Everytime someone comes to me with a new idea asking for my advice on how to turn it into a business, the first thing I tell them that start a business not because you think your idea is great but because you think you are the only one who can turn this idea into a successful enterprise. Everyone has a good idea, but what separates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones is execution.
Here are few things I have learned during my journey as an entrepreneur, which I believe are important to build a successful business
Value before valuation
Businesses who have been able to create long term value survive no matter how small or big their valuation is. I am a literal guy so for me value is, are people ready to pay for using your product/services, and does that money cover the cost of running your operations. This makes sure that then you can focus on building a good business and not on arranging money from external investors for it. Trust me raising investment is hard, and not needing to do it will save you a lot of time & stress.
If you build value and sustainability into your business from day one, then investments become tools for growth and not keeping the lights on.
Rome was not built in a day and neither will you business
Building a successful sustainable business is a marathon not a sprint. The first thing you need to be ready for is that turning your idea into a business will take time. There is no shortcut to building a sustainable business, and you will have require a lot of perseverance to get through day to day challenges. Companies like Basecamp, WorkDay, SalesForce, Shopify are great examples of how long it takes to build a successful billion dollar sustainable business.
Winners do one things that losers don't - They focus
Any business has only finite amount of resources but start-ups have even less resources. Sometimes you only have those 4-5 hrs a day to work on your idea. This means that you will need a razor sharp focus in everything from deciding which problem in your business area you want to solve, to which feature should be part of your releases. Focus then becomes a tool for you to prioritize your work, making your decision making easier.
As your business grows, focus makes sure that everyone in the team knows what is the end goal they are working towards, and your organization moves as one cohesive unit.
Every business is a services business
This is specifically important because a lot of people think that they don't need to build a customer focused, or service mindset because they are offering products and not direct services to their end customers. This assumption cannot be farther from the truth, from the time a customer buys your product, or logs into your platform they become a customer who expects everything that a typical service customer would expect. You can automate end user services by using bots, emails, automated phone calls, but you cannot escape the fact that retaining customers requires a customer focused mindset.