There are countless people who have what they think is a groundbreaking idea, and that this one idea is going to lift them to face new challenges with bigger rewards. These same people constantly lambast their supposed ‘dead end’ jobs, yet they find it difficult to get their ideas off the ground.
Commitment is often the issue, where hopeful entrepreneurs find it difficult to abandon the safe career paths to start a completely new business from the ground up.
After finishing years of education, the natural path for Australians is to find a job. A job that provides financial security which allows you to purchase a home, get married and to raise a family.
As time ticks, responsibilities and added burdens grow within a blink of an eye and it becomes increasingly difficult to abandon the career that you have built to pursue a business that more than often requires months and months of working without pay and often without a clear end goal in sight.
A compromise is sometimes met, where the entrepreneur would work half heartedly on their project and hope that it would succeed before committing to the project entirely.
Startups generally require a high level of commitment, and save for those exceptional ideas, most startups require a founder to make very significant sacrifices. A lot of people have great business concepts, and sometimes, these ideas are feasible and well thought out.
So for those people with these great ideas, why not just work on them part time, and wait till there is a certain level of traction?
There are two reasons. Firstly, commitment means you have more time to work on the project, and sole focus on a project allows you to create a better business.
Secondly, commitment provides confidence to all stakeholders in the business, whether that’s a client, a customer, a potential partner or an investor. A person who is willing to give up their livelihood to work on a startup is likely to show a strong belief in their own product. In fact, most startup incubators and investment firms will not consider any businesses where the founder is not working full time on the project.
Startups are difficult, they are a minefield of risks and their dangerously high chance of failure is endlessly well documented. It is inherently difficult for people to act on their ultimate desire of starting their own business.
To tip the balance towards committing entirely to starting the venture, confidence in the product and business concept is the key. To develop more confidence always think about the numbers, because ultimately you must be able to create a source of income from the venture.
What is your revenue model? Will you be able to make enough money on that model? How will you acquire your users? How much will that cost?
Always use reasonable assumptions in your forecasting, and take the opportunity to see what the worst case scenario is. Furthermore, understand fully what your worst case scenario is. Numbers always help to create confidence in your product, and it is that confidence that allows you to become more willing to commit to making the startup work.
Secondly, always ask for feedback. But only ask those people who you are willing to take advice from. Make a list of people who you think will give you good feedback and pitch your idea to them, asking them to be honest. When an idea is ripped and torn apart, and yet the hypotheses about each of the assumptions still hold, the confidence in the business is likely to be higher.
The final piece of advice is a simple one, but one that is often forgotten.
Make sure you will be better off in starting the new business than what you would be otherwise. Consider things such as happiness, impact on your family and what impact you will have in pursuing the new project. All worthwhile considerations which need to be thought out.
Startups are interesting, ambitious and hugely rewarding ventures. But to succeed it’s essential to be prepared and confident in each phase of any project.
Ying Wang is a Melbourne based co-founder of Venuemob, a new service that helps recommend venues for events. The company works with a variety of birthday party venues, corporate function venues and a host of the best bars, restaurants and function spaces in Australia. Previously, Ying started Crowdmass.com.au, a group buying website that was sold to Groupon in 2011.