Top 5 things a business needs for a solid foundation
There’s plenty of debate in the world of startups and business about the ‘key components’ for success. With differing opinions all around, I’ve compiled a list here of what I consider to be the most important 5 things a business needs for a solid foundation.
My opinions are based predominantly on conversations I’ve had with successful entrepreneurs and angel investors, and books including ‘The hard thing about hard things’ by Ben Horowitz, ‘Power’ by Jeffrey Pfeffer, ‘The Startup Playbook’ by Davud S. Kidder, and ‘The lean startup’ by Eric Reis amongst others. (I highly recommend these books by the way!).
I hope these ideas can help you in some way on your journey!
1 – A complimentary team
Personally, I strongly believe that having the right team is the most important component to a successful business.
After all, a business is simply a collection of people working on a common goal. The team can make or break a startup (or a company of any size), so getting the right people on board and nurturing a good company culture is absolutely essential.
Make sure that you have all the skills you need in your core team to take your initial product/solution to market. For example, don’t start a tech company without a technical co-founder!
Tip: Choose who you work with very carefully. All too many people are good at ‘talking the talk’, so you need to look specifically for evidence of ‘walking the walk’. I would always rather choose to work with someone who is good at what they do and bad at selling themselves, rather than the other way around.
2 – An aligned vision
Almost always, companies are started to solve a problem. However, people’s opinions on the scope and size of the problem, and how big they want the company to get, can vary.
It’s very important (and very difficult) to be on the same page with your colleagues from the start, but it’s essential that you are. Make sure you understand where you want to go, and that those around you agree.
Tip: You can aim to have a small company that makes a big difference in the lives of a few people, or aim for global domination (or anything in between). What’s most important is that you and especially your core team are on the same page, and are working towards the same goal.
3 – Execution and flexibility
Execution is far more important than the idea. It’s very unlikely that your original idea will work, so your willingness to execute and keep iterating is vital.
More likely than not, you’ll have to pivot a few times to achieve product market fit. This requires hard work, but also the willingness to let go of your original idea and vision, to pivot into something that works. Far easier said than done.
Tip: Don’t get too attached to your original idea. Remember that you need customers to make money, so your priority should always be building the best solution for your customers, not building your original vision and ignoring valuable feedback.
4 – Perseverance
I briefly touched on perseverance in previous points, but it deserves a spot on this list. Hard work and perseverance are undeniably essential.
There will be slow starts, failures along the way, and you need to keep moving and trying without losing your enthusiasm. There’s a good reason as to why entrepreneurs are considered insane.
Tip: Your ability to persevere, in addition to flexibility and the right team will determine success. In everything I’ve read, grit is said to be the most important factor in success, far beyond intelligence or ‘having a good idea’.
5 – Funding and getting things done on a budget
At the end of the day, a business needs to make money to succeed. This means either turning a profit, or raising money from investors to scale.
Always raise the minimum necessary from investors, which often times means not raising at all. It’s much more important to get customers, and test your business’ viability. Luckily, in the UK there are many grants available, so I’d highly recommend having a look around.
I previously wrote an article on how to start a business on a budget, a subject I have personal experience with.
Tip: Funding is important, but it doesn’t have to come from investors. Focus on talking to potential customers, building a useful solution, and selling it directly to them.
Thank you very much for reading my article on the top 5 things a business needs for a solid foundation.
I’d love to have a conversation, so please leave a comment below or contact me directly and let me know if you agree or disagree with my points.
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