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What must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?

9 assumptions to safely make when starting your entrepreneurial journey.

August 17, 2021

What must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?

Whether you started a new business or still thinking of it, you have taken a new role as an entrepreneur. We salute you.

The entrepreneur role encapsulates many aspects you'd need to adapt to make your business successful.

Remember that the entrepreneurs and the company they lead are the same things in the early stages of any company.

There are legal boundaries to separate them, but the vision, culture, and execution are united. If you slack, your customer will notice.

If you go out of your skin to make every customer happy, they will see it as well.

Assume you'll fail, so adopt courage over fear

As an entrepreneur, it's not a question of will face failures.

It's a question of how many failures you'll experience and in what timeframe.

You'll fail to hit your sales numbers in the first iteration. You'll miss the mark of your first activity budget, and you'll likely find hiring very challenging until you nail it.

These are just some small and gentle examples of failures you'll experience.

As you're headed towards failure, you'd be disappointed but not surprised. Assumed you can overcome difficulties and find a way around problems.

Every failure is an opportunity to learn, and as such, don't be afraid to fail. You'll get better. Instead, think in terms of courage over fear.

Assume that the 4 D's of Success are required but do not guarantee anything.

The 4 D's of success are Desire, Drive, Dedication & Discipline.

While it is tough to succeed without these, you should acknowledge that having all 4 of them does not guarantee success.

We're sure you've witnessed such cases where an individual had it all but still struggled.

The reality, you'll also need good timing, support, and a great team.

Assume your advisors are an integral part of the team

Some entrepreneurs try to get advice from startup advisors, but they hold the cards so close to their chest that it's hard for them to gain valuable advice.

Do your homework when engaging advisors, either one who does it pro-bono, for equity, or even as a paid consultancy.

Once you've engaged with them, treat them as an integral part of the team and provide them with all the info that would allow them to help you be successful.

In some cases, such relationships evolve into full-time employment, business network investment that provides value to years to come.

Assume that a napkin business model is as good as what you wrote it on

Napkin business model is a phrase termed by the everyday act of two colleagues taking lunch together.

One comes with an idea, and he drafts a shortened business model on a napkin to convince his colleague.

So it's a quick and dirty manner to try and make sense of the business model works or not and play with different business model types.

Should you use a napkin business model when planning your business? Absolutely yes! It is a great drill, and it will help you invalidate fast some crude thoughts.

Should you spend your valuable savings on a company that only has a napkin business model? We believe that this is foolish.

You'd better spend the time to learn, analyses, and, if needed, consult before you decide what is right for you and your business.

Assume that different types of business act differently

You might have experience in one field or one type of business and assume it translates well to your new business.

However, if it is a different type of business, you should be very careful and be in a better position than you need to prove it.

For example, some types of businesses can enjoy the financing benefits of their suppliers compared to others simply because the competitive landscape between them is very aggressive.

To stay in business, they need to help and finance their customers. But in other types of business, that might not be the case, and you need to take this into account.  

Assume you the end product is unknown

When entrepreneurs develop new products, they tend to stick to their idea and drive the product development towards their vision.

If your name is Steve Jobs, we fall at your knees whimpering.

If you're not, assume your product will emerge from an iterative process involving customer discovery, customer interviews, development, and feedback.

You might have an idea what your product will look like, but when entrepreneurs develop new products, they know they are on a discovery journey and don't necessarily know where they'll end up.

It's impossible to predict where research and product development will take you. Did the Netflix start entrepreneurs had the vision of a streaming service? Or a Gaming service? What is the end product? Assume you need to be constantly exploring.

Assume that customer empathy is the gateway to success

Customer empathy is the process of understating your customers' drivers, thoughts, pains, and wants.

While you can hypothesize about making your customer's life better, nothing beats talking to your customer and observing them.

What are the keys to customer observation? Authenticity and validity.

You can "fake it till you make it," but most customers would notice the gaps and such it's much better to be authentic with both what you are, what you are trying to achieve, and your current stage.

As for validity, this is mainly to create a transitive insight. Some entrepreneurs choose easy observations, but they struggle to reach potential customers when they are ready to grow.

An excellent place to start is to define your persona in a sentence but put it in writing. From there, you can expand on all the aspects of persona definition and customer screening.

Assume you can get help from a government agency that aids entrepreneurs

Startups and small businesses create substantial economic impact, which governments around the world well observe.

Some countries are more business friendly while others pose more bureaucratic difficulties that can come up in establishing the business or ongoing licensees and tax reporting you'll need to submit.

Regardless of which country you are in, there is at least one government agency that supports entrepreneurs and you need to engage with it.

Find it, research its provided material, and in many cases, it's worth it actually to try and meet the clerks of the agency.

Here are some resources to get you started:

Search for any combination of "small business", "startup", "agency" , "gov" and relevant country of operations.
Do not assume that one country agency will refer to another or even be fully aware of all the options it grants.

There are also state specific agencies and even municipality agencies who can offer different levels of support.

Assume the journey would be painful, excruciating, and bloody

Harsh words.

Why would one want to do it in the first place?

Well, in many ways, the path chose you. If you're an entrepreneur, you can't be anything else.

But more importantly, the journey will be fascinating, thrilling, full of meaning, and sometimes very lucrative.

Godspeed.

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