How did I decide to join a startup?
After finished my MBA in Nice (France) my ideas about which route to take were still confused. Coming from a consultancy background and having work for 3 years in Milan I thought was the right moment to move to something else, but what? First I moved to London. The financial crisis was still out there, but I was sure that an international hub like London would have had something good to offer to me.
However I had a really difficult time finding my first job. I probably did 30-40 interviews before I got my first offer. Funny enough at that time I had already join Tep, a mobile startup that I met through friends of friends. Since my background I was giving some help part time to the founder to develop the business plan.
When I was ask to join Tep fulltime given the offer I had on the other hand from a well establish corporation I was doubting. However I had the feeling that Tep would have been the right experience for me. And it was!
I think you cannot really understand how rewarding is to build something from scratch as long as you do not try yourself. You need to be hungry for results, I guess. This is why I think a good entrepreneur need to have a strong sense for execution, the ability to get your hands dirty with all sort of activities. Further you should always be ready to reinvent yourself when needed and do it quickly. If an investment is not given the expect returns you should stop persevere on that route, but learn the lesson and move to something else. This is happening more than what you can think.
I like also to mention that I think a good entrepreneur is also someone that can attract A-players to help him out. You cannot do everything by yourself. Indeed you need to “sell” your idea and build a team that can add value to the company. If you are surrounding by people that just to their job, you will not go far away. People should add value, ideas, be proactive and have initiatives. Otherwise you will not go too far with your business.
The following are few advices I can give to anybody willing to take up on a new business.
1) Take plenty of time to listen to your customers.
2) The road to setting up a business is very long. Take it easy on yourself, don’t over work. You absolutely need to be 110% dedicated, but it needs to be fun.
3) Patience, Patience, Patience… When you least expect it a partner or large order comes your way.
4) Spend time out of your office (or home). Network, seek advice and attend to conferences…
5) Don’t be afraid of telling people about your business. In most cases there is more upside in sharing your idea with others. If you think you are the only with this idea, chances are you aren’t. By sharing the concept you will get valuable feedback, hear about competitors and maybe find your next partner!
PS. What is Tep. Tep is a mobile service which is redefining the way we travel abroad connected. Our travel solutions allow travelers to remain connected globally, while avoiding exorbitant roaming charges. Connectivity is an everyday essential, yet remains a challenge when abroad – tep solves this problem, while also enhancing the travel experience with a mobile app which serves as a one-stop shop for local offers and information.