“Success doesn’t necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution,” says Naveen Jain, founder of InfoSpace and Intelius. Most entrepreneurs understand this and spend months or even years thoughtfully organizing a business plan before putting it into action. Despite thorough research and long nights spent planning, the reality is that much remains unknown – early stage entrepreneurs are constantly haunted by the question: “Will this really work?”
However, the dark tunnel ahead can become illuminated and less intimidating with these 3 critical tools: money, great people, and insight from other capable people. Here’s how these elements play a key role guiding an entrepreneur toward success:
- The Ability to Raise Capital
Capital is an essential part of any business. In order to get up and running, entrepreneurs need to raise capital to cover startup costs, beyond what they can fund themselves, before they put their “open for business” sign out. To raise this amount, entrepreneurs must sell their vision to investors and convince them of the value of the opportunity by delivering a presentation that is both compelling and attractive. This is where the charisma and conviction that successful entrepreneurs possess is critical. (See No. 5 in 5 Characteristics Every Entrepreneur Needs To Crush It)
Beyond the initial funding needed to get running, businesses need to be able to raise money to fund development and operations. Capital is needed to fuel a business’ growth, but it is also important to have dry powder as cash reserves. The dry powder will help weather the ups and downs of unforeseen obligations that are – inevitably – ahead.
- The Ability to Build a Great Team
“A great idea is the catalyst to get things in motion, but at the end of the day, it’s the team you hire who will ultimately determine the success, or failure of the company,” says Aaron Goodin, CEO and Founder of Tack. And rightly so: entrepreneurs need to build a great team of people and then lead them well. Those who can strategically position the right people into the right seats on their bus will lay the best foundation to get them to their destination. (See 3 Tips on Winning Talent for Your Startup)
- The Ability to Value Counsel from Those with Special Expertise
Knowledge is critical. Entrepreneurs need to know what they know, and do it. They need to know what they don’t know, and delegate it. Never stop seeking counsel. Entrepreneurs that choose to learn from experts are better equipped to help their business navigate the road ahead.
Entrepreneurs need to find mentors and advisors in different specializations to help them effectively manage all aspects of their growing company. What types of individuals are needed in these ranks? Founders should include an experienced entrepreneur who has already been through an exit – meaning that this isn’t their first rodeo; an experienced CPA; an experienced lawyer that has a background in advising entrepreneurs; and investors who have a sincere interest in helping the founder.
While the future always contains an element of the unknown, entrepreneurs can mitigate many of the risks involved in starting a business by taking smart steps that will guide them towards success. By developing the ability to raise capital, building and leading a great team, and recognizing the value of capable advisors to give counsel in areas of their particular expertise, an entrepreneur can move forward with clarity and confidence.
Written by: Judson Sutherland, Founder & CEO