Interestingly, most startups failed, not because someone stole the idea from the initiator or originator, but because the founders were afraid of having their ideas stolen while carrying out market research. Hence, leapfrog to the launch stage. Some business ideas may be the first to solve market problems in a sector or a market, such as Snapchat while some may be a result of iterations off existing startups such as Facebook. Note, before Facebook, there were Hi5 and Myspace. In Nigeria, before the rise of indigenous driven mobile payment solutions such as Paga, Fluttawave, there was a VISA, Western Union just to mention a few.
The most important build-up to a startup launch should be doing market research. Time should be invested in market research and knowing your market well enough. If the startup idea is business2consumer (B2C), create constructive criticism and feedbacks channels from the potential customers, carry out a SWOT analysis of the sector, historical analysis, cost and benefit analysis, and demand perception.
If the startup idea is a business2business (B2B), identify your potential clients, prepare a questionnaire or conduct an interview to measure perception, check if there is a competitor, identify the strength and weakness of the competitor, Iterate and differentiate.
While you are conducting market research, you may be afraid that someone may steal your startup idea before you launch, do not be afraid, be more afraid of people starting early and failing. More than 90 percent of start-ups failed because of the eagerness to launch. Eureka, I have found this great idea, first of its kind, went straight to launch and then failed. The next thing a copycat came, did thorough market research and then succeed.
Be afraid of losing your customers, because if you lose all your customers, you are out of business. Be more customer-centric. A great example of a customer-centric startup is Amazon. In an interview, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon shares a unique experience. In 1997, when Barnes & Noble opened its online website to compete against Amazon, it was a tough time. There was panic everywhere, in the press, including among the staffs at Amazon, there were speculations that Amazon is going to be out of business soon.
Jeff Bezos called an all-hands meeting consisting of 125 people and said to them “Look, you know, it is ok to be afraid, but don’t be afraid of our competitors, because they are never going to send us any money. Be afraid of our customers. And if we just stay focused on them, instead of obsessing over this big competitor that we just got, we will be fine.”
The main focus should only be on satisfying them but not just satisfying them, delight your customers. Make your customers part of the growth, story, and excitement about the future of your business.
Here a short recap of the above paragraphs:
Do not be rushed to launching your startup ideas, do your market research well
Do not be afraid of losing your business Idea, be afraid of losing your potential customers. Be customer focus.
Wish you a successful and remarkable growth in your business idea.
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Adetunji Bolorunduro – contributor
Adetunji has expertise in Business Strategy, Business Development and Chinese Investments in Africa. He writes regularly for Richtopia, Africa Business Chamber of Commerce among others.