Got an idea? Great – but you need more than that to become a successful entrepreneur. You need passion, dedication, a clear objective and a whole lot of expertise.
Avid Larizadeh Duggan, a successful young professional with a stellar CV, is going to teach us everything we need to know. If you’ve heard the name before, it’s probably because we’re speaking about the only female General Partner of the prestigious Google Venture, the arm of Google working to identify and seal the deal on investment in the most exciting European start-ups.
It’s a role that suits Larizadeh Duggan down to the ground, partly thanks to her past as a start-upper: she co-founded Boticca, an online jewellery and accessories store with a focus on unconventional fashion. The business was later sold to online fashion giant Wolf & Badger.
So who better than her to lend some advice to young entrepreneurs eager to launch their own start-ups and embark on a successful future career?
Here are her seven key tips to follow on the road to success!
1. A revolutionary idea
Got an idea? Great – but you need more than that to become a successful entrepreneur. We know what you’re thinking: we’ve already said this. But it’s worth repeating loud and clear, because this is a fundamental starting point if you’re looking to launch a profitable start-up. Your idea needs to be a revolutionary one, something capable of changing the lives of your target audience for the better. Don’t focus on making small improvements to the status quo – aim higher. Just take a look at some of the small start-ups that have grown into legendary companies in recent times. Airbnb revolutionised the way we find a place to stay. Groupon changed the nature of shopping forever. Waze solved the problem of road traffic in a social, interactive way. Uber sent shockwaves through the world of transport. Facile.it – an Italian company – blew the cobwebs from a stale sector like insurance and made it youthful, dynamic and convenient. Make sure that you’re truly solving a profound need for your customer – this will help you win their loyalty and become part of their purchasing behaviour.
2. Sustainability is key
Launching yourself into the unknown may be exciting, but it’s definitely risky. If you’re planning on being successful, you can’t afford to see your idea crash and burn just because you’ve underestimated the rules of business.
So what do you need to do? Weigh up all the variables closely and produce an accurate business plan whose every point is well-defined: fixed and variable costs, legislation and tax analysis, pricing and operating margin.
In other words, you can’t leave anything to chance when it comes to founding a company. No to improvisation, yes to prudence: that’s the only way to make your business sustainable and profitable.
3. Form a successful board
If you want something done, do it yourself? Not in the world of the start-up. During the initial phase of your entrepreneurial life, you’re definitely going to need both investors and trusted, specialist advisors – in other words, a well-qualified board. Choose the board members carefully, keeping diversity in mind – there must be a broad mix of different and complementary skills. Evaluate their experience in other successful ventures and, most importantly, build up a rapport based on complete transparency and confidence. And don’t be afraid of asking their advice and using them any time you need to: the success of your idea depends on the participation of the whole team.
Now is the perfect time to stop and reflect on what we’ve learnt so far. Make a note of Avid Larizadeh Duggan’s first three tips and put your mind to work on them.
When you’ve got to grip with these first three points, you’ll be ready to continue your development with another four tips which will help you become the great entrepreneurs of the future.