When working with start-ups, or building our own start-ups, we in Gture have always wondered what we should keep in mind and what rules to live by when creating new business. With many years of experience in building business, both in large corporates and with small start-ups, we try to warn our brave dreamers when they come to us with great ideas which needs to be realised through a team of skilful doers. We call it “Advice to the Brave” and its summarized in the five statements below:
- Big dreams are often vague and may fade into something irrelevant fast – iterate and change – but don’t stop dreaming big – your dream and investors want it and needs it!
- Timing is the most important factor for success – hence you need to be able to stay alive for many years to hit the right slot!
- Things take time – double of what you expect – never forget this when planning!
- You will probably run out of money – stay cost focused and modest in everything you do!
- Seek advice – learn from others – pay others forward and you will get help when you most need it!
Modify, improve and never give up
When connecting dreamers with doers we seek to break the dream into doable parts which can be understood and challenged. Someone calls this the Concept phase of innovation, where problems are identified in the dream and formalized into a concrete problem statement. Do not believe that no one has had the same dream and thought of the same problem as you. You need to connect to players which will help you in tracing what has gone right or wrong in other similar projects in other places of the world. We know since we have built both a delivery network but also an innovation network. Venture investors needs to see that your dream is relevant for as many as possible since they by nature are investing into many small start-ups which will fail – hoping for one or two of these dreams to become true! Be not afraid to test your dream on investors. You learn a lot every time you are turned down. You will not be discarded later – investors will always invest into good ideas – even when they have heard something similar before – they respect brave entrepreneurs who modify, improve and never give up!
Research has shown that timing is the most important factor when understanding why an idea or a startup succeeded. But you never know when the timing is right. You believe you do, but statistics show ruthlessly that this is nonsense. Hence the only way is to stay alive for as long as possible and try harder every time. The point is to test the time window as cost-effective as possible, modify, and try again. Easy? No! That’s why you need to test your idea rapidly and as cheap as possible into the real market with real users. Hence user testing and real market experience is key!
Things take time
Time is your enemy – both in terms of detecting the right time slot, but also when it concerns execution. If you think you will grow at high speed – prepare for the worst. User adoption is slow and contracts hard to sign so when talking to investors or supporters in any way, be realistic and modest in how you see user or revenue take up. Investors love realistic dreamers – brave entrepreneurs who show that they have failed before and learned from it!
You will probably run out of money
Time also hits your investment platform. You should secure an appropriate investment platform before heading out on your adventure. Not easy but important. But you will likely run out of money, hence showing cost consciousness and modesty in everything you do is extremely important. You should always try to seek for the most efficient solution when it concerns cost and competence. It goes for employees, developers or office space – it’s better to have a frugal image than a big spender reputation! Investors hate to see their money being used on matters that are not strictly creating value for the company.
Seek advice – learn from others
Do not believe that you have the answer to every question in your field of interest. It’s fair to have a dream without knowing how to realize it – yet! Seek competence in other markets and in other networks. Gture works through a global network of developers and investors, and we know that there are tremendous amount of smart people out there wanting to help you succeed. Use it! And when you get help – remember to help others – even when you do not have the time! Because the world is a small place and Norway even smaller in a tiny startup eco system which really needs to grow with the help you – the brave dreamer!