In late 2007, Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were without a job and struggling to pay rent. Out of sheer luck, they noticed that all the San Francisco hotels were booked, and many attending the local Industrial Design Conference were left with no place to stay.
Brian and Joe saw this as an opportunity and decided to rent out airbeds in their apartment to the attendees. And the rest, as we know, is history.
According to Bloomberg, Airbnb has a market value of over $100 billion as of January 2021. It was not bad for two guys who started renting airbeds to pay rent.
It is the power of entrepreneurship and just one among many success stories that continue to inspire people worldwide.
If you’re still sitting on the sidelines debating whether you should take the plunge, outlined below is a 6 step process that will help you kickstart your entrepreneurial journey.
It all starts with an Idea:
At its core, a business exists to solve specific customer problems. And you have a viable business when customers are willing to pay you a fair price for that solution.
You could use a couple of strategies to come up with business ideas. For instance, you could take an existing idea and build upon it. That’s what Facebook did. There were Myspace and Orkut before it. They just latched onto the existing idea of a social network and designed a new platform with novel features, thus carving a space for themselves in a frequently evolving market.
An even better approach would be to look at the problems you encounter in your day to day life. Now, if there are scores of people just like you annoyed with the same problem and you’ve got the perfect solution for it, that’s your cue.
Always Evaluate your Idea
Before you go all in, you need to consider several factors to ascertain if your idea is indeed an opportunity worth pursuing. Among them, market size, competitors and customer willingness to pay are the key factors you need to look at while evaluating your idea.
Say you come up with an incredible idea for a food truck that serves Italian cuisine. First, you’d want to consider if the customers in that market are excited about Italian cuisine. Are there any other food trucks serving something similar, and if yes, how would your product be superior? Another vital point to consider is how much are customers willing to pay for your products.
Finding answers to these questions early on is imperative to determine your next steps. You rather focus your resources on a profitable business opportunity instead of moving forward with a brilliant idea that doesn’t have an attractive market to make it worth your time and investment.
Create a business plan
Always remember it’s not about you; it’s about them – the customers. To understand who they are, what they like, what motivates them, what inspires them, what they care about, and where they spend their time.
Your goal is to know your customers better than they know themselves. This will ultimately help you gain a deeper understanding of your target customer and influence every business decision you make, from branding, product positioning, tone of voice to selecting your sales and distribution channels.
Did you know that one of the primary reasons why businesses close early? It’s because they run out of capital to manage their operational expenses. Depending on your business, you’d either need to generate a minimum revenue amount to cover your day to day operations or have enough working capital in your bank to survive the first 6-12 months.
Get your business off the Ground
This is probably the most exciting phase because your idea, which was just an abstract thought, is now tangible, something you can see, experience and interact with.
If you have a physical product, build a prototype, ask for feedback and fine-tune your idea until you are confident it’s market-ready. If you have a digital product or a service, set up an online web presence and see if you can find early adopters to test your product.
Besides focusing on creating your product or service, you need to focus on other areas as well, i.e. raising capital, hiring, delegating work, negotiating with vendors, sourcing materials, registering your business, and payment modes.
Hang in there
After you launch your business, your initial goal is survival. This is one of the most critical stages in the entrepreneurship development cycle. Some businesses take off from the word go, whereas others’ initial growth could be slow.
Do you know about the growth cycle of a Chinese bamboo tree? A Chinese bamboo tree doesn’t break through the soil for five years—no visible growth above the ground. However, once the shoot emerges from the soil, it can grow up to 90 feet tall in just five weeks.
Being an entrepreneur is no different. You may not see much visible growth, but you as a person and your business as a whole are growing. You need to do time before it shoots up for the sky.
Sustaining growth and momentum
Creative thinking in entrepreneurship is an essential skill, and the fate of your business is tied to it. Once you’ve established a strong foothold in the market, new competitors spring up who want a piece of your pie. How do you fend them?
The best way to stay ahead of your competition is through continuous innovation and positive customer experiences. These are two elements that are difficult to replicate in a short period.
Also, look at numbers to see the bigger picture. Numbers don’t lie, and they will tell you where you are, what you lack and what you need to do to get where you want to be.
Are you struggling in debt or trying to grow your business?
Wealth Dynamics is one of the most potent profiling tools you can use to bring clarity and direction to your entrepreneurial journey. It’s the world’s leading profiling tool for Entrepreneurs, based on a long history of tradition and scientific research, comes from a 5,000-year-old Chinese system of thinking called the I-Ching.
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Ultimately, entrepreneurship is the best hands-on training you’ll ever receive. So give it your best. And remember the words of the legendary Zig Ziglar, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”