‘One plus one equals more’ – makes no sense in pure mathematical terms, but in the case of this start up story, it’s perfectly logical…
What entrepreneurs should know before starting any business and the lessons that I have learnt from my personal journey in starting Growth Op…
The first lesson would be to build a support network as you start and progress with your idea; this really resonated with me when I read the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz.
The book unpacks entrepreneurship in the new age and illustrates that the network is just as important as the idea especially in a world that is constantly bombarded with ideas and individuals starting there entrepreneurial journeys.
It goes without saying that support starts at home with your family, friends and people who relate to your idea but most crucial is to surround yourself with young like-minded individuals who share similar experiences and passions.
Once you start to open up and share ideas, the amount of interest and support you draw back to your idea is endless.
I think this is one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face when they have ideas, they are so scared to share it with other people because they want to protect it and nurture it but nothing in this world was ever built alone and no wealth is created by just one person.
It is important to share your passions, people are drawn to the real raw excitement in you, and they can see that you are someone that is worth investing in, because it’s not just about the idea, it’s about the driving force behind it and making the idea a reality.
Commit, dedicate and believe in yourself
People who are much further along in business want to share their wisdom and their network with individuals who will pick up the baton and keep paying it forward.
It is important to get yourself some mentors, I say some on purpose because it is vital to get a fresh perspective from more than one person, as a young entrepreneur, this is invaluable to have this kind of experiential wisdom and support behind you is invaluable and will help make consulting your mentors when you are unsure to help clarify things and point yourself in the right direction much easier.
There are no short cuts if you want to get to the top!
If you want to see the destiny of your idea, you have to possess courageous commitment and have the facts to support you because investors will become hesitant when there is no evidence to support your idea.
It’s all good and well to have an idea and the passion for it but it can only take you so far and investors won’t stake their reputation and name on something that is not full proof. It is imperative that you have ‘proof of concept’ in moving forward, but this can become a hurdle for most young entrepreneurs because often, as a student, you have money constraints, the idea is still in the early stage of development, so how do you take it from the the ‘concept idea’ to something tangible?
If you have a good business case you could probably pitch it to some investors but you haven’t done a pilot or prototype. How do you get that first one going?
In the words of Vincent Van Gogh, ‘Great things are done by a series of small things brought together’. The trick to overcoming this hurdle would be to start small… as small as you possibly can. Whether it is making one prototype to prove the basic concept or doing a minor run of the product to get market feedback before approaching key stakeholders to prove the concept works, a start is a start.
This one prototype doesn’t have to be the final product but the purpose of this is to test the functionality and offering of the product in principle to build the factual proof then and only then can you expand. Once you have this, you can start approaching investors to test the ‘proof of concept’ on a much larger scale through extensive market research.
Enable and empower yourself
There are incredible platforms out there that enable and empower young entrepreneurs in creating pilot projects at a very low cost and this is why you need a solid support network.
I think that people are starting to realise the role that entrepreneurships will play in making a valuable difference to the social and economic fabric of South Africa.
The support for young entrepreneurs is growing rapidly; there are organisations all over the country that have a vested interest in these individuals, I think it’s important that we start to look past our circumstances to determine the outcome of our lives.
There is no excuse left in the book for not pursuing your ideas and passions, there are resources and finance available to individuals who have the courage and dedication to do the necessary work to prove genuinely worthy of the support.