I was just reading this months Business 2.0 cover story, How To Build A Bullet Proof Start-Up.
From what I’ve seen, many entrepreneurs neglect to do Phase 1, Step 1: “Stress-Test Your Big Idea“. They think they have to keep their idea a secret and don’t want to discuss it with many others. They miss a great opportunity to see if the idea is viable and the business model is sustainable. Perhaps most importantly, those who skip this step may have a hard time refining their elevator pitch.
Many also tend to forget about Phase 1, Step 2: “Build your founding team“. I’ve often described the ideal software triumvirate as the technologist, the business guy/gal, and the sales and marketer. In this article, they more generally describe it as “the ace technologist, a big strategic thinker and a dealmaker.” I’ve seen startups fail just because they lack the know-how in one or more of these areas. Don’t forget that the idea is really nothing without the people who can execute it.
Skipping those first two steps is a pretty good way to lower your chances of success.
The nest most oft-skipped step which the article describes in Phase 2, Step 2 is “Create an advisory board.” Many entrepreneurs have one or two trusted sources to help guide their business. What many don’t consider is that they need to carefully select advisors who bring contacts, industry experience, and potentially capital. Contacts and connections are a huge, huge, huge part of your ultimate success.
Overall, it’s a good article that you may want to bookmark.