Creating a startup if you are not a kid
Experts say that your twenties are the perfect life stage to acquire habits, make long-lasting friendships and channel your work expectations.
Nevertheless, even if you have reached your thirties (or you are way past them) and have never worked in the online sector, it is not too late to enter the market that has turned the global economy upside down - startups and tech companies.
A reality check: what nobody tells you.
There are plenty of success stories online. It is not difficult to find stories such as “From a blog about knitting to a wool empire” or “How I turned a stock of tires into a business worth more than 500 million euros”.
Sometimes they are true, but you must bear in mind that many of these companies with an exciting history were born when the internet was a wasteland and anyone who started a business could lead the market as long as they did their job reasonably well. Colonizing the internet in its beginnings made headlines that hinted at the American dream, but today the online channel is a hypercompetitive market, with consolidated sectors and leaders that are just as powerful as they are offline.
However, startups are still one of the investments with the highest profitability as they operate at frenetic speed and changes within them happen faster than in organizations that make decisions.
If you are thinking of creating your startup or taking your company to the digital channel, it is imperative that you take the first steps hand in hand with a consolidated and experienced team. Critical stages such as choosing a business model, deciding how to monetize or calculating a reasonable market share for the first year will be decisions to face before starting to program so as not to waste money, time or energy.
Make your experience count
Until now, the common image has been that of a small team starting off in a garage, where most of them are engineers and one of them is also a business visionary. That sum of vision and technology leads to a digital revolution that is born in a garage and quickly reaches colorful, modern offices resembling an amusement park thanks to some gentlemen with ties and a gray aura that made significant investments.
Hoodies and entertaining offices are not a must for a startup to succeed.
As you are already dealing with gray hair, you feel more like those people who invest rather than those who work in offices with a slide. Nonetheless, you want to be in the place of those who change the world because you are sure that your idea makes sense, you know the product and you trust the instinct you built up upon years of experience.
The good news is that sweatshirts and entertaining offices are not a must for a startup to succeed. Innovation and great ideas are not the exclusive heritage of anyone. Surrounding yourself with people who have been through this before can make a difference to your online project being successful and becoming a startup - with all the advantages that experience can give.
What options do kids have?
For someone who wants to launch a startup today the options are varied, but they all have in common overly restrictive mentorship as well as team building dynamics that leave success or failure to luck depending on how the startup members fit together.
This can be reasonable if the entrepreneur cannot rely on economic resources and needs a space, mentorship and help with areas that he is not knowledgeable about (financial, technical, marketing...). However, for someone who has already had a company or a career in the corporate world, it may be an experience too similar to university.
This type of spaces seeks profitability in exchange for helping startups with the potential to take their first steps. However, they get compensated for it in that they force the entrepreneur to go through many stages prior to entering the market. What's more, they impose criteria, authorize operations or determine the trajectory of the company so that the operation is most profitable for those who invested in it at the beginning. This is done to ensure that they meet the targets that will give them the most benefits (something pretty normal, it is the way they do business). When you have some experience or have pulled off business projects before, going through this itinerary can be frustrating and tedious. It can also make you feel like it is other people who are leading the way in the company that you have created.
The main spaces to resort to in order to launch a startup without investments or without specific knowledge are, among others:
- Business incubators: They are companies that take on board projects in the pre-seed or seed phase - that is, the stage that begins when the business model is laid out and an action plan and a clear value proposition are defined, and ends when the company is launched on the market and validated. In exchange for that, the incubator takes a stake of the company or other forms of participation. In return, they offer work space, guidance and mentoring, resources or monetary investment, although the latter is becoming less and less frequent in such early stages. There are also incubators that have business interests in a sector or superior knowhow and therefore focus on a market niche or on a specific technology.
- Business accelerators: They are companies with the same format as the previous ones, but they are dedicated to startups that have already entered the market and are making a profit, that is, startups that are seeking to stabilize and grow as quickly as possible. The investments here are larger, with real metrics that allow to make projections based on certain historical data.
- University or business school startup hubs: These spaces are increasingly common and come into existence at the initiative of universities (public or private) or business schools. It is important for universities to position themselves within the entrepreneurship ecosystem as it donates additional prestige to their learning offer.
- Build a team of independent professionals : The different phases that a startup goes through can be covered by hiring professionals for each area. While it can be an alternative if you have the resources to invest and the money to pay the fees charged by a business person, plus a branding agency, plus an interface designer, a programmer, etc., it may require a much higher investment than planned, other than your time and energy (in addition to money) to direct and coordinate everything.
What can you do when you can invest money, but not time?
In the options given above, the entrepreneur must do everything by himself with the maximum possible help, even if that means handing over part of his company from the very beginning. If you can't invest much for now, we suggest that you start by using one of the above options.
It could be the other way round - you cannot see yourself starting your project in any of the spaces mentioned earlier. We understand you. Maybe you are already running another business or you have a demanding job that you don't want to leave (... yet ;) ). Or perhaps you are not thrilled at the idea of giving up your independence before you know it.
There is an alternative to all of the above - a completely new concept, although only suitable for entrepreneurs who can invest. It is a perfect option for those who want to create an online business that breaks the mold, but cannot devote a significant amount of time to it.
The concept is named Startups ready to grow. Companies like Jekyll offer this service. The entrepreneur only has to give a starting point and Jekyll will take care of shaping it, making it viable, giving it an image and developing it in order to launch it on the market, ready to make it grow.
But how do they manage to model, design and develop an online business with the same passion that an entrepreneur would have if he did it himself? The secret lies in being able to replicate the environment and internal processes of a startup with the same passion and ambition as if it were for themselves, despite doing it for others. 4 different teams with hyperspecialized profiles, guided by a common vision agreed with the entrepreneur and shared from the beginning.
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