We interviewed our Startup School Program Director Dr. Jan Brinckmann and asked him what advice he would give someone who wants to start their own startup.
Jan, let’s assume I want to launch a startup, right now. What advice would you give me? How do I find a working business idea?
I would encourage you to take time to reflect – in which area do you already have professional expertise? Which sector are you passionate about? And: In which sector have you been working for some time?
Use the knowledge you already have. If you personally don’t have that kind of knowledge, maybe there is a co-founder, someone from your family or your circle of friends who has a deep understanding of how things work in that sector and who can help you find a direction that feels more exciting to you.
What happens after I have found that supposedly amazing startup idea?
My advice: Use that idea to start a project and don’t immediately rush off to launch a company. Evaluate your idea by getting into contact with your intended customers. Venture out into the world, find out whether your idea really hits a pain point in that sector – and whether that pain point is painful enough that people are willing to pay for your solution. That’s really interesting to find out.
Another aspect is the level of ambition you apply to your project. I like to focus on launching fast-growing companies. That’s important when thinking about the scalability of your activities. So, take your first idea, make that into a project and test it. After, try to quickly build that into a large and and influential company.
Another thing you should be focussing on when you are still working alone on your idea: Find a really good co-founder; someone who complements your skills. If you are really into marketing and distribution, you should find a technically-inclined co-founder who is passionate about your idea and can help you develop the technology.
Jan, in your experience – when is the best time to launch a company?
There is no perfect moment! There will always be something that is not quite right or something that is more important. That’s why I recommend not to start with a giant company but with a little project, something that you are passionate about, right NOW.
Find out where that project might lead you. Maybe, you don’t want to start just one project but two or three at the same time, to test your ideas. Maybe, you will find someone you can work with in the process.
Another common misconception people have is that you need to be super young, like Mark Zuckerberg, to launch a startup or start a project. Personally, I have discovered that very strong founders launch exciting companies in their 30s or 40s.
So, launch one or two projects and see how it goes.
Dr. Jan Brinckmann
Dr. Jan Brinckmann is an Associate Professor for Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the Esade in Barcelona. He is also an active Business Angels for several startups, among which are several companies which have emerged from our programs. We are grateful that Jan has been with us from the very beginning as a supporter and program manager for our education formats.
You want to launch your own startup?
Then apply for our Startup School and learn from our top experts how you can transform your business idea into a successful company.