How to become a successful entrepreneur?

How to Become a Successful Entrepreneur?

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | Last Updated on March 28th, 2024 6:29 am | 8-min read

As the 80's rolled around and downsizing became the norm across sectors, ordinary people began to think of self-owned business or entrepreneurship as a way out of the rat race. In its modern interpretation, entrepreneurship does not mean having access to capital, though that is important too, but instead having an idea that would satisfy a need. Need identification is the first task of an entrepreneur. If you are stuck finding a viable business idea, here’s an interesting video that talks about how you can get a good one.

(Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.) An example – Sean Rad, Jonathan Badeen, Justin Mateen hit upon a brilliant idea in 2012. Is it more comfortable to walk up to a stranger if you knew the stranger in a prima facie way approved by you? Yes, it is. They worked backward from the idea of a blind date where the couple already liked each other and created the app, which is now valued at $10 billion and one of the very few social media platforms that generate consistent profits.How to become a successful entrepreneur? Essentially, an entrepreneur is an enabler. They may or may not know the nitty-gritty of coding. But they know how to conceptualize a product, bring it to market, make it popular, generate a profit. What then are the guiding principles to become an entrepreneur through a lean startup model?

Understand the Lean Business Model for startups

A byproduct of the Silicon Valley startup culture is the Lean Startup Model. It recognizes that for long the task of launching a new business scale was done by well-established companies with deep pockets. The LSM showed that exponential growth was possible by leveraging a mix of innovation and barely sufficient capital. From Cisco to Sun Microsystems in hardware and Hotmail to Google in software, the LSM worked exceedingly well.How to become a successful entrepreneur The garage at 2066 Crist Drive, Palo Alto, where Jobs and Wozniak started Apple in 1976Image Source The main point that the founders recognized is that these companies are not smaller versions of traditional business and cannot utilize business plans made for a previous era. They need to have focus, develop a product, lurch from error to error, pivot on a dime, listen to the customers very carefully, and hope (lean entrepreneurship is no more than continual optimism) that the next version of the product is a roaring success. In short, no established business model would work for a startup. The founder(s) have to chart their own path to success.

Focus on finding solutions, not creating a product

Entrepreneurs have to be excellent at solving problems. Anyone can identify the issues. The entrepreneur specializes in addressing them in a timely manner, within budget. In addition to all these skills and responsibilities, a successful entrepreneur must have great emotional intelligence. Here’s a great video that talks about it in detail.
(Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.) For example, if you create an app and need 10,000 downloads in the first month, do not focus on the huge target. An entrepreneur will always set it aside and concentrate on 1,000 downloads in the first week, 2,000 downloads the next week, and so on. Of course, this can be done by cross-app promotion, App Store Optimization, influencer endorsements, and a dozen other ways. But more often than not, an entrepreneur would be able to identify what is working and what is not and focus on the former. Spending the least resources to achieve the most significant results is the hallmark of a true entrepreneur. Finding solutions is what has made Elon Musk a household name. No one thought that a heavy rocket could be launched with reusable boosters. Falcon 9 boosters have been reused four times, cutting the cost per launch to less than half. Musk does not know aerospace engineering. But he does know problem-solving, and that makes him one of the greatest living entrepreneurs.

Elon Musk's Rules Of Success

  1. Never give up

  2. Really like what you do

  3. Don't listen to the little man

  4. Take a risk

  5. Do something important

  6. Focus on signal over noise

  7. Look for problem solvers

  8. Attract great people

  9. Have a great product

  10. Work super hard

Marketing like a guerilla army

Startups need intensive marketing efforts. It is challenging to communicate to customers what a product does. Jobs and Wozniak not only had to build computers but also describe how they could be used (Gates made his first billion by selling to IBM and thus was luckier in that sense). If all the marketing terms seem Greek to you, here’s a video that is perfect for first-time marketers.
(Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.)Startup marketing is different from traditional marketing in every possible way. The usual ways that businesses advertise (newspapers, tv, billboards) are not only expensive but also an imperfect medium for selling a product that no one has ever seen before. This would mean using some type of campaign that reaches a large number of potential users on a shoestring budget. Typically social media campaigns and emails has become the same because these are very low-cost avenues, but other types of marketing also exist, including webinars and YouTube videos. Of course, it would depend on the type of startup. If you were creating new software that you believe would be the perfect tool for stock analysts, then you would have to visit trading rooms across the country and the world) and convince trading floor managers to view a demo. Reviews from well-known authors in the domain are also useful but not to be used until you are satisfied with your product. Soliciting an honest review could easily backfire if your product has apparent flaws.

Growing a startup into adolescence

You have the idea of the perfect product. You are sure that it will be a hit. You have built a prototype. Now you want to make a product launch. The most essential piece of the puzzle that is missing is financing. The first round of funding for Facebook was provided by Zuckerberg himself and by Eduardo Saverin, his college friend. Amazon was funded by Jeff Bezos and his parents. To fund Apple, Jobs sold his Volkswagen and Wozniak his HP calculator. The seed money is always the hardest to put together. That is the "lean" in the Lean Startup Model. What other choices do you have? The most obvious is the credit card, family and friends, and incubator funds. Less common but making an entrance into the mainstream is crowdfunding.How to become a successful entrepreneur Startup Funding MapImage Source Incubator funds are public-private partnerships that help startups attain a minimum size with mentorship and resources. Very often, it includes office space and access to infrastructure. If you are struggling to find a good incubator for collaboration, this video has a list of incubators for you.
(Above video is a part of a more elaborate course on Academy by Appy Pie. To access the complete course, please Click Here, or continue reading below.) Unlike Venture Capital Funds, incubators do not provide long term (few years) support. Typical incubators nurture a business for six months and want new entrepreneurs to roll in. If a startup survives the incubator period, it is ready for Series A funding by a VC. Also, most incubators provide exposure to VCs. VCs are deluged by requests for funding but usually like someone else to have taken a look first. This scrutiny is done by incubators.

Closing Thoughts

Entrepreneurship has become a cultural phenomenon and no longer restricted to the business world. Entrepreneurs are highly regarded by society due to their skill and flair at finding the easiest solution. It is not something that either governments or large corporations have done very well. In a nutshell, Lean Startup Management is doing more with less. Understanding the boundaries, respecting them, but also pushing them back every day just a little bit more. At the same time, at the end of a half-century of corporate profligacy, startups have, in a way, restored faith in business. It has shown that an individual, or two or three, can invent something that can be immensely useful and change the way the world does business. From Jack Ma to Bill Gates, entrepreneurs are known for being close to their roots and giving back as much to society as they took. At times much more. To know how to be an entrepreneur who fully comprehends the Lean Startup Model, sign up for the Appy Pie course about running startups successfully.

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Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie

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