Every company is founded from a concept. Most companies are founded on the hopes that whatever they are selling, people buy. A select few companies, however, have their beginnings not where there is a market, but where a market should be. It’s these companies like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola; all billion dollar companies who achieved massive success not by competing in a market, but by creating one. Even more fundamentally than their recognition of a need, moreover, these companies were founded by asking the question: ‘Why should we exist?’ rather than ‘How should we exist?’
One of the masters of this concept, Simon Sinek, both writes and speaks about this subject matter in his book and TED Talk series Start With Why. This fundamental shift can catapult your business concept from an entity that pays the bills, to an entity full of riches and thrills.
Once you’ve figured out what your start-up is going to be, it’s important to note a few things. First, make sure that at least one person on your team has knowledge about the product you’re developing. Then consider your market: do you prefer a small, fast-growing market or a larger but slow-growing one? Either way, be certain that the choice you make is what’s best for your product. Also, make sure that your product is filling a void in the market. In order for you to succeed, people have to want to buy your product, but it is better if they don’t want to live without it.
After you make the switch from ‘interesting project’ to Concept to Company, be decisive and quick to act. Start by making your product available to users. Learn about sales and marketing and go look for users yourself. Be a proactive CEO. Enroll in a Startup University online. You should also keep an open mind about your product and listen to your users. Keep improving it until you land on something that they love. This will assure you of having a constant market, no matter how small.
Another factor to be considered is raising money. Look for investors, and once you get a couple of meetings, always ask for what you want. You can’t afford to be modest about your company’s future.
After securing an investment, use it wisely. Hire qualified employees and give them good equity. If you make the wrong hires, fire them as fast as possible. Also, keep in mind that the company grows according to your standards. If you don’t obsess over the growth rate, you will not grow.
Eventually, the company will evolve to being a mission that everyone is dedicated to. It will be who you are, so make sure you’re not distracted from it. Be a relentless and result-oriented leader. Creating a culture for the company is also important as users will be able to relate to more than the product. Not only should you connect personally with your users, but also your employees. Don’t forget that the company’s success is highly dependent on employee morale.
Finally, be prepared to work hard. No company has ever been founded without sweat and a few tears. If it takes ten years, then it does.