Startup your own company? Not always a good idea, only sometimes
“Eureka! I have an idea that will for sure change the world!” — The one sentence we know the majority of Israeli entrepreneurs have thought of or will in the future.
Not for nothing Israel’s second name is the “Country of Ideas”. But ideas, are exactly that, mere ideas, that have nothing to do with the real world until “wait, now what?” comes along.
While most fail to cope with the imminent uncertainty, others overcome, fight and “surprisingly” manage to succeed in making their idea real. These people live to tell their tale and inspire all of us who haven’t grown the guts (yet).
In our recent event “From an Idea to a Million Dollar Company” Hybrid, in collaboration with NGT3, BizTEC and Microsoft, came together to convince you that it’s not impossible.
To do so, we invited 3 speakers all of which have survived the “entrepreneurship dilemma”: Rami Younes, Co-Founder of MindoLife; Mahmoud Kaiyal, Founder & CEO of Wikaya; and Zohar Gendler, CEO of NGT3. They discussed their paths to success, changes of direction, challenges along the way, perseverance, and their dreams and aspirations for the future.
Based on their discussion and to make things easier for you, here are 5 things to have in mind when turning your idea into a company:
1. Assemble a team.
Assembling the right team is one of the most important factors of a startup’s success according to Mahmoud Kaiyal, founder and CEO of Wikaya. Figuring out the technology behind the product is something that everyone can do. What differentiates a successful startup from the rest of the herd is the proper management of both the company and its manpower, two things which shape the workplace culture and impacts the success of the company for years to come.
“But wait! Where do I find the right team?” You may ask.
The search starts in your natural social circles. “In my case, one of my current partners is the dad of my daughter’s friend in kindergarten. The other two partners are people I used to work together with on a past venture.” Says Rami Younes, Co-Founder of MindoLife.
Remind yourself who you enjoyed working with or who made a good impression on you, someone that has or may have the skills your venture needs, someone who will “complete” you (and we don’t mean romantically).
2. The road from an idea to an actual product is bumpy, full of sharp curves and may not lead to Rome.
You may think the way your idea looks in your wild dreams will look exactly the same in reality. Well, think twice. The moment you start testing the technology, building the product, and understanding the needs of the market, you will most probably have to adjust, redesign, rethink, or even change the whole idea.
Success doesn’t necessarily occur based solely on the strength of one’s idea or product, but rather on the ability of your team to adapt to new realities. Venture capitalists fund teams not business plans, as they know that these plans can change by the hour as market conditions transform and new opportunities are born. They look for a solid team that can make adjustments and quickly pivot when the need arises.
3. Don’t forget the human capital.
Zohar Gendler, CEO of the venture capital NGT3, refers to the human factor as the number one reason for failure among startups nowadays. According to Gendler, the chances of overcoming technological difficulties and adjusting to market changes are higher among startups with a high “human capital”. Nevertheless, we do not solely refer to employees but also the importance of finding the right investors.
When investors decide to invest in your startup they become a part of the company. Even though their role varies each time — whether they are active or passive influencers, or mainly shareholders — one still needs to work with them closely and fluidly.
The second most important thing entrepreneurs should be aware of is the convergence of interests inside their team. Specific goals and targets should be set, tactics and strategies established, and all properly communicated throughout the company. For a boat to sail smoothly into far away lands, you need the smooth coordination of all its members.
4. We live in a world of rapid and constant change.
Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no Oracle you can go to that will tell you the future. We can never accurately predict what and when something will happen in a specific field or market that could change completely how things work today. Due to the rapid pace of globalization and incredible technology advancements, uncertainty rules in today’s world.
The way to solve this conundrum, in Gendler’s opinion, is to invest in startups that work in horizontal markets, those that meet the needs of a broad range of people or that provide currently nonexistent solutions to existing problems in the market.
5. Consider new horizons.
USA and Europe are clearly the number one target for Israeli startups. Israel’s strong economic and politic ties with both world powers and years of mutual cooperation, may explain why Israeli startups are naturally drawn to the West. Nevertheless, there are other markets, closer to home and that are still waiting to be explored, were opportunities lie ahead for the Israeli entrepreneur.
One example is the Arab market — a market with lots of potential, not only due the number of consumers and clients, but mainly because it is still considered terra nullius in most fields. To illustrate, 4.7% of internet users are Arabic speakers while only 1% of internet content is in Arabic. In a way, the Arab market is a missed opportunity for Israeli entrepreneurs.
For all of you that don’t speak Arabic or other uncommon languages, don’t hesitate! According to Kayal, if you are able to create and provide a solid value proposition, people tend not to care what is your background or what is your nationality. As long as you’re bringing something new and valuable to the users and investors, your personal life will be less of an interest.
Last and most important — love what you do! Today, entrepreneurs are the force that brings change to the world, many times insignificant, sometimes valuable and remarkable. To do so you don’t need to wait until you have funding, cool office space or a fabulous logo. All you need is passion. Be passionate, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to reach out. It will cost you only your time- and if you ask us, it would be time well spent.