TRYING TO BUILD a startup is torture. You work 100-hour weeks and in the early stages the only turnover you do is in your bed at night because you are so stressed out.
There is no glamour, glory or cocktails – just pain. More often than not the startup life is more of a ‘can I borrow two euro to buy beans’ type of lifestyle.
So why do it? Why do something where there is a 95%-plus chance that the company you are trying to build will fail after a year? Why risk not getting paid, not taking that ‘good, steady job’?
It’s simple. You see a future other people don’t see. You see a future others don’t see and you believe you and your team can make that future a reality.
But don’t pat yourself on the back yet. It’s a good start but that is all it is. Many people will tell you your view of the future or ‘big idea’ is great (to your face) until it comes to handing over money for it.
Why? Because ideas are worthless and people are kind.
To illustrate my point I’ll tell the tale of person A and person B, who had the same idea at the same time in different locations.
Person A goes on to build a team and persevere through incredibly tough times for three years, subsequently building a successful global business. Person B quits after a week, goes for a pint and forgets about the idea.
The lesson here is that execution is the only thing that matters in startups.
Talk to people
There is one free and potentially even enjoyable way to make executing the development of your startup from idea to real-life company. Some people call it networking but I like to call it what it is: talking to people.
Every critical external party for your startup – customers, partners and investors – all have one thing in common. They are human beings with ears and mouths just like ourselves.
Luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you prepare by having a very clear and concise way of communicating your startup and know the type of people you need to help move your business forward at any given point in time, then all you need is opportunities to meet these people.
Increase your startup’s luck by increasing the number of opportunities you get – ie network more. Go to all relevant events and meet-ups. Go to hackathons, go to mixers.
You could have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t get out there and speak to the relevant people about it you will end up like poor old person B. Know what you need and be confident, but most importantly be non-transactional.
You may meet someone today who can’t help you or vice versa, but in three years they may be the person that you need to introduce to that one investor or potential client. So be authentic and make a contact not a LinkedIn connection.
You never know where opportunities lie so it’s important to get out there and ‘connect’ with people as they say in the states. If you prepare then you can directly increase your business network, connections, support and success simply by talking to more people.
James Foody is the CEO and co-founder of Cork- and California-based startup Ayda.
Cork’s Local Enterprise Offices recently launched a new networking event for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30.
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