This Friday, The Startup Equation will hit the shelves. Today’s post gives you the chance to download Chapter 4 from the book for free so you can get a head start on your personal equation.
The world is an amazing place filled with talented people doing incredible things. I saw this firsthand on a recent trip to South Africa with my wife Ja-Naé. From the townships to the cities, we were on the ground working with dedicated entrepreneurs.
I loved seeing how much we had in common with these inspiring men and women. We normally live and work on two different continents. But we share the same desire: we want to build something.
For almost five years, Ja-Naé and I have been talking about what it means to be an entrepreneur. The Startup Equation is the result of those conversations.
At first, we weren’t sure these chicken scratches on the back of a napkin amounted to anything. Could we take the journey of building a business and craft an equation to help would-be entrepreneurs?
We started with three big concepts: 1) build the foundation; 2) craft the experience; and 3) grow the dream. All three are key to both developing a business idea and turning it into something real. We identified elements in each of these areas that entrepreneurs can pick-and-choose from to create their own equations.
Let’s start with the foundation. You need to understand what materials are available. First, what kind of entrepreneur are you? Based on all the available research and our own experiences, we identified nine types. Second, what kind of idea do you have? What’s your vision for your business? Finally, what’s the business solution you’ll use to build your dream?
Now we move into the second part of the equation. What kind of experience do you want for your customers? It starts with the team. Maybe you’re a solo founder, but many entrepreneurs need a co-founder for balance and expertise. After that, who do you hire next? These early decisions can have a big impact on your future business. With those hires come the need to define your business culture, too.
With your team and culture in place, it’s time to devote some attention to the customer experience. What kind of experience do you want for your customers? How you define your brand will also play a role in the experience. Are you fun and cheeky like Sophia Amoruso’s Nasty Gal or cutting edge like Apple or sophisticated and refined like Rolex? Understanding how all these elements work together and what makes sense for your business will help you craft the kind of experience that keeps people coming back for more.
We wrap up with equation with all the elements that make growing a new business possible. For instance, very few of us are independently wealthy, so our businesses will need funding from one or many sources. Then there’s the need to market and sell your product or service. Not every business can succeed by word-of-mouth alone. You’ll need money and a plan.
The next piece involves deciding how to scale your business and understanding the necessity of ongoing innovation. Last, but not least, are the X-factors that can be tricky to define, but can make or break a startup.
All of these pieces come together to form the Startup Equation. And throughout the two weeks we spent in Africa, we saw entrepreneurs living this equation that started on the back of napkin.
If you’re ready to start building your own equation, you can get a head start today by downloading Chapter 4 from our new book The Startup Equation. In it, you’ll learn more details about the Startup Equation and the first ever periodic table of startup elements. When you’re ready to share, use the hashtag#startupequation and post your custom equation.
This column originally appeared at LinkedIn on January 22, 2016. Image by Ja-Nae Duane.