You may think you have a great idea for a startup. Maybe it’s a way to revolutionize dating or a method of moving huge chunks of data between cloud platforms, but no matter how good it is, you’re doomed to fail if you don’t consider some vital startup components before you embark on your endeavor.
Sean Wise and Brad Feld detail what you need to know before jumping into startup life in their book Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job.
Both Wise and Feld know startups. Wise has a storied background in venture capital, which led him to a five-year consulting role on the CBC’s Dragon’s Den, the Canadian version of Shark Tank. Feld founded Interliant before the dot-com bust, followed by a string of venture capital firms, most recently co-founding Techstars.
Combined, the two provide an overview of what VCs are looking for in startups before they even start up, and what an entrepreneur should think about before attempting to execute their big idea. Coming up with a good idea is only a small part of the creation of a successful business.
“The cost of what could have been created is small when compared to the resources squandered on bad ideas,” they write.
The book includes viewpoints from other investors and founders as well, detailing anecdotes of early startup mistakes and successes from Circa, Twilio and Disqus. Sections include how to evaluate ideas, how to find the right people and products for your idea, and how to pitch it and raise money.
Wise and Feld’s advice on hiring the right people is especially important. They push the idea of building a diverse team to fully prepare your idea for the real world and push entrepreneurs to find a co-founder before diving into the startup world.
“Without people to create the business all you have is a good idea,” the write. “While most of the elements around a business are continuously changing, people are the hardest elements to change and are often the slowest to evolve. Never forget that people are complicated.”
The advice ranges from practical (be ready to live at least 6 months without an income; if you can’t fully execute a your solution, don’t be afraid to find a co-founder) to more theoretical ideas (make sure your solution is 10 times better than any others; make sure you’re solving a need, not a want) that you just need to have in mind before quitting your day job.
Startup Opportunities isn’t meant to be the only book you read on your journey to bring an idea to the world. Instead, Feld and Wise are augmenting the methods outlined in classic startup books like The Lean Startup and The Startup Owner’s Manual.
The startup is this generation’s embodiment of the American Dream, letting people with great ideas rise up in the world. But before quit your job and dive into the world of entrepreneurship, be sure to think about the ideas discussed in Wise and Feld’s book.
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