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Steps to take before going on an entrepreneurial venture

1. Scope

  • Write down a very good definition of your product/service (in a way that you can compare with data available)
  • Define your target customers (and get data about their purchases in the past)
  • Define very well what you will make, what you will buy, the competences you want inside, the competences you can outsource, …

2. Market

  • Does it really exist for the product/service you will be selling?
  • Can you offer a lower price or higher value than your competition?
  • Is your market located close to you?

3. Globalization

  • Are there other global players than can easily compete with you?

4. Business Plan

  • Come up with a strong business plan (remember: the business plan is your guide to operate the business, not just a tool for the investors)
  • Make (financial) room for unexpected issues
  • Invest heavily on Marketing and Sales resources. People won’t buy what they don’t know.
  • Keep your fixed cost lower as possible. Invest in infrastructure and people only when that’s strategic to your business.
  • Plan to hire the best, only those will outperform.

If after these steps, you still feel you will “conquer the world”, go and find professional help for the resources you don’t have:

  • Financial support – Angels Investors, VCs, Banks, …
  • Business Development experts
  • Production experts

If you engage someone to invest in your venture, make sure they add something to your project besides funding. This can be access to key persons in the market, knowledge about the industry, and others.
If at all possible, start your business when customers are ready to pay for your product in a way that you provide some income and the machine (the whole company) must focus on deliver the product or service.

Adapted from LinkedIn Q&A in Feb, 21 2008

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