Starting up a new business is hard to do and even more difficult to be a successful new business. Why is it that many people starting of? What makes the difference between a Winner and a Laggard?
Oké, one logic explanation to start is that I got fired and nobody wants to hire me and the only thing I can (not wanted to) do is put a sign in my front yard with my name and twitter account on it hoping for the best. I know I’m good (or at least I was good) but the problem is that nobody knows it, or even worse nobody needs my goodness anymore. Instead of being an entrepreneur I become a day-worker for hire. So just starting on your own doesn’t mean you are an entrepreneur?
What are the key characteristics of an entrepreneur? Much is well documented in the startup owner’s manual from Steve Blank and Bob Dorf.
Knowing to start with untested hypotheses. It starts with a vision of a missing job-to-be-done (something what customers need to get fulfilled but can’t find yet). Although he has clear ideas of product or service to get the job-done, the entrepreneur will start immediately checking his vision with real customers. The entrepreneur will spend more time with customers than inside his office.
Understanding the need for speed, learning and iteration. From the start you understand that the business plan will not survives the first contact with the customer. The first day, you will learn that the brutal facts in the market is different as will be the next day and you need to adjust your product, service and process to the willing customers.
Monitoring the cash-burn-rate, time (number of months cash in the bank). Understanding the key financial metric that only matter to do the job. In the time you have left, you need to find the right business model to survive. Understand (structured process for testing) what is absolutely necessary to spend time and money on to get your money machine up and running (business model hypotheses).
The motivation and courage to get into action. This is the most important internal driver for any entrepreneur to become a winner versus a laggard. Watch the nice clip of Tom Corson-Knowles explaining what I mean by that.