I was working with friends to build three different startups in Asia. We believed we were creating a "new Silicon Valley" in Bangkok, Thailand. I didn't question why we started our companies, because I thought that one business plan was as likely to succeed as another. Or, more likely, fail.
I was working hard, but I thought that success would largely be based on luck. I came to realize that this view of startup business made me a risk-taker.
There is a process to starting a business that reduces risk.
If you don't follow a process at the outset, you're almost assured of failing.
- 80% of startups fail in the first two years.
- And half of the businesses that survive the first two years will fail in the next three.
But if you take time at the start to tick key boxes, you will give yourself the best chance to achieve all of your goals and dreams.
Here are the 3 fundamental questions you need to answer at the start:
#1. What problem are you solving?
If there is a real need that your product or service fills, then you can be sure you will find customers.
- The problem you're solving doesn't need to be a new one
- Think about why this problem is more important than all the other problems that also need solving
- Confirm that it's a widespread problem, that many people experience.
#2. What do your customers say about that problem?
Find real-life examples of people talking about the problem you intend to solve.
- Join relevant Facebook groups where people are searching for solutions
- Look up reviews on Amazon or app review sites
- Build an avatar of your target customer, including the language they us to
#3. Why are you the best person to solve that problem?
This is where you need to connect your passion to what you're planning to do. What drives you.
- What is your story
- How did you come to care about this problem more than anything else
- What is the experience and expertise you bring with your solution
If you can't connect your passion to your startup plan, then start again. Find another problem that is related and go through this exercise again.
Business success isn't based on luck, as I thought at the beginning of my career. There are steps you can take, a process you can follow to ensure you build a business based on a solid platform.
Becoming an entrepreneur can be the most rewarding path you can follow - with the right first steps!