(By Jelika Calderon)
“In the early stages of a new venture, and particularly for first-time entrepreneurs, you need to test your capacity for growth. Set the bar high and keep raising it—it’s how you will learn. Test assumptions, and know when to stop and shift gears. You should always be thinking strategically, as far as three to five years out“.
Aspiring entrepreneurs are faced with the challenge of coming up with a unique vision that sets their company apart from the rest. Although hatching a creative idea for a potential business is no easy feat, transforming that same idea into a product is even more difficult.
To find out how entrepreneurs can develop and refine their ideas for possible future businesses, we asked a few experts what they learned from launching a startup.
Sophia Bilynsky, founder and creative director of Alleycat Designs, tells us:
1. Pursue Your Passions and Interests
Discover what you’re truly passionate about. It will sustain you during challenging periods that will inevitably test your commitment. Whether you are driven by financial gain or creative growth, you have to find satisfaction in the work you do as an entrepreneur.
2. Build Positive Relationships and Reach Out When Necessary
Develop strong, positive relationships with your colleagues and clients. Your business is built on your reputation. And don’t be afraid to seek advice from other professionals in your field.
Understanding the challenges of launching a startup, John Peterson, co-founder and head of product development at Firehawk Creative, helps entrepreneurs on a daily basis. He shares some advice with us:
3. Think About What Needs Improvement in Your Industry
When I first got into the startup world, I didn’t have a developer, and I didn’t know where to go for help. I didn’t understand how difficult it was at the time, but I now know what obstacles are met when starting a new company.
4. Keep an Open Mind
The most important thing is to be flexible and willing to learn because if you have a closed mind, you will miss a lot of opportunities. People will be willing to help if you’re open. Be able to receive feedback and use it for future improvement.
Samantha Trinh, startup advisor and founder of Ennovae & Co., suggests:
5. Have Capacity for Growth
In the early stages of a new venture, and particularly for first-time entrepreneurs, you need to test your capacity for growth. Set the bar high and keep raising it—it’s how you will learn. Test assumptions, and know when to stop and shift gears. You should always be thinking strategically, as far as three to five years out.
6. Draw Inspiration From Brands and Companies You Respect
Build a community of loyal followers. Differentiate yourself, your brand, and your company. Your personal brand and integrity should be as strong as your company’s brand. Pull from elements of brands and companies that you respect.
Richard Boehmcke, creative director of Vibrant Motion, advises:
7. Avoid Perpetual Planning
You can theorize a cake for as long as you want, but you’ll never know how it tastes until you bake one. The same thing goes for starting a business. You can refine an idea a million times before you actually work on it, but you reach a point where you start doing more harm than good. You get paralyzed and stuck in a circle of thinking instead of doing.
8. Don’t Let the Fear of Failure Hold You Back
You won’t know what mistakes you’ll make until you make them. Ask yourself if your desire to do something is greater than your fear of attempting it. Then go make something wonderful.
Although taking the initial steps toward launching a new company might seem difficult, keeping these strategies in mind will help smooth the transition from developing a creative vision to building future businesses.