Useful Lessons In Business and Fundraising

It is the entrepreneur’s vision for their idea, that gets them jumping out of bed every morning. It is the driving force that pushes them to achieve more than norm. Entrepreneurs have big dreams, they look at making something that will change the world; helping to improve people’s lives. They know they have the capability to make that change and they risk just about everything to see it through.

Many people will tell you to be humble and think small. Humility is a great and a must quality to have, but you cannot think small if you want to change the world. If you want to change the world you will have to be able to target as many people as you can, which means thinking big, working on a global scale. When you think about your vision see your product going worldwide, in the hands of every person on the planet. The vision is the focus that will drive you forward, through the good and the bad times. Visualise yourself achieving those goals and having your product in everyone’s hand. It is not wrong to Think Big, it is wrong not to try to achieve it.

Now, thinking big, is just one aspect of the whole game. The next key step is to execute, this is where it can get a bit tricky. A startup is like an experiment, where entrepreneurs test their hypothesis(ideas) on the market, looking to see if others will share in their vision and adopt the product. The thing is there are many aspects to this section that need to be covered properly for example, product design, packaging, marketing, sales. The right mix of ingredients will help you reach your vision.

To achieve this you will require a lot of research and testing. You will need to understand your target market extremely well; know them inside out. Then conduct campaigns to test your product and marketing, to make sure that the market wants your product and you are able to reach out to them. There is a lot of risk involved in the process which could make or break even a seasoned entrepreneur.

This is why many seasoned entrepreneurs stress that business is not about taking huge risks, but taking calculated risks instead. It is about cutting that risk to an acceptable and manageable level. To do this it is best to always start small. Start by working on a small scale, testing out your product and marketing on a smaller market. Build a Minimum Viable Product(The Lean Startup – Eric Ries); something that you can test on the market without breaking the bank.

The idea behind this is to bring an earlier version of your product to the market, so that you can study its market acceptance and tweak it better based on customer feedback. No one can give you better advice than the customer who will be paying you to buy the product. Listen to them carefully and revise your work again and again.

Another aspect of starting small is to always keep overheads low, especially in the initial stages. This will help you stay afloat for a longer time, with your funds focused on building the company/product better. If you can manage without an office or anything fancy equipment then do without it for a while. The best thing would be to use the money for something crucial, say perhaps hiring someone to help with product development, design or marketing.

By starting small, you will be able to test out your hypothesis with much less risk. Once you have figured out the right formula, you will be able to put the foot on the pedal and scale the company upwards to the sky. This is where your vision will come into play. Your vision will be the focus that will help the company grow. It will be the driving force that will guide all your stakeholders (employees, suppliers, investors and customers) to build a strong and great company.

It takes a great entrepreneur and leader to be able to see the bigger picture and work on the smaller details at the same time. Look into leading your people forward to building something great that makes an impact. 

May 10, 2012

UL0014 – Think Big, Start Small

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