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New year's resolutions for founders

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Rebecca Stockdale

Startup Consultant

Updated 08 February 18

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This time of year always brings introspection and plans for change. The stress of trying to fit a never ending list of chores in whilst managing hangovers, the indulgence of the festive period, and the feeling of ending another year very much the same as the last make us crave difference.

 

We make New Year’s Resolutions as a promise to ourselves of modification, progression and optimism to get through the cold dark months before the sunshine of spring.


Throughout 2007 Professor Richard Wiseman, from University of Bristol, carried out a study of 3,000 people to track the success of resolutions made. Despite 52% of people feeling confident they would achieve their goals, only 12% of participants succeeded. During the study, differences were found between men, women and their approaches to the process.

 

Men were 22% more successful when they set specific goals or focussed on the rewards associated with goals. The women were 10% more likely to reach their goal when they told their friends and family, taking on words of encouragement and showing resilience when they reverted to old habits.


Startups have a similar level of failure rate with 90% not achieving their goals. Then again, they have a big ask. Startups are specifically entrepreneur led ventures which grow fast once momentum is achieved. They meet a known demand with an innovative service, product or digital platform and are investor backed. This provides the ability to grow with the expectation of an excellent return on investment. For this reason, startups require a fast to market approach and rapid iteration of functionality to meet the needs of their adoring users.


In a similar vein to Prof. Wiseman, we follow simple steps at We Are Nova to increase your chances of startup success. With this in mind, here are our New Year’s Resolutions to help you, a potential founder, be more fruitful in 2018.

 

Be more inquisitive

The key to a successful startup is solving a problem which you’ve identified or experienced. You may face the issue personally, or have spotted a need which isn’t currently being serviced appropriately. You need to become a domain expert or befriend one to ensure you understand why the status quo exists and what you can do to change it. You should know the marketplace, competitors’ USPs, and how you can stand out to make users love you.

 


Share your problems 

The first step towards a winning startup is finding others who face  the same problem and feel it acutely enough to want to help you solve it and/or pay for the solution. You should never be afraid of speaking to others about your thoughts. The reinforcement of their shared pain and additional knowledge they bring to the table is invaluable.


Once you have understood your target users’ need and considered all the options of how to solve this, you can discuss your solution. As tempting as it is you must never lead with your solution as you will influence their opinion. Plus, you’re highly likely to change your mind once you know all the facts.

 

Be more focussed

A startup is time consuming and requires dedication. To ensure you can get to market in an efficient manner and take advantage of competitive edge, you need to make interactions count, utilise contacts and create traction.


You need to learn the framework and techniques to make your assumptions concrete, focus on the right functionality and truly understand what users want. Most importantly, you need to focus on the one problem you can’t stop thinking about. This will be a long but extremely rewarding journey, so it is essential you dedicate yourself to the one problem which has bewitched you.

 


Spend more time with old friends and make new ones

The life of a founder can be a lonely one and you will need a sounding board to help you make decisions. Find yourself a complementary co-founder to share the journey; someone you know, trust and who’s skills you are in awe of to share the load.


We would also suggest you come and speak to us. We Are Nova can offer you funding, so you can run your startup alongside your current job. We’ll also provide you with a specialist team of Startup Consultants, Designers, Product Owners, Developers, and Marketeers to manage your build. We will guide you through the process, get your product to market and support you until you can hire a team of your own. Our advice and guidance is invaluable on your journey, and will help you understand what skills you need around you once the business is ready to hire.

 

So what’s stopping you? Are you ready to make 2018 the year where your hopes and plans for change stick?

All you need to get started is the problem your solving, your understanding of the market need, a potential solution and evidence that others also recognise the problem.  

 

 

For support and guidance, sign up for our free mentorship.

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