The direction you want to take in business can sometimes seem unclear - you don't know what steps to take or what resources you need. Entrepreneur programs can help you get the clarity you need for this process. Find out how from the following material, prepared by Lucian Grămescu.
The most important thing I've learned from working with more than 350 founders over the past 10 years is that their biggest challenge is clarity. Clarity? What do you mean? People need money, customers, equipment, where does this clarity fit in?
Clarity can sometimes be mistaken for a decision. Other times it looks like a piece of information or an answer you have just received, or like a new idea or solution. Sure, all of this contributes to clarity, but clarity actually means something simpler, but harder to achieve: clarity is "knowing what to do next", and that's the biggest benefit an entrepreneurship program can get you.
This clarity is important because most good things work according to the same principles as inertia in mechanical physics. When the entrepreneurs we work with are starting out, things move with great difficulty. I've heard many ask themselves: "how much longer until it starts working?" and "I don't know how much longer I can hang in there". These are tough times, and these questions aren't applicable only to startups—any start that is ambitious enough tests the teams' patience and resources. But those who do hang in there understand over time that an object (or a goal) which is already in motion is easier to accelerate, and if you also push in the right direction, bingo.
This is actually our biggest challenge. The number one enemy of the clarity that we are trying to offer entrepreneurs through our programs or events is precisely the question "what is the right direction?". The "fail fast" philosophy is nice, but the truth is that any entrepreneur has a limited number of chips, and I have seen that many entrepreneurs, caught up in the stake of the bet they have to take, find it difficult to finish the sentence "the next step is to ....”, even when there some Of the answers are obvious.
That's why the DNA of solutions like Hubcelerator, Startarium.Inc or the crowdfunding platform is built around the gene of clarity. The role of the business modeling workshops, for example, is not to provide knowledge or recipes. We have structured them so that entrepreneurs can think and FEEL which version of the business they are ready to bet on. Mentors have credible business results and expertise, but the truth is that we select and direct them to the entrepreneurs so that they refine their priorities – a sometimes unpleasant exercise. And yes, financial forecasts have their role in management, but an entrepreneur must be first of all clear about what indicators will have to be strictly monitored and what measures will have to be taken to get them where they need to be.
The ultimate goal of a program is to provide clarity. Not answers. Information does not solve the problem. I have too often seen people who had received the answers they needed but were not clear on what to do with them. Yes, entrepreneurs need money, good employees, customers, expertise and so on, they are important. But what we have noticed is that, many times, they become unexpectedly accessible when the entrepreneur reaches the "I know what to do now" stage faster. And yes, this is also applicable in (many) situations when the first answer is actually wrong.
Now, beyond this plea for clarity, the healthy question an entrepreneur should ask themselves is: what are my takeaways?
First, raise your expectations and demands from any program, solution, or form of support. Look at them with a critical eye and ask directly: "these are the things that are unclear to me, how will the things you are going to present to me that will require time and resources help me clarify them?".
Secondly, notice and understand what gives you clarity. A good helper gives you a dose of clarity, a great one shows you how to get it yourself. It's important to learn, in time, what gives you the clarity you need: a conversation with a customer? a chat with your team? information and know-how from an expert? reflection time? prototyping and experimenting? In the end, business decisions are educated bets, so educate your ability to create clarity.
Opinion published in Biz magazine no. 316