Start a new business today!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By Julie Wiegan

According to Cynthia Kocialski, founder of three companies and author of Startup from the Ground Up, you can start your own business, even in this economy. Here are some tips if you’re considering launching or financing a start-up company:

It’s Not About the Product
Start-ups are not about the technology or product. The product is the heart of the company, but the product no more makes a company than a heart makes a human being. There are many components to a company that all have to work together harmoniously in order to achieve a success outcome.

Don’t Be Afraid to Discover
The early stage start-up process is a discovery process, not a step-by-step execution process. Many first-time entrepreneurs believe you come up with a great product idea, then they come up with a detailed business plan, and finally they hire the people to execute the steps in the plan. Discovery is simply a starting point from which the product and business with evolve, iterate, and be refined as the concept meets the customers, the market, and the investors.

Retool and Revise
The first product idea is never the final product that makes the company famous. In reality, the worst work you will ever do is the first work you do. Press forward past the first iteration, and make use of the lessons you learn along the way.

Build Your Team
You need a team, but not just any team. You need the right team for that stage of a company’s life. You wouldn’t hire a college professor to teach kindergarten. For that, you need to find early elementary teachers. Ditto for start-ups. Find the right people for the right job, as well as the right attitude and stage of their careers to make them a match for working with a start-up.

Think Like an Investor
Investors know and accept that investing in a start-up is a very high-risk proposition. If investors wanted a moderate return, they’d invest in publicly traded bellwether companies like IBM and Coca-Cola. What entrepreneurs don’t get is that, to an investor, the company itself is THEIR product. Entrepreneurs need to understand the investor’s perspective. Entrepreneurs engage in the deliberate creation of their end-user product, but what they also need to do is engage in the deliberate creation of the company. Investors buy into companies, not end-user products. For an investor, the best case scenario is a tested, proven business with a market that is poised to expand and grow rapidly.

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