Starting a startup is not a vacation journey. It is a very high intensity call that requires many sacrifices. Before you decide to embark on this journey, you need to be prepared. It is far easier to join a mature company and earn wages than risk starting something new.
But yet, if you have a top-grade skill, there is no irreversible risk. The fact is this: if you are good and run a startup and fail, there are many entities that would absorb you. In short, having started something becomes an experience and differentiator, if indeed you tried hard enough before the failure!
The biggest mistake in the world is to see the opportunity pass by when you believe you can change a market and earn great returns for doing so. After all, most of these opportunities do not always repeat. That means if you miss them, by starting the company at the moment, you may never get the chance again.
NB: Startup in this content means going to create something of value with transformational impacts in the market. It is different from small business which could be barbing salon, selling corn along the roads, etc that rarely scales. You do not build such firms without focus.
“A company five years old can still be a startup,” writes Y Combinator accelerator head Paul Graham via email. “Ten [years old] would start to be a stretch.”…
One thing we can all agree on: the key attribute of a startup is its ability to grow. As Graham explains, a startup is a company designed to scale very quickly. It is this focus on growth unconstrained by geography which differentiates startups from small businesses. A restaurant in one town is not a startup, nor is a franchise a startup.
Yes, while you can start a bank in Nigeria today, the reality is that those that started in 1990s had it easier, at least the regulations, were not matured then. The same applies to university licenses. There used to be a time when government was begging proprietors to come and pick free university licenses. Today, you need to have built a campus before government would even consider your application.
The same goes for starting a telecom operator in Nigeria. Compared with 2002, it is far tougher now as most of the profitable customers have already been absorbed by the incumbents. Now is the time for fintech but say in 10 years, it may be harder as platforms would have locked the best customers. The same analogy plays across markets and industries.
In this video, I explain the beginning phase of starting a startup by examining the existence of friction in the market and the preparations required to have a great company.
This is part of a series which I will be expanding.