Starting a company is a dream for most people. The idea of working for yourself and building true wealth is the American dream. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t let this dream come to pass for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s a situational occurrence that deters you and other times it is simply a lack of training or will. If you have thought about starting a company or ever had an idea that you would like to see on shelves then check out these three steps to starting a company.
1) The Idea
I think it goes without saying that you need a good idea to start a company. This is the easy part. Go out into the public and start listening to people complain. You will be surprised how many problems you hear when you open your ears in the grocery store or at Macy’s. I was recently at the airport in Philadelphia after being in Manhattan for a conference. Out of the corner of my ear I heard the sound of a printer for about two minutes - nonstop. In this day in age you should not hear a printer going off for that long, so I asked the attendant what she was printing. Turns out the pilot’s directions are printed on paper! Yes, that’s right, the person that is flying me across the country has printed directions! I was absolutely flabbergasted when I found out what they were using this for – but hey – could this be a business idea? Imagine how much money they spend on ink and paper per hour, day, week, year, etc. The next step is to form that idea into a potentially viable business model. This is where you think about and research the traction this product could have, the size of the market, the potential pitfalls, how to make it, where to sell it, etc. Is there a reason the airline prints the directions instead of transmitting them digitally? Is it due to cost? Is it because of the potential error that could occur while transmitting the directions digitally? These are all questions you should be asking once you spot out the problem. Once all of these questions are answered, or at least hypothesized you are ready for the next step.
2) Form a Team
One of the most misunderstood concepts of starting a company is the value of a team. You may be the smartest person in the world, but you will always need a partner or two to complement you. For me, this came in the form of a software developer and designer. I can take an idea and map out every aspect of a business model. I can find out how to market the product, how to sell it, how to innovate and conceptualize the product, how to get investors, how to bring on other team members, but when it comes to actually building the product – I am clueless. This is what my business partners are for. They know I am good at what I do and I know they are good at what they do. It is this type of relationship that is conducive to startups. I recently brought on two new team members to help with sales. This is due to the fact that we have such a limited time frame to capture the market. I know I cannot do this myself. There are too many competitors and not enough time, so I hired two new sales team members to help out. Forming a team is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength. I know I cannot do it all and I will not act like I can.
I don’t care if you have the best idea in the world. You could have thought of Facebook, Google, or even Microsoft before it existed. Did you act on it? Did you form it into a business? People say that Zuckerberg stole the idea for Facebook and maybe he did, but hey – did the Winkelvoss twins act on the idea and turn it into a business? Did they head out to the West coast to get investment from Peter Theil, or bring on Sean Parker to make introductions? Sure they could have, but so could have my mother. It doesn’t mean they did. The single most important thing you can do to start a company is to actually do it. It sounds basic but so many people think having the idea and talking about it is what it’s all about. I remember coming up with the idea for a VCR to be combined with a TV when I was 7. Did I act on it? Nope. And guess what – about a year later I had one of those TVs with a VCR attached. Instead of making money on it I was the one spending money on it. If I would have acted on that idea maybe I would have been the one partnering with RCA. In my lifetime I have had countless ideas that I have not acted on and in return someone else was made rich because of it. More power to them. They did what I did not. I still continue to have ideas that I cannot act on due to the fact that I am focused on Crowdentials full time. This does not bother me so much anymore (refer to the flight idea in step one) due to the fact that I have an idea and company that I love. If you have come up with an idea and partnered with people to combat your weaknesses, get out there and make it happen. Otherwise someone else will.
Written by Richard Rodman, CEO at Crowdentials