To put in simple terms, a startup is like an experiment, where you test your hypothesis (idea) on the market. It is a test to see if what you see as a reality is really true – i.e. if you can bring something new to the people or the market. If your hypothesis was true, it will become reality and you will succeed.
The process usually starts by looking at a problem we face and trying to solve it. We sit down to understand the issues and the parameters to the problem and find a solution to it. Once we have something tangible in hand, we realize that the idea may be something so great that it may benefit others too. That is where we begin testing our hypothesis on the market (others). We see if they will also like the idea and if not, what could we do to tweak it such that they would like it better.
Like an experiment, we may not get it right the first time but have to keep tweaking parameters (business model) and try different ingredients till we get something which works (can become a business). So, while you may have a vision in your head of what the end goal will look like, that may not be what you get in reality and even then, your experiment may fail to prove the hypothesis – you can be wrong and your start-up can fail.
But if you are persistent and flexible with your experiments, success may find you after all, be it today or years down the road. Persistence is one of the most important traits for entrepreneurs. I would like to share a story of a company, one that you may have heard of this past week. You may have heard of this game Draw Something by OMGPOP, they were bought by Zynga, a large Facebook gaming company. My daughter studying in Melbourne recently introduced me to this game and asked me to download it to my iPad.
For OMGPOP, after 6 years and 35 attempts at making games, the company only had $1700 in their bank account and was set to close soon. I believe they started shutting down procedures, but in February they suddenly got a hit with “Draw Something” which got them acquired by Zynga at $180 million dollars overnight. The game hit 1 million users in 9 days, and over 20 million downloads within 5 weeks of its launch.
It was their persistence, the fact that they learnt from their past attempts (that made them experts) and their will to take a chance and experiment on one more idea, that got them this amazing deal.
So the key is to keep experimenting and trying out your new ideas. The more you try the more the chances of you succeeding. It may seem difficult to be able to attempt so many things with financial and other constraints, but if you start with smaller experiments, you will be able to cut your risks down, allowing you to test more ideas over the long run.
Be persistent and keep trying new things, you never know when opportunity will knock on your door.