You have the idea in your head. You’ve been turning it over for a while but you still haven’t decided. You discuss it with your spouse, debate it with your friends and ponder on it overnight. You aren’t too clear about how to start your own firm, your startup.
We talked to three people who have already thrown their hats into the entrepreneurship ring and participated in earlier editions of the Sacyr Innovation Awards. The call for entries for the seventh edition is open until 26 May for firms from the infrastructures and services sector.
The three entrepreneurs we consulted let us in on what you need when embarking on your own professional adventure. We have summarised what they told us in the five tips below.
- Be aware of the kind of life you want and the one you are going to have. Mario Rondán and Jesús Cordero (EPC Tracker) stressed it is essential to know the path you are choosing. “Entrepreneurship often entails more or less time crossing the wilderness, where sacrifice is imposed upon you, working hard is essential, but you control your destiny”. Launching a new company demands complete dedication on your part. Fran Gómez (PayThunder) warned, “You are going to be working 10 or 12 hours a day”.
- Analyse the viability of your dream. “It is easier to dream and have innovative ideas than to develop them so they work in practice”, emphasised Salvador Mansilla (Actisa). This is why before setting out you have to have got some things done already. To start with, Mansilla said, you need to do some preliminary research that enables you to plot the technical course to follow to reach your goal. “A technical research report like those written when applying for incentives ought to provide sufficient clarification to be able to make the activities of the project and how they are going to be carried out absolutely clear”, he added.
- The secret is in the execution. “Many entrepreneurs have great misgivings about sharing their business idea, a reticence coming from the chance that someone else could steal their idea and implement it”, recounted Mario Rondán. However, many people worldwide are likely to have an idea that is similar to or the same as yours. What will tip the scales in favour of success, added Rondán, is how this idea is put into effect: how to switch from dreaming to marketing. “This is the tricky part, the thing that is hard to copy, because it requires personal skills, professional contacts, professional profiles and ways of making decisions that are intangible assets and will mean that those who really approach the idea well are those who are able to make it profitable”, he stated. Salvador Mansilla added that it is necessary to rely on the opinion of your potential customer at every step forward in the project.
- Surround yourself with a multidisciplinary, competent team. It is a self-evident truth, but in practice many companies launched start out with lead feet, because they lack the elements they need to develop. “With no people, there is no implementation, and surrounding yourself with the right people is important, very important”, explained Jesús Cordero and Mario Rondán. “Don’t look for personal affinity, don’t look for the easy or convenient solution, think that you will need a multidisciplinary team, complementarities, this will make it much easier to develop all the areas of the business at the same time”, added the founders of EPC Tracker. Salvador Mansilla observed, “The participation of multidisciplinary teams is increasingly a necessity, but the leader at least has to know the cornerstones upon which the project is founded”.
- Honesty as a tool to progress. Fran Gómez (PayThunder) considered that honesty has to be part of the tools of any new company. “Honesty with customers, recommending them the best product, taking into account that it is not always going to be what you have but you don’t have to be afraid to say this to a customer, what I have is not what is best for you. It is a good way to get customers to trust you and to keep you in mind when what they need really is your product/service”.