Recently I have been invited to the Startup Weekend Malaysia to experience the program and mingle around with people with great ideas. If you’re wondering, the Startup Weekend is a global initiative to assist aspiring (serious) entrepreneurs in making their first step to realize their business ideas. Each participant is given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the room in 1-minute and the top 10 ideas (based on votes) will be selected and that’s where the real work begins – from forming teams, brainstorming, market research to prototype development.
The beauty of this program? Everyone leaves with a developed business idea. Cool, huh?
As I was listening to the individual pitches, observing and talking to these entrepreneurs, it made me once again realize the secret ingredient for success – whether it is in business, social media campaigns or even in life – and they really are the basics, nothing fancy or extraordinary.
Here are the 7 basic attributes to be successful:
Every participant that came to the program had a dream – an idea, a business plan waiting to be fulfilled. They’ve probably been sleeping on it ever since it popped into their heads and they are just waiting for the opportunity to get it started.
What About You?: Do you have a dream? Do not be afraid to dream. Ideas only stop coming because you allowed it to. A rule – don’t set boundaries to your dream. Dream big!
Further reading: It’s time to dream!
Even though the participants were only given 1-minute to pitch, their passion and enthusiasm is unmistakable. They are eager to see their business idea come to live and they obviously do not care if the rest thinks it is a silly / inviable idea. It’s theirs and they are proud that they own it.
What About You?: Do you have an idea but am afraid of what others might think? Stop yourself from thinking that way and let your passion take over. Sometimes, a silly idea turns great through passion – simply because you never stopped believing.
Passion is put to test when the participants are required to form teams to actually work on their ideas. This is where the participants had to really do something about it – to make the idea work, beyond just talking and sharing.
What About You?: Maybe it is time for you to take action and put that passion of yours to good use. Sitting on it won’t do any good. Action makes things happen.
Further reading: Passion without Action is dead!
Let’s take a step back – even before the participants had to form teams, they had to gather votes from everyone present as only 10 ideas with the highest votes will be given the opportunity to form teams to drive the idea further. I particularly remember this participant, Aaron, that came up to me saying “Sir, will you give me an opportunity to share my idea with you?”. His idea wasn’t extraordinary but his passion and determination (and preliminary idea research) won my vote.
What About You?: How determined are you to make your idea a reality? Remember, it is always easier to give up but being successful in most cases, is like running a marathon. It’s a long journey but the reward is great.
#5: Team Work
It is interesting to see how the teams were formed at the Startup Weekend. Almost every team were looking for a developer, marketer and finance person simply because they understood that they cannot do it alone.
What About You?: No man is an island. You’ll definitely need a team to make up for your weaknesses. Get your team together and you’ll find that that’s the best decision you’ve ever made! It also helps you focus on what you need to do – managing and keeping the vision intact.
From time to time again the participants were reminded to build a MVP – Most Viable Product, forgoing fancy features and functions and focusing on the must-haves, the actual benefits that the consumer wants.
What About You?: It is easy to get caught up with the cool features and add-ons of your plans but if you do not have anything to begin with, your ideas are nothing to begin with. Focus on getting the core benefits right THEN the add-ons. Remember, build a MVP!
Further reading: The 2 Secret Ingredients for a Successful Product
People say that when Apple is building the very first iPhone, they already have the iPhone 4 and the iPad in mind, just waiting for the right time to roll them out. Build with the future in mind! Anticipate opportunities for expansion and problems that may occur.
What About You?: It is all about preparation. A scalable product will definitely have a larger potential and you may just capture the attention of investors are venture capitalists. Always be on your toes – you’ll never know when you’ll need to sprint forward ;)
Do you remember the time when you were just starting out? What drove / motivated you? I would love to hear your experience :)