You have an idea. You want to come out of the corporate world and work on what you are passionate about. But you are still weighing all the possibilities. Hang on right there where you are. Before you take the revolutionary step, this might be something which will help you out as you consider taking the leap in starting your own business.
In this interview, Muhammad Malik, London based Social Entrepreneur, Startup Coach and the founder of many Startups share 7 key strategies he learned from his experience of failure and success of his Startups. He called them “SERVICE”. Let’s go through his 7 Keys, ie S-E-R-V-I-C-E.
S stands for Self: Malik says that “The journey starts with our self, looking at ourselves and our essence.” He says like the Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed Yusef once mentioned how we’re all in essence entrepreneurs. If we look at our ancestors we were actually Baker’s, farmers, salespeople it’s in our human tradition to be entrepreneurs. So just looking at surnames like Fisher, for example, is quite self-explanatory.
E stands for Ego: It is really unfortunate to see that so many startups are based on the wants and egos of their founders. This mindset of entrepreneurs is like a recipe for disaster because ego driven entrepreneurs fall victim to shiny object syndrome. So increasing your self-awareness through meditation or being present and mindful in your work can save you from falling into this kind of ego traps.
You should have a clarity of your vision and your end user. One should be careful not to let your ego get in the way as a lot of entrepreneurs have to become a jack-of-all-trades in a startup environment. Realize that every job is your job until you build a procedure which helps you to automate and then outsource. Keep the ego to the side for the sake of your business and for the sake of your customers.
R stands for Routine and Research: “For every entrepreneur, it is important to develop a productive fool proof daily routine. Start the day off with gratitude and focus on your MIT (Most Important Tasks) during the first hour of your day.
For those who are considering to launch their startup, a really good method is the side hustle approach, splitting your day between nine-to-five and 5:00 to 9:00. So from the nine-to-five, you stay focused on your day job though it may be tempting to think about your creative ideas and stuff. And then from five to nine you purely focus on your side hustle it may be an eight to six or a 6 to 9 depending on your job.
V stands for Value: Value is like Richard Branson said is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better. Develop an idea that’s focused on providing value or service and some questions to trigger your idea. What do your friends, family, colleagues ask you for help with, what are you the go-to person for? What topics do you find yourself randomly reading around during work and what services and products do you regularly consume and how do you think they can improve, those are your ideas basically.
I stand for Incorporate: Even it is just ‘you’ running the business, run it like an organization. You should have a marketing strategy, budget, cash flow and decide how will you fund your idea. Audit yourself and your company. You should look at yourself like different departments, for example, you should constantly research, develop and test your business model under research and development. He advises never to downplay any CSR activities which are essentially free PR and it’s something that is essential for your spirit as an entrepreneur as well as for corporate social responsibility.
C stands for Continuous learning: According to Malik ‘continuous learning’ through kind of trial and error and rapid experimentation, redefining the problem is where the magic happens and separates the onetrepreneur from the true entrepreneurs.
E stands of End Goal: The last but it is arguably the most essential point is, knowing your end goal. You need that why you need that vision, you need that purpose to get you through that grind. As Steve Jobs once said in an interview with the Smithsonian Institute unless you have a lot of passion about this you’re not going to survive. That hard work, failure and emotional roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship. You need to have that idea or a wrong that you want to make it right, otherwise, you’re going to give it up.
To sum it up, there are 3 things you can take away from his 7 keys, the beginning is always with yourself. Assess yourself, what you are passionate about, your “why” and if your idea has not kicked off yet, it is best to adopt the side hustle approach. Split your time. Focus on your 9-5 and then maximize your second half which is your 5-9. Finally, testing your idea. As Gary V puts it, going out there and doing it. So rapid experimentation keeping your why in mind and also splitting your time are the main takeaways of the 7 keys to startup success and what you need to know before taking the leap.