Julien Foussard, Founder of Iron Group
How do you turn a good idea into success? This is something I’ve been practicing from the age of 12, and believe me I’ve had my fair share of failures, but which successful entrepreneur hasn’t? Take Colonel Sanders for instance; having lost four jobs by the age of 17, being washed out of the army and finally retiring from a cooking job at a small café when he was 65, he was on the verge of committing suicide as he hadn’t got what he wanted out of life. He powered on and instead of giving up, Sanders borrowed $87, fried some chicken using his own recipe and began selling it door-to-door, which kick-started his rise to billionaire status and owning the well-known fast food chain, KFC.
Perseverance is one of the key elements to becoming a successful entrepreneur, and even when you fall flat on your face, it’s essential to take learnings from each situation. I’ve had a lot of failures between my first ever business idea, which was buying and selling foosball tables through classified ads to my more recent venture in Iron Group, but I’ve learnt many lessons along the way.
Select the right business model
Choosing the right business model could be the make or break of your start-up, and there are a few things to consider when doing so.
How big is the market for your business idea? Your company could be part of a wider market or it could be very niche, and there’s nothing wrong with either. Selecting the right business model to meet your company’s market potential could be what makes the difference to how much your company is able to grow. It’s also essential to know who your competitors are within the market, so you can see what they offer and what your business can do to stand out in meeting the demands of customers.
Thinking of your company’s ideal customer can also be a great place to start when putting your business model together as you’re then able to build your services around them and the channels of distribution you intend to use.
Over a quarter of startups fail as they run out of money, which shows how important your business model is to keeping your company afloat. The subscription economy is a great model to build on, it is convenient to both you and your customers, whilst giving you a predictable cash flow and offering your customers a personalised service.
Dare to be different
Do you fear failure? Does taking risks leave you wiggling with anxiety? If your answer to these questions is yes, then maybe entrepreneurship isn’t for you. I’ve launched a business that brought in 10,000 euros a day to living on 300 euros a week, but it didn’t cause me to stop. In fact, it drove me to go back to what I love and within six months I was back on track.
Creating anything worthwhile requires taking risks, and your idea can only go as far as your mind takes it. Dream big and break the mould. Often business leaders become boxed in by their fear of failure and losing money, but those that dare to dream big will be the ones that come out of their comfort zone and surpass expectations.
Shake it up
Success is built on ideas. Without ideas, there is no innovation and therefore no long-term success. Often the most ground-breaking ideas are combinations of two existing worlds coming together, as it provides a business with an opportunity to provide a more enhanced service.
Small businesses and startups can often fall into the trap of believing that only large corporations are able to innovate through expensive market research and product testing but use the resources you have around you. It only takes a few people to revolutionise an industry.
Entrepreneurs are made to disrupt the current state of business. Flex those neurons and make it happen.
Examining the demand for your product
Before putting your product out there, it’s essential to put some time in for research and testing to see if it’s actually what your customers want and if it will work.
When testing, give your product development the time it needs to be the best it can. Sometimes it can take multiple attempts to get it right, but your product is your selling point, so it needs to be perfect. Launch something the market can react to so you can get a quick answer on how far it will go.
Finding your team
Business partnerships can often be likened to marriage as it’s a long-term commitment and you need to find the right person to make it last. I’ve once partnered with the wrong person in business and due to my passion for the business it took a while for me to see that it wasn’t working, but inevitably we parted ways.
Once your business is big enough to recruit, finding capable and passionate individuals that believe in your vision and dream is essential. Over a fifth of startup failures have been put down to having the wrong team. But the answer isn’t just in finding the right staff, it’s in retaining them. Give your employees something great to believe in, and give them the benefits they deserve for assisting in the success of your company. After all, you can’t do it alone.
The winning attitude
Iron is built on the principle of sharing and growing, and I believe this is the attitude that will help you to win. No entrepreneur knows everything, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and that doesn’t make anyone else better than you.
Share your learnings, success and knowledge, and be open to hearing from others; it’s how you grow. With the various companies that Iron partners with, we provide support for entrepreneurs through every stage of building and managing subscription businesses. The sharing doesn’t stop, in fact, it fosters great partnerships and opens up solutions along the way.
Being a good entrepreneur is more than a craft. It is an art. It takes resilience, risk, drive and perseverance. I believe that your business will be as great as you make it, and in the face of adversity you should keep your vision alive. For every time you fall down, take your learnings, dust yourself off and get back to the drawing board. Just don’t stop.