Establishing a start-up requires an entrepreneurial mindset

Some important elements of this mindset (not necessarily in order of importance) include

- understanding business framework, ie your value proposition (core competencies, brands, is it unique, etc), customers' needs (solving their problem(s)), develop set of values and statements (vision and mission), purpose, goals (SMARTER) (see other parts of this app for more details), etc

- select business structure, ie sole trader, company; trusts, etc

- understand sales funnel, ie pain points to a customer, etc

- follow-through, ie keep your promises, etc

- "burning the boats", ie no turning back, etc

- maximise networks, ie it's all about leverage in contacts, etc

- hunger for knowledge, ie get information from everywhere, etc

- understand strategic agility, ie remain flexible, open-minded, open to new opportunities; be opportunistic; resilient ( hard work and commitment), etc

- under-promising and over-deliver, ie do anything to make the sale, just make sure you deliver afterwards, etc

- understand efficiency, ie processes, systems, etc

- use creative problem-solving, ie look at alternative ways of solving challenges, etc

- know your competitor(s), ie understand their strengths and weaknesses, etc

- customer experiences, ie customer is the King or Queen; solve their needs/challenges/problems; product/service needs to be of value to them; focus on early adopters; "low-hanging" fruit; customer life-time value (cost to keep v. revenue earned, etc

- doing is better than perfect, ie try something and learn from it, etc

- understand talent is not everything, ie experience and mindset (passion, etc) are more important than talent, etc

- "draw a line in the sand", ie understand what you will, and will not, do, etc

- develop revenue forecasts, ie better to be conservative and under-estimate, etc

- understand costs, ie closely monitor costs and aim to stay under-budget, etc

- understand margins, ie business is about margins, etc

- satisfy key stakeholders' needs, ie do not try to be everything to everybody, etc

- sell out, ie losing control to outside investors, etc

- don't think you know it all, ie understand your strengths and weaknesses; select the right talent to help you; be open to feedback, etc

- have patience, ie be prepared to wait for the right deal, etc

- communicate ie make sure you are in the right mindset when communicating, eg positive, etc

- accelerated/action learning, ie learn from experience, etc

- accept position of personal life, ie personal life takes second place to business, etc

- look after your health (especially mental), ie need to look after your brain by working with it rather than against it; balanced life-style like sleep, outside activities, exercise, etc

- develop routines, ie the brain prefers routines, etc

- seek advice, ie have a coach; know your limitations, etc

- teamwork, ie a champion team will beat a team of champions; understanding the dynamics of teams, etc

- never conform, ie be an outsider; question and challenge everything, etc

- hire on cultural fit, ie this is more important than skills/talent as the latter can be taught; hire part-time; have a trial period; hire slow, fire fast, etc

- prioritise, ie learn to delegate; understand what is vital/urgent, etc

- learn from failures/mistakes, ie fail fast, fail cheap, learn fast, fix fast, adapt fast, etc

- stay lean, ie "cut everything to the bone", etc

- risk everything but your house, ie winner takes all, etc

- understand and communicate your purpose, ie understand why (why you are in business), etc

- be a giver, ie "givers" receive more back than "takers"; karma is real; look for win-wins, not win-screw, etc

- be consistent, ie in performance especially to key stakeholders, etc

- accept rejection, ie the worst someone can do is say "no", etc

- build trust with key stakeholders, ie be transparent, honest, straight, authentic, etc; remember it not what you need but what they need, etc

- protect IP, ie it is unique (design/process, etc); develop strategy(ies) to best protect IP, eg patent, trademark, contract, exclusivity agreement, etc; geographical coverage; enforceability; time period, etc

- use technology, ie know who to consult in order to get the most cost-effective, up-to-date technology, etc

- raise capital/money, ie pre-selling; crowd funding; investors, ie equity partners (once they are involved, you can lose control), Angel investors, venture capital (want 30+% ROI), IPO, family & friends, etc

- understand MOSCOW, ie M=must, S=should, C=could)

- understand fraud, ie obtain insurance protection

(source: Jock Fairweather et al, 2017)

Overview - process of "start-up"

Pre-launch Contact Wide Audience (no validation or concrete evidence)  
vertical_arrow Semi-targeted Audience Identified
Initial Validation Complete
  Focus on Validated User-groups Showing Interest  
Launch Paying Customer Continual Product/Service Refinement & Development
vertical_arrow Core Market Validated & Traction Gained
Explore Industry Growth, eg B2B, B2C, etc
vertical_arrow Hitting Different Industry & Market Places
(new, different customers)
Growth Mainstream, Wide Audience Validation  

NB Validation means prototypes developed and tested on the audience including process that involves asking questions, feedback, refining, repeating, etc

Some general estimates of time and costs for start-ups:

- start up (prove concept) can cost up to $150K and take 6 months

- growth (users want it) unlimited cost and takes 24 months

- scale (into production) and can cost $200K and take 24 months

Sometimes with start-ups, you will work with your life partner. If this is the case, here are some suggested rules for effective working with your life partner

- there was only one boss

- sit as far as possible away from each other in your work space

- don't argue in front of staff, ie solve your differences before discussing with staff

- leave your private challenges and differences at home

- commute between home and office separately

(source: George Epanminondas, 2016)


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