After spending time in the startup scene in Dublin I’ve come to think that proving a business model is like navigating a maze. It seems to me that at the beginning of their startup, a founder stands at the entrance to the maze staring at many paths leading who knows where; chances are they’ll try a few paths before they reach the other side and prove their business model. Many obstacles will stand in their way so they’ll need to use all the strengths they have and the avail of the resources around them, to navigate their way through the maze. Luckily, here in Dublin there are many people and groups willing to help novice entrepreneurs find there way through this maze! But still, it can take a long time.
For the participants in Startup Weekend, which is being held in Google Europe HQ, next weekend will mark the beginning of their journey through the startup maze.
For a whole weekend disrupters (which is what you are if you want to hack existing ways of doing things so that you can solve problems better than anyone else can) will come together in healthy competition. Over the course of the weekend, especially as it comes close to the final pitch on Sunday, unleashed creativity, determination, passion and enthusiasm will culminate in the kind of pulsating environment that may cause minds to fog and nerves to fray. People may wonder ‘am I up for this in the long run’. ‘Do I have what it takes to navigate the startup maze?’
This is a normal reaction to the chaos and uncertainty that characterises the beginning of any big undertaking; anything that requires nerve, audacity. Anything like standing at the entrance to the startup maze.
But it’ll all be ok! There’ll be loads of support, in the form of mentors and me, a coach and founder of Great Life Distillery, on board to support participants make a good start to their journey through the startup maze.
How am I going to help? Well, I’m going to start by asking you a few questions:
How strong is your vision?
A strong vision will act like a compass that will guide you through the maze. Your vision is linked to your purpose; what’s driving you and your idea. Does this idea align to that purpose?
How clear are you about your values?
Of course a clear purpose can only come from clarity about yourself and what matters to you; your values.
So, what are yours? You’ll run out of emotional energy very quickly and begin to resent this idea you have if it doesn’t really fit with who you are as a person.
Do you know what your strengths are?
Knowing this at the beginning of your startup life will support you bring your great idea to life. As you’ll have a better chance of success if your endeavor allows you to play to your strengths. Also, clarity about your strengths means you’re also clear on your weaknesses. The best way to manage the aspects of your startup that require you to use strengths you don’t have is to find people who do. You can asses your strengths here:
Other kinds of questions you can ask to figure out if something makes sense from a purpose perspective include:
What do you want to make better? Who do you want to help?
A great idea starts with you and your response to the environment around you. It is based on integrity and passion as well as solutions or enhancements,
With just under a week to go to Startup Weekend, this is your time to reflect on YOU. What PROBLEM do you want to help solve? What IMPACT do you want to make?
After you reflect on these questions and answer them, you’ll be ready to tackle whatever problem you want to solve and find ways to harness tech to solve it.
Best of luck to all the disrupters at this weekend’s Startup Weekend!