Before you venture out and start on developing a start-up, be real with yourself and accept that it won’t be easy. That way you can be prepared for when the bumps in the road come along. Because there will be bumps in the road, no doubt about that. It’s not going to be all butterflies and rainbows, my friends.
The PMARCA Guide prepares you for every difficult aspect of creating a start-up and even warns you about how difficult it can be to maintain success.
A few points particularly stuck out to me:
1. “You get told no, a lot.” We have all been and will continue to be told no throughout our lives but it’s when we are told no in response to something we deeply care about or have worked hard don that it really hurts.
2. “Hiring is a huge pain in the ass.” The people you hire could determine whether your company does well and whether your product gets made and maintains success. It also determines the culture of your company and the reputation of yourself and the product.
3. “…X factors that can come along and whup you right upside the head, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about them.” X factors being the uncontrollable economy and job market and even world events, movements and natural disasters (literally anything you can’t control.) How can you keep these X factors from harming your company and product? You simply can’t. You can prepare for them sure, but they happen regardless.
Then there is the heartbreaking “simple failure.” Whether your product just simply doesn’t sell, you run out of money, you end up not being able to do it because it’s too hard or maybe your product doesn’t even work. Who knows? No one that’s the point, you’re taking a risk. You just have to decide if it’s a risk worth taking.
If it is a risk you’re willing to take, the guide says there are three critical things to focus on: team, product and market.
Team being how great your team and the people who work on the startup or company are. Will your team be able to execute the things that need to get done?
Product being the quality of the product you are selling or developing. How impressive is your product and will it attract people?
Market being the size of the audience you’re selling to. Is your market big enough and sustainable enough that you will maintain a steady profit and enough profit to pay for your team and product?
The guide says that market is the most essential. It is imperative that there are lots of real potential customers. The market doesn’t need to like the team. It just needs you have to have a viable product. IF you do, the market will run toward you.
On the other hand, if you have a terrible market, you could have a great team and the best product and you still don’t do well because there are no consumers.
At the end though you strive for all, try to make each element the best you can and then you have the best chance at being successful. So yes, its hard, yes there will be bumps in the road, yes its long hours, but at the end of the day if you are passionate and have dedication you can be successful.
An example of this working in media is Voices of Monterey Bay. As reported in NiemanLab, the founders of this California journalism nonprofit found a gap in the market but are also passionate about making a difference and giving voice to people who were previously ignored.
Prepare yourself. Work hard. Be passionate. Succeed.