Ollie Benn’s article on five things that don’t make you an entrepreneur and five things that do caught my attention, so I thought I’d share them with you here to spark some ideas.
PowerPoint is just a representation of an idea. You can waste a lot of time making a beautiful presentation but doesn’t solve the real problem because you are producing an idea and nothing more.
Even with a great domain, you’re still a non-trepreneur because it involves sitting behind a desk and not interacting with anyone. You need to get out, start talking to your target audience and get the feedback in order to know if you are on the right track. Once you have users or customers and you’ve figured out what your business is all about, you can then spend a bunch of money on a fancy domain.
At some point you need to incorporate documents but you don’t need a fancy firm to do it for you. No cost/low cost resources for your incorporation documents when you need them are in abundance. Meeting with a well-connected, savvy attorney is only the first step – from my experience with reviewing over 300 business plans and pitches from a business strategy perspective and speaking with top lawyers in Philadelphia, Washington DC, and New York,, it’s what happens after the meeting that makes all the difference.
Don’t incorporate if you are not really ready. You will need to incorporate if:
(1) you get a real co-founder or employees;
(2) you get real customers;
(3) you’re creating some real IP (not just a website); or
(4) you start incurring liabilities (i.e. you have to sign real contracts (not NDAs) or you need a company bank account because money is actually flowing into the company).
Actually, you’ll know it yourself when it’s time to incorporate, and you can do it pretty quickly.
If you can’t tell people what exactly you are doing, you are a non-trepreneur. Also, “stealth thinking” should be avoided by entrepreneurs because if you share your idea with the people in your network they are more likely to help you than to steal from you or dismiss you.
Talking to customers before you have a product is advantageous because you are not trying to sell them anything. So they’ll give you honest answers and useful feedback. You will understand whether you’re solving a real problem, and whether anyone would actually pay you to use it.
An investor will cut straight to the core and identify your biggest challenges immediately. Even if you don’t have any investors in your network, you could also just try experienced business professionals. It is also important to accept your challenges or problems that the investors will point out and start figuring out a plan.
Reach out to the people who have done the similar things like started their own businesses in similar industries, or managed products in the same field. People love to talk about what they do, and if you reach out to them in a no-pressure, no-expectations kind of way, they will often open right up to you. These people will have resources and contact which will be helpful for you.
Without actually building a product, your idea is just an idea. Don’t overthink this point. Go build something that solves a problem.
Failing is an inherent part of entrepreneurship. Every time you fail, you’ve eliminated one incorrect course of action. As long as you are objective and learn from your failures, failing quickly and often is good for your startup, and more importantly, for you.
So, get out and talk to people, ask questions and listen hard. Then, you can start to figure out what to build and that’s what makes an entrepreneur.
Read more details in Kosher Bacon blog.
Are you implementing these 10 points to build your product?
Bill Ringle is a CEO, former Apple exec, published author, and angel investor. Through Grow Business Now, he offers strategies and tools to elevate growth for executives and entrepreneurs from more than 46 industries. Bill has conducted nearly 200 podcast interviews on My Quest for the Best, where industry and business leaders share their secrets to success.