As custom software developers, we get a lot of inquiries from individuals looking to start new businesses as well as established businesses looking to branch out and explore their potential in other areas. When we get inquiries from potential clients sometimes contacting us is their first step towards exploring a new business concept- before they have evaluated the viability of their ideas or secured funding. As an honoured part of these initial steps taken by entrepreneurs we thought it would be prudent to put together a guide and resource list to help people through the process. As the first post in the series we will be discussing some general guidelines to approaching a new business.
Getting Into The Right Mindset
Stay Open Minded
Not all businesses start with a good idea. Many have started with a bad or another good concept that either improved through trial and error or led them to an entirely different idea. The mammoth franchise Starbucks did not begin with the idea of a coffee house, they started as a coffee retailer selling high quality coffee beans rather than drinks. It wasn't until Starbucks' employee Howard Schultz had an epiphany while visiting Italy that the coffee company began selling beverages. Your end point with an idea may end up being entirely different than where you started. While it is impossible to predict exactly what your business idea may ultimately become, you can better position yourself for success by staying open minded, taking criticism constructively, and listening to the opinions of others that may add value to your ideas.
Think Big, But Not Too Big
Many entrepreneurs, particularly within the tech sector, are focused on a billion dollar business idea. Yes there are a handful of tech startups that have achieved billion dollar valuations faster than any other time in history, but you don't have to become a household name to be successful. Indeed you may be happier running a small to mid-sized business than a public company, and you may even make more money owning more of a smaller sized business than having diluted shares in a large one.
Take The Lean Approach
Running a Lean Startup essentially means launching a product as quickly as possible and spending as little money as necessary to do so. This approach is not just popular among startups, but also large businesses launching a new product or exploring a different direction. Many of our clients refer to this first version of a product as a pilot, though it is more commonly termed a Minimum Viable Product or MVP. The central concept of this approach is to get the product into the hands of the users faster so that problem areas and feedback can be obtained sooner. The result is that less money is spent on planning and development and less time is wasted on developing a product in the wrong direction, and if the initial concept is going to fail it will at least fail quickly. This mentality is particularly useful for those with financial and time restraints.
Many people are so afraid of their ideas being stolen that they guard their ideas and prevent themselves from gaining valuable feedback and support. While you don't need to announce your ideas to your competitors, opening them up to the potential mentors and colleagues can allow for great brainstorming sessions. As Edison once said 'Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration.' Even if someone does get some inspiration from your idea they likely won't execute it the same way as you, if at all.
Even if you are an established business who is simply launching a new product, automating business processes, or expanding implementing the mindset of a startup can help you save time, money, and get valuable feedback and insights.
We wish you the best with your new venture,
The Gravit-e Team