focus to business operations, and may essentially stay on the job for days. Even at home or at social events, the business is always top of mind.
“It didn’t get done today, but there’s always tomorrow.” Entrepreneurs have a great sense of urgency to develop their ideas now. Inactivity makes them impatient, tense, and uneasy. They have drive and high energy levels, they are achievement-oriented, and they are tireless in the pursuit of their goals.
“That’s not my job.” Successful entrepreneurs love to tackle complex situations that span the spectrum from planning, making strategic decisions, and working on multiple operational crises simultaneously. They are futuristic and aware of important implications, and they will continuously review alternatives to achieve their business objectives.
“I love to get awards for my efforts.” Entrepreneurs find satisfaction in the trappings of success from external sources, like the media and peer organizations. They like the business they have built to be praised, but they are often embarrassed by praise directed at them personally.
“I get frustrated when things don’t work.” Entrepreneurs have a “never, never, never quit” attitude. They are self-confident when they know what they’re doing and in control. Most are at their best in the face of adversity, since they thrive on their own self-confidence.
“Risk and uncertainty cause me to lose too much sleep.” Some of the best entrepreneurs talk about the highs they get from taking a big risk, and the euphoria they feel when they beat the odds. They live for these feelings.
Pooling technical resources can deliver a product with a more complete feature-set because of the different perspectives brought to the design and development process by team members with a slightly different but equally valid view point. Pooling capital can mean delivering a more complete product, or if minimal viable product (MVP) is attainable without additional capital then money can be focused on capturing beta testers and/or early users.
Pooling talent increases your chances of attracting outside investors and shows with action that all team members are professionals dedicated to making the company successful rather than being CEO of their own startup. And pooling time means that by dividing up critical tasks and responsibilities more gets done faster and with less effort because team members can focus what time they have on doing what they do best.
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