5 Ways to Know You’re Ready to Start Your Own Company

5 Ways to Know You’re Ready to Start Your Own Company

There are lots of articles out there focused on what it takes to start a company. Most of these focus on things like ‘you’re passionate about your idea’, or ‘you have a solid business plan’. I’d like to provide a slightly different look at some of the aspects that people don’t talk about when it comes to deciding on whether or not to take the plunge:

Know Who You Are

This may sound a little fluffy, but in my experience, this is perhaps the most important question, maybe even more important than whether you have a good idea. Without knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you won’t know what resources and complementary skills you’ll need to bring on board, and if your idea has a high chance of remaining just a good idea.

How do you know who you are? Ask trusted people, both personal relationships and professional connections. Think back through past performance reviews and social feedback. Successful founders need to have the right blend of confidence and humility: without introspection and self-awareness, you won't have a reasonable sense of your skills and how you can move your idea forward.

You Have a Growth Mindset

Yes, growth mindset is trendy, but it’s also dead-on-point. A huge part of founding a company is having an unflinching ability to turn hardship into learning; to look past setbacks and think about how you’ll do it differently tomorrow.

Remember that having a growth mindset is NOT about always being positive, working hard, and praising or rewarding effort. It’s about turning experiences - good and bad - into growth. In addition, as a founder, you’ll need to lead and inspire others. Help them see that you have the ability to turn experience into movement forward, even if you take a few steps or sideways on the way. Dr Carol Dweck professor of psychology at Stanford, wrote a book called "Growth Mindset" and if you have felt stuck for several years, it's eye-opening.

In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than thinking, ‘Oh I'm going to reveal my weaknesses’, you say, ‘wow, here's a chance to grow’."

Dr. Carol Dweck

You Have a Support Network

As I’m sure you’ve heard before, starting a company is hard. Really hard. You’ll need people ready to pick you up, or call you out when you’re headed down the wrong path. Your support network should have a mixture of people who are ready to remind you that you’re special and courageous, as well as those who won’t be afraid to tell you you’re wrong.

You’re Certain that Uncertainty Doesn’t Scare You

This one ties back to having a growth mindset, but it’s worth calling out on its own. The one thing you can be certain of is that you’ll face many moments of uncertainty. Embracing that uncertainty, and developing strategies for managing through uncertainty, is critical for navigating the different twists and turns you’ll take as you launch your business. Think back over your experiences at work and in your personal life. If you see evidence of embracing and working through uncertainty, that’s a good sign.

You Don’t Have a Clear View of the Finish Line

This one may seem counterintuitive. Don’t get me wrong: when you get in front of your first potential investor, you better have an air-tight story for different potential exits for your business if you plan to raise money. But the reality is that the real finish line for your business will look quite different from what you imagine now. Imagine multiple finish lines, and understand what are the signs you’ll see along the way to help you know which ones you’re headed towards and which ones you’re heading away from. 

A good friend of mine, Dr. Peter Scoblic, recently published a great article in the Harvard Business Review on strategic foresight. One of the pillars of his approach is imagination. If you love imagining possible futures, then bring that same practice to your new business. It’s easy to get consumed in the day-to-day stresses when you start a company. Your imagination will serve you well as you navigate the uncharted waters of starting a new venture.

Unlock Your Business Idea with No Code

Unlock Your Business Idea with No Code

Thinking about starting a business? Worried you can’t get started because you aren’t an engineer or you can’t afford one? No code may be the answer you’ve been searching for.

No code has become a buzzword similar to “cloud” and “AI”. We’re here to help you understand what it means to you. At its core, no code refers to a new set of products and services that allow non-developers to build technology solutions that bring their business ideas to life. 

No code has great promise for the 70%+ of IT leaders who report that their project backlogs prevent them from working on strategic projects. However, we also see a huge opportunity for potential founders to take the leap without requiring an expensive - and elusive - engineering team just to get started.

To help de-mystify the idea of no code, many if not most of you reading this are already familiar with one of the original no-code tools: Microsoft Excel. True, Excel provides rich capabilities that depend on a knowledge of basic or even advanced programming with visual basic, but the vast majority of Excel users don’t need to understand anything about programming to benefit from Excel.

Research firm Gartner predicts that low code/no code will represent 65% of all app development by 2024. That means more and more investment dollars will flow into the no-code platforms vying for a piece of that pie.

For those of you who have wanted to start a business, but worried that you need a techie co-founder to get started, or that you’ll run out of money before you ever get to test out the idea due to expensive engineering salaries or freelance fees, no code offerings could be the answer.

One example comes from a business unit within a top 10 global bank:  using Unqork*, a no-code application development platform, they launched a new wealth management product in only three months.

Another example is a global media company that deployed UiPath* to accelerate digital transformation and free up employees from being the “glue” between systems, saving 350,000 hours in the first year across 20+ organizational units.

But no code’s benefits are not limited to groups in established businesses. Take Brent Summers who built a full-fledged web app that let people buy digital gift cards for local businesses struggling during the pandemic. Brent and his co-founder Justin Mares, built their small business gift card app, GiveLocal, using Bubble, a popular no-code platform. They launched their app on March 15, 2020 after only three days of building it. Within just one week, GiveLocal was acquired by USA Today and is now known as “Support Local.”

With no code one of the highest hurdles to launching your business idea is getting a lot easier to cross. Check out some of the top no-code solutions listed below and get started on your business idea. 

  • Adalo
  • Appery.io
  • Appian
  • AppInstitute
  • AppMachine
  • AppSheet
  • Appy Pie
  • Bizness Apps
  • Bubble
  • BuildFire
  • DronaHQ
  • Dropsource
  • Fliplet
  • Glide
  • GoodBarber
  • Kintone
  • Microsoft PowerApps
  • Ninox Database
  • Quick Base
  • Salesforce Platform
  • Stacker
  • Thunkable
  • Unqork
  • Webflow
  • Zoho Creator

Charting a Course Through Uncertainty

Charting a Course Through Uncertainty

Chances are we’re all going through the emotional rollercoaster ride that is this pandemic. Whether you recently lost your job, or are fearful that layoffs are coming, we’d like to share some of the tools and resources that have helped us navigate these uncharted waters.

Surviving any crisis requires reflection and introspection. You need to know where you are mentally and emotionally before you can figure out how to get where you want to go.

We found the following diagram to be really helpful in recognizing where we are in our journey of dealing with the crisis. We’ll use this as the roadmap for understanding where we are mentally.

The Fear Zone

This is the natural starting point for any time of crisis. Most importantly, as long as they don’t prevent you from being productive, fear and anxiety are appropriate responses. When embraced, they prompt us to take action and to be diligent. When avoided, fear and anxiety can create a spiral effect and trap us. 

To escape the fear zone, engage socially and professionally. Participate in groups outside of your typical social and professional interactions. Tap into your personal interests and connections to help you be active and deliberate. One of the best ways to break free from fear is to help someone, whether they’re a family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger in need. Making someone else’s day can make yours.

The good news is the best way out of this stage is by engaging in activities that are required for the next phase: learn about the facts.

The Learning Zone

Learning is a powerful platform for pulling ourselves out of fear and identifying new opportunities for growth. Start with learning how to recognize your feelings and emotions. Learn what triggers them, and what calms them down. Self-reflection and awareness are powerful tools. 

Many of us get caught up in the 24-hour news cycle, but if you force yourself to explore the facts from a diverse set of sources, and vet those facts with people you trust, you will be informed and in a far better place to evaluate your next steps.

The Growth Zone

The idea of entering a growth phase may feel foreign given your day-to-day reality, but those with a growth mindset are far more likely to find a positive path through uncertainty. Most importantly, growth doesn’t just come through introspection: helping others, and contributing your numerous talents to efforts that benefit others can present new challenges and opportunities. 

Whether it’s volunteering at your local food bank, mentoring a recent college graduate trying to navigate wholly new and turbulent waters, the simple act of helping others can teach you about new ways to apply your experience and skills, ways that can apply to your professional work equally as to volunteering and helping others.