This week was Pesach, and cheesy or not , I felt a Pesach theme for this month's post is greatly needed. As the Haggadah says, the Torah speaks of four sons. What if these sons were four entrepreneurs, trying to make it in the startup nation?
The Wise One- The wise entrepreneur has a killer idea that’s better, cheaper, and faster. They've researched what’s next in tech, went out and met people, asked them questions, and got advice from other entrepreneurs. They have done an over-the-top market research and know who their competitors are and what consumers are missing. When they push out a product they receive feedback and then adapt and improve before pushing out the next product. They got all the official stuff out of the way- like consulting with a lawyer, registering the business, opening a bank account, taking care of copyrights and patents. They have a clear, written business plan with things like marketing strategies and financial reports. They started by funding themselves, and joined an accelerator.
They aren’t afraid of hearing “no”, they aren’t afraid to change the industry, and they are ready to make their startup their priority. Lets all try to be a wise entrepreneur.
Evil one- Why does an evil entrepreneur open a startup? You want to make a lot of money, starting a business solely to get rich. Perhaps you just want to be in charge, gain social status etc’, ignoring the whole point of a startup which is to solve a problem, not add “CEO” to your LinkedIn page. You might help a friend out with his business, only to steal their clients . Or lie to investors, promising (fake) progress while asking for more money. These days, where “social impact” and “sustainability values” are all us millennials can talk about, it seems that any company ignoring the larger purpose is out. The Silver Lining- It’s still important to stick to a profit-driven business. Entrepreneurship is really hard. Complicating it with other issues raises the risk to fail. Also, determination is key. If money is your motivation to keep on working day & night, take it.
The Naive one- This entrepreneur has a sense of optimism and enthusiasm that he or she can be the next Mark Zuckerberg. LOL. The inspirational stories we hear about nobodies turning to somebodies have dominated the media over a long time now and entrepreneurs are dying to become the next somebody. These entrepreneurs can easily lose track of what truly is needed to be focused on rather than just the idea, to create a successful business. They come up with an idea and believe they have it all worked out- nobody has thought of this before, it doesn’t exist, and everybody will LOVE it. Yeah well, probably not.
The Silver Lining- In the startup world, sometimes not being naive enough is the problem. People that are too experienced already know the statistics (8 out of 10 startups fail), and stop themselves from creating crazy and creative ideas. You are naive because you don’t know what you don’t know- and sometimes that's exactly what entrepreneurs need.
The One That Doesn’t Know How To Ask- Oy Vey. This entrepreneur probably asked himself these kinds of questions- “Should I start a business?” and “Do I have a good idea?” But neglected asking the real, more specific, important questions like:
Will anyone pay for this?
What is the real market size?
Who are my market competitors?
Do I currently have other obligations that will prevent me from giving the business 100 %?
“What is the maximum amount of money I am willing to risk?”
Can I make my product better or different from my competitors?
At this stage in the game, it’s all about asking yourself the right questions. Asking yourself which color your business card should be, for example, is not a good question. DUH. Instead, you want to ask yourself questions that will help you on your purpose on a day-to-day basis, and the answers will lead you to greater productivity and quicker cash flow. And without cash flow, you don’t have a business- it’s just a cool hobby. Sorry!