Self-imposed work-hours, no superiors, exciting projects, fast success and, ideally, riches! That is what most founders dream of when they think of launching their own company. Even if we Germans tend towards the safety-first principle, more and more ambitious talents dare to become self-employed.
Okay, the Covid-19 crisis has made a small dent into the increasing numbers of newly launched company in Germany (11% less registered company launches in 2020). Despite the decline, the state-owned business development bank KfW registered around 537.000 new businesses last year. In the region of Ostwestfalen-Lippe alone, we count over 120 startups that were launched in the past 5 years. And more are coming.
If you see these developments and the opportunites that your own company can bring, are you itching to get started with your business idea? To quite your to 9 to 5 job and pour all your heart and energy into your business? Then you should be careful. It is not that rosy! The road to your own startup is anything but easy. To launch your own company means unflinching commitment, endurance, working 24/7 for your own idea, and dealing with setbacks. That is not a job for everyone. According to KfW study, a third of all founders fail within the first 36 months.
That’s why we want to show you which mindset a successful entrepreneur needs, which skills they need, and what makes a strong business idea – so that you can learn step-by-step how to launch your own startup.
Learn to Launch #1: Do You Have an Entrepreneurial Mindset?
An entrepreneurial mindset is the foundation of successful self-employment. Before you roll up your sleeves and get started, think about your attitude and your mindset. Talking from 5 years experience with different types of personalities, we have learned that the following traits make a entrepreneur; RISK PROPENSITY, SELF-ASSURANCE, RESILIENCE, and a VISIONARY MINDSET.
- RISK PROPENSITY
As a founder, you say goodbye to the well-structured world of the employee. Working hours, salary, responsibilities – none of it is clear-cut in the beginning. Especially the financial uncertainty is a stumbling block for many talents looking to launch their own company. You should know that you might experience a long period of financial insecurity at the start of your startup journey. Is that something you can live with?
Only those who are convinced of their idea and are able to sell the idea convincingly, will also be able to do so. A healthy dose of self-assurance is an important pre-requisite. You should not mistake arrogance for self-assurance. Presumptuousness kills your career quicker than you can say “My idea is the best one”. That’s why you should take care to acquire a healthy mixture of humility and self-assurance.
Generally, resilience describes the mental ability to deal with difficult and taxing situations. We can guarantuee you that you will encounter many of these situations during your startup journey. Ask yourself if you can deal with hurdles that keep popping up and new stress factors constantly appearing. Those who burn for their ideas can easily burn out. Founders are especially prone to mental health issues and often experience burnout.
- VISIONARY MINDSET
As a founder, you will most likely only succeed with your startup if you can think big and visionary. Which does not mean that you have to re-invent the wheel with your business idea. Quite the opposite. Most often, it’s a new idea in well-known sectors that can effect immense change. A thought to note down: Who focuses on the future can build a future-oriented, scalable company in the present.
Learning to Launch #2: Do You Already Have an Entrepreneurial Skillset?
Even if soft skills form the foundation for your company and your passion about your project might trump any theoretical knowledge, there are a few hard skills you should look at. This particularly includes basic business knowledge about financing, taxation, legal aspects, marketing, and sales. Do not panic just yet. You do not need a degree in economics to launch a company. Much of what you need you will acquire on the go. The startup launch period is an incredibly instructional time. You will make hundres of mistakes and, hopefully, learn from them how to propel you and your startup forward.
LEARNING THE BASICS
First, ask yourself if you have the right mindset and right motivation to start a new chapter in your career. If you have laid that foundation, you will need the aformentioned hard skills. But how do you get them without acquiring a master’s degree in economics? There are many training courses and programs outside of full-time university training. We from the Founders Foundation have created the Startup School for that purpose to teach you the relevant skills in 10 weeks time. Crash courses and community events will give you the necessary foundation and help you find potential co-founders on top.
Learning to Launch #3: Do You Already Have a Business Idea?
You are highly motivated, you have the right mindset, and you possibly already have some basics in business management? Then you have all the right tools to launch your own startup. But … just a moment, what do even you want to do? Some founders first have a great business idea which leads them to launch a company, others dream of their own company but are still missing a business idea.
What’s true in both cases: If you already have an idea you are passionate about, scrutinize it first. If you are still sitting at your desk in front of a blank paper, validate possible ideas from multiple vantage points. Not every business idea, no matter how unique and innovative, automatically leads to a successful company.
Do you keep asking yourself what this validation thing is and how you can challenge your business idea? Our Startup School provides you with all the necessary insights.
As a founder, you should always focus on the USP (unique selling proposition) during the validation phase of your idea. Ask yourself: What is it that makes your idea unique? The first important milestone of your launch is going to be the so-called Problem-Solution-Fit which indicates how well your business idea fits on the market and how it solves a real problem for your target group. Your idea must pass the Problem-Solution-Fit threshold, otherwise it will most likely not lead to success.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Now you know that you need the right entrepreneurial mindset to launch a company. Do you have that mindset? Maybe already a business idea and the will to learn all the hard skills? Start your journey with us und apply for Startup School.
Ready for Startup School?
Develop your business idea and find the perfect co-founder in our 10-week program.
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