Founded in 2004, Facebook is already worth an estimated $80-90 billion. Not bad for a company that hasn’t had its IPO yet. If and when it finally gets listed, the social network may be worth as much as $100 billion already. Good thing then Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg did not dally in forming his startup when he had the idea of a social network composed of students from Harvard and other schools.
Of course, Zuckerberg isn’t the only successful technology entrepreneur out there. There’s a long list, from early Internet superstars Jeff Bezos of Amazon and the Google duo of Larry Page and Sergey Brin down to Andrew Mason of Groupon and Mark Pincus of Zynga.
This brings us to the topic for today’s post. If you have an idea for a potentially mind-blowing product, don’t procrastinate! Act on that idea by founding your very own startup – you’ll never know, you might just be the next Zuckerberg, Pincus, or Mason.
Why do you need to start your startup as soon as possible? For the following reasons:
- If you do not execute immediately, you’ll never know if you are right or wrong.
In Indecision Kills: A Decision-Making Framework for Startups, startup expert Adeo Ressi writes:
“With startups, being fast is actually better than being right. A founder needs to make hundreds of critical decisions, and any indecision can literally grind all progress to a halt. Hesitating, over-analyzing, or ‘waiting to see what happens’ are all forms of indecision, and when you are indecisive you let the world decide the outcome for you. Indecision leaves the outcome to chance, and your chances as a startup are bad to begin with.”
Well-known venture capitalist Bryce Roberts in his blog says:
“There are a lot of companies that have never had a good idea but had a great long term plan. And there are a lot of good ideas that have no plans of getting built into companies. Then there are good ideas that reluctantly get built into great companies that necessitate a plan. You’ll never know which is which until you start. Just start.”
Entrepreneurship consultant Yura Bryant, in Stop Talking and Make It Happen, writes:
“Nothing develops from dreamy talk and consistent reading. You have to put your ideas in motion and make them happen.”
Martin Zwilling writes, in Innovation is About Execution, Despite the Myths, that:
“While it is true that you can’t get started without an idea, the importance of the Big Hunt is vastly overrated. Ideas are only beginnings. Without the necessary focus, discipline, and resources on execution, nothing happens.”
2. The sooner you get started the sooner you can test your idea, the sooner will know the mistakes, the sooner you can make adjustments.
In an interview published at The Brain Twist, Hiten Shah, founder of analytics solutions provider Kissmetrics, states that:
“If you are thinking of an idea don’t wait and just do it as fast as you can and learn by doing.”
In 9 Women Can’t Make a Baby in a Month, VC Mark Suster writes:
“If you’re creating truly innovative products, you often have no idea whether the proverbial dog will eat the dog food. You have a hunch. Testing is what helps determine whether you’re really on to something.”
3. Ideas are useless until you get $h!!t done
Again, Yura Bryant, in the same article earlier cited above, advises:
“Do not settle on your ideas being the selling point because millions of people have ideas, but only a few can make their ideas a reality.”
So, why are there startups that never quite take off? The problems lie in the following:
1. Many start their own companies, but too few finish the race.
The oft-quoted Yura Bryant says:
“Life is what you make it. Do not let fear and outside influences affect your dreams of success. Those who are quick to criticize and complain are usually unhappy with their own lives. Brush the skepticism to the side and become the overseer of your future. Do not just talk about it be about it and stake claim to what is yours.
2. Many are of a perfectionist mindset and tend to overanalyze anything (this is what the title of this article alludes to – too much analysis leads to paralysis).
Entrepreneur Elad Gil writes in Hire for the Ability to Get S#!t Done:
“Tendency to overdesign something and to spend 4 weeks building the perfect implementation versus 1 week building the thing that “just works” for 95% of the time. Sometimes the edge cases need to be covered, but in most raw startups this is not the case. On the business side, this manifests as someone heavy on analysis, low on “doing.””
3. Many get easily distracted and unable to put all their efforts behind their ventures.
Again, we turn to Yura Bryant’s inspiring words:
“Planning and preparing for the future is essential to realizing your dreams. Success does not just appear out of the open-air, it requires due diligence and patience. We are all eager for our moment in glory when the hard work finally pays off but until that time continue moving forward. Keep yourself motivated by keeping your eye on the prize and using that image as unlimited fuel to remain focused. Those who have gained unprecedented success planned and prepared to live successful lives. You must do the same.”
4. Many will pursue something only if someone else will fund it.
I hear statements like “I need funding before I get started.” This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. How in the hell do you expect an investor to write a check if you yourself are not taking any risk? Then they make an even more stupid statement, “I thought that angels and VCs are supposed to be risk takers”. Like making this statement will make investors retract their “no”. The success of your business depends on you, not the investors.
Thus, to increase your chances of having that successful startup in the mold of Facebook, you must do the following:
1. Extinguish your fears and tear up all possible excuses.
Yura Bryant says it best:
“Do not let excuses hold you back from pursuing entrepreneurship. Stop being fearful of the unknown and make your dreams a reality.”
2. Be 100% committed, in both time and resources, and don’t give up.
In Startups Don’t Die, They Commit Suicide, Entrepreneur Justin Kan writes:
“I can’t promise you will succeed if you stick with your startup. What I can promise is that if you give up, you won’t possibly succeed.”
3. Stay focused.
In the same article cited above, Justin Kan writes that:
“one thing that many entrepreneurs don’t realize is that patience and iteration are critical in achieving product market fit. Overnight successes might happen fast, but they never actually happen overnight. Facebook lagged Myspace for a couple years before being crowned the top social network. Groupon had to iterate through being ThePoint. If the teams had given up after a single failure (or even many failures), they would never have created the massive companies that capture the public eye today.”
So, go out there and START your startup! Do not just seek your fortune, but create it! Not tomorrow, but NOW!