Surviving 12 Months as an Entrepreneur!
Month 1: Great ideas are many, but it’s the execution that counts.
That eureka moment has subsided and over time that great idea hasn’t faded away. You make the leap and decide you are going to turn your idea into a multi-million dollar start-up and won’t be one saying “I thought of that”. Quickly you realise your actions over the next 12 months will determine if you truly have what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. You dread the thought of having to return to the daily penguin march.
In making this leap, I wished I really could have made a dollar for every time I heard “great ideas are many, but it’s the execution that counts” as I wouldn’t be writing this article now. Annoying as this statement is to hear, it prompted me to make the conscious decision to resist diving in head first. I quelled my excitement, stopped thinking about how ‘cool’ my brand and product was going to be and instead concentrated on the business of getting the business off the ground.
While searching the web for information about starting a business, I come across www.business.gov.au. This site is a great source of free business information with templates covering all aspects of starting a business. Three weeks of market research and a quarter of a business plan later, I was starting to lose all focus and my motivation had greatly diminished.
During the research period, I subscribed to various start-up and small business websites. Through these websites, I heard about an incubator in Sydney called Fishburners. Fishburners is a collaborative space for tech start-ups and I decided to drop in one Friday afternoon. My motivation was about to return.
Coincidentally, Jonathan Barouch from Fastflowers and Romaz was giving a presentation regarding his story as a successful entrepreneur. At its conclusion I was reinvigorated to continue on my journey. I walked out realising I am not alone, that it is difficult to be an entrepreneur and these feelings are normal.
Inspired I decided to address some of the problems with my business plan. I had noted in the SWOT analysis that my greatest weakness was myself. I have an MBA and come from a business development and production background in the FMCG industry but what I lack is the technological and coding skills to get a tech start-up off the ground, let alone create the actual product.
Immersing myself in the Sydney start-up scene over the next few weeks, I realised this was a common problem in many start-ups. Start-up founders often lack the industry knowledge, technical skills or business acumen to see their idea come to fruition.
During this time I meet Ryan Wardell from Project Power Up who was organising a co-founder speed dating event. The penny dropped at this meeting as I realised I was searching for a technical co-founder and I might find them while speed dating.
The speed dating was interesting to say the least. A roomful of 20 IT geeks is not my idea of a social encounter. After the first few awkward introductions, next was Taras Dikaw who laughed as I told him the idea. The reason he laughed was he had done something similar in another industry a few years back.
In five minutes I realised I had meet my business “soul” mate. Taras has a skill set which complements mine, he is a gifted programmer and has IT project management experience. More importantly we are strongly aligned in terms of values, principles and character.
A co-founder was the missing ingredient in my business plan. Bringing a technical co-founder on board turned a weakness into a strength. There are few individuals who have the skill set, experience, drive, perspective, finance and time to get a start-up off the ground by themselves. Additionally a co-founder keeps you honest and accountable.
So over the last 30 days it appears all I have learnt is what everyone tells you for free; it’s ridiculously hard to be an entrepreneur, don’t rush in, seek advice and do your research.
- As an entrepreneur you aren’t alone, so immerse yourself in your local start-up scene.
- There is a lot of free information and resources on the web to help you start a business.
- Investigate partnering with a co-founder and look beyond the obvious family, friends and work colleagues.
Follow the trials and tribulations of these young entrepreneur every month. Discover their ‘great idea’ and business name next month as they discuss our business plan, market research and strategy.
Shared Work Spaces for Start-ups
Melbourne – York Butter Factory
Sydney – Fishburners
Queensland – River City Labs
Tasmania – Startup Tasmania HQ
Perth – Spacecubed
Start-Up Social Scene
James Marin is the cofounder of goParcel. The businessl is a simple and convenient website to book and pay for local parcel deliveries 24/7.The goParcel courier network is based around a mobile application (app) and the GPS technology found in smart phones.