Entrepreneurial lessons learnt so far….
After incorporating ConnectMe Ltd in December 2018 the journey as an entrepreneur so far has been a roller coaster filled with excitement, fear, good and bad decisions, moments of true believe and determination in your business and moments that you feel like everything is crumbling. But most of all a continued feeling that there are less hours in the day than needed which results in sleep becoming an ever-rarer commodity.
One of the underlying lessons I learned early on from my entrepreneurial degree and the setup of my company was put best by Robert
“Thinking of ideas doesn’t make you a successful entrepreneur – executing those ideas does”
So where do you start, well the idea?
Reasoning: the first thing you need to understand before turning your idea into a business is why you are looking to set up a company. Is it so you can be your own boss, to have a lifestyle business, become wealthy, leave a legacy for your children, to have a large social impact and change lives or just because you saw a gap in the market. There is no right answer to this question but understanding your “why” is important. It may seem inappropriate at the planning stage, but it will have a large impact on how you grow and run your company.
Share: it’s tempting to keep your idea to yourself and I know it seems counter intuitive for some but share, talk about your business idea, ideally with people you can trust. Unfortunately, most, especially in Mauritius don’t share their ideas and hold on to them like dark secrets. But without sharing, discussing and getting feedback the idea is destined to stay in your head or fail. The more feedback and involvement the better. The value of getting other opinions at this early stage can’t be underestimated. As a stubborn person myself I used to become very defensive about my ideas. When people started identifying any flaws or asking questions that I thought were obvious I tended to stop listening. But being defensive
and building walls is a detriment to you and your business, you need to check your ego at the door and learn from what they are saying. Its not easy and don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting you change your whole idea based on comment or loose faith that you can achieve your goals, No what I’m saying is take other people’s opinions on board, listen, analyses and adapt if necessary. You need to have confidence in yourself and your execution of your idea. Even if you think you are the first person to ever have the thought there will be others and its your execution that will set you apart not the idea.
Google was not the first search engine and Facebook was not the first social network. Your start-up needs to be the best-in-class, not the first to market.
Research: Get to know your Market inside and out. How big is your market, Who are your competitors, what are their price points? All this data will be essential if you want to bring your idea to reality or are looking to get partners, investment or support in the future. By knowing your ecosystem better than anyone you gain valuable knowledge and credibility.
Validate: Validate,Validate and Validate again, this is a form of research and focuses on your assumptions about your product, customer
and market. Even if you feel your idea/service is common sense and brilliant, validate it none the less. Validating not only gives you proof that people are looking for your product but enables you to pivot before you commit, this can save you time, money, sweat and tears.
Plan: Organise your intentions and idea into a concrete business plan. A great place to start is by using a lean approach and writing a CANVAS. This popular method enables you to really get an overview of your business and forces you to think about aspects of your business that are easy to overlook in the excitement of the idea stage.
Self: Understand your own personal strengths and weaknesses, this is key in plotting how to proceed and latter building your team. By understanding your limitations and strengths you can identify the areas that you will undertake and more importantly the areas that you will need support. A simple SWOT analysis is a great way of getting an idea of what areas you are strong and what areas you may need support.
Read Part 2 here!
Jason Delorie, is the Co-Founder and CEO at TutorMe, an award-winning EdTech start-up.
Driven by a passion for innovation, Jason enjoys looking at problems from a different perspective, with the aim of finding a creative, simple solution. In addition, he currently holds the position of Innovation Coordinator at ENL Group. Apart from innovation, he has a deep passion for technology & entrepreneurship and hopes to use his influence to help build a thriving start-up ecosystem in Mauritius.