Starting your own company can be one of the most exhilarating but gargantuan tasks you can do in the modern age, but one thing that attracts so many entrepreneurs to the prospect is its accessibility. It feels like anybody can launch a start-up and, to a certain extent, they can – there are no strict entry requirements – but just jumping into it is not the best idea.
You’ve probably heard the statistic that nine out of ten tech start-ups fail. That’s an incredibly low rate of success and, no matter how you structure your business or pivot your idea, you will still be fighting an uphill battle to survive. It’s therefore imperative that before you act on your idea at all, you have thought things through properly.
If you don’t have a specific idea but love the prospect of starting up and think you’d be good at it, use this time of indecisiveness to read-up. There are loads of challenges involved in a start-up, and there are a tremendous variety of skills you will need. That being said, you will be able to surround yourself with great minds that will have many of those skills covered, so a good piece of advice is to get good at your passion.
That might be programming. It could be design. It could be all manner of things –use your time to indulge yourself completely in your hobby and become brilliant at it. You will want to be so good at what you do that you inspire others and can justify having the very best work alongside you.
Nowadays, it just takes hard work to become brilliant at something. The internet has such a tremendous ability to help motivated individuals to learn that you can become an expert by sitting at home and working hard every day. That level of self-directed education is pretty tough to do, so many people go to a university.
There are many benefits to university, including meeting like-minded people. Don’t think that you can drop out of college once you meet them; however, most investors don’t believe the college dropout myth (Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are definitely anomalies).
Doing a master’s is a great way of showing investors that you’re a very dedicated person, and it’s a great way to demonstrate your intelligence. It isn’t always necessary –some degrees like a business might not be the best use of time – you could work for another start-up or an investment company and absorb lessons from them while getting paid and getting actual experience.
If you specialize in other areas, further education is a great help. A computer science masters will massively help any budding programmer get to their top-level, as there will be many technicalities that are very difficult to master without having professors to field your questions and direct your learning.
Also Read: How to set Goals that Leads to Success?
Networking is an ugly word. It implies hunting out business connections and only connecting with people who have use to you. There’s so much more value you can get from people than just connections. Hunt out brilliant minds for a different reason: they will define you.
Who you spend time with will influence you in ways you can’t even imagine? If you spend time with people who like to party, chances are you’ll lose a lot of determination. If you spend time with people who are too different to you, you might feel alienated; too similar and you might not be challenging yourself.
Join a community of other founders. Find the people that you think are the most interesting, the most challenging and the most brilliant. Hopefully, they will find you interesting too; if that’s the case, get to know them well. There are many digital communities on Facebook or communities that you can get to know through apps like Meetup that can introduce you to these sorts of friendships.
If you surround yourself with brilliant people, you will start to absorb their good traits.
That means you should also look for mentor figures. People love to share their hard-won knowledge with those who aren’t threats (especially in the ego-driven world of tech business). Try to connect with entrepreneurs who have done a great job at building a great company. Chat to them, connect with them, buy them a coffee or a beer – get to know them and let them humble and inspire you. Use Twitter to follow people that encourage you and see what they’re up to and what they focus on.
The Importance of Location
If you’ve conquered the education and have assembled a great team around you, you might think location doesn’t matter too much. When you’re building a tech product, you can do it from anywhere as long as the internet is good.
Don’t fall into this trap! Motivation is so important, and the best way to stay motivated is to be in a motivating location. There are various start-up hubs worldwide, places like Berlin, Tbilisi, London, Silicon Valley, San Francisco and more. Setting up in one of these hubs come with many benefits.
You want to be in a location that attracts talent. It’ll make building a team a lot easier in the future.
You also want to be in a place that’s affordable to live in (you need to prepare yourself to be quite poor at the beginning).
You also want to be in a place where you don’t have too much competition from similar start-ups – this isn’t just to get a good Five Forces, it’s also to avoid wrestling with other companies during the recruitment process.
Also Read: Elements of Starting a New Business
Lastly, you want to be in a place with a spirit that fits your company’s values.
When you have a combination of all of those, not only will your growth be much more supported by the town you’re in, but you will have more personal growth as you become driven and motivated by the city and the people who live in it.
When you’re surrounded not only by great people, but by a great environment, things feel easier.