What’s Beyond the Glamor of Entrepreneurship?
Starting companies always come with big hopes and dreams when it's still in the idea phase. Until eventually, you hit reality, some startups don't even live up to penetrate the market, while other startups manage to bloom. Here are some of the random thoughts I learned through my entrepreneurial journey from scratch until I secured my first round of investment. I am the founder of Pets n Vets, a mobile app that serves the pet community in Egypt through our veterinary services and a built-in e-store. I had led the startup to the investment phase and then sold the technology and database later.
Find A Problem and Solve It
Starting your own company is about solving a problem, giving a real solution for a real problem to get you on the right track, whether you are focused on making money or developing society.
If you don’t have a real solution to offer to people and make their lives easier, you will probably not get very far.
Focus On What Matters
Remember that joining incubators, accelerators or even getting your venture capital fund is just a tool to expand and not your main aim. If you really need to get funded, then venture capitals will need you to prove you are worthy.
Only numbers prove how unique you are. Hundreds have your passion, numbers will make the difference between the good and the wannabe. Expand as much as you can on your profits which is going to drastically enhance your valuation and chances to get funded.
Get a Co-Founder
You can make it alone for sure, but so few got big on solo. Having a co-founder boosts your opportunity big time. Don’t worry about the stake, having 1% of a billion-dollar company is better than having 100% of nothing.
Just get someone who completes you, any company needs at least two, someone to make a product/service and someone to sell it. Steve Wozniak made Apple and Steve Jobs was the one who sold it. Seek the co-founder who you can count on his efforts and eagerness.
Get a Mentor
Get more than one mentor who can support you in different sectors through your journey. For example, if you are making an app for stock trading, you will need someone to mentor your business as a whole, an expert in stock trading, an expert with tech startups, app development and user experience, and so on.
They at some point will turn into friends or even your investors, you will need them regardless of your expertise in the field.
Be a Data-Driven Entrepreneur
It's all about sales/numbers and numbers don’t lie. You need to fill out the financial sheets from day one even if you don't believe they are necessary. You also must save full financial history for the startup, it will help when you prepare for investment. even if they are simple in and out rows on a small paper.
Ask your mentors about whether these numbers are ready for investment or not yet. If you're not ready then you're not. Don't cheat on numbers, don't work around it, rather find a way to really enhance them.
Be Ready to Get Rejected
It doesn't reflect your personal skill or your startup’s potential. It only tells that you are not the perfect fit for this program at that time. Maybe your industry is not an interest to them, maybe your numbers are not up to their criteria, maybe you didn’t throw a great pitch or it could be for many other reasons.
All are professional, not personal reasons, you will be rejected a lot and it actually helps you to grow.
Answer the Main Obvious Questions
This includes questions about your business model and your value proposition. You need to validate it with your mentors and on real customers, and validate it on a small scale. If it works, then you can take it from there. If it didn't work out, then you are not ready for the next move.
Don't be stubborn, you will need to pivot frequently. If you don’t need to pivot or even a little shift, then you are doing it wrong. You are not supposed to get it right from the first try, make sure to pivot every 1-3 months, no more and no less.
You need to read articles and books, not just to educate yourself but also to get inspired and stay motivated along the way.
And remember that the reading will be worthless if you don’t apply what you read.
Take Care of Your Wellbeing
It will be a stressful journey, so enjoy the journey and don’t let it consume your soul. The journey is the best part of it all, at some point might -and I hope you never- need to hop off the boat, don’t hesitate much as long as you know you have given it 100% of your effort.
What are other tips that helped you along the way? Please do share them with us.