Of course, startups present risks. However, as with any risky endeavor, many factors can mitigate your risk and help you increase your odds for success.
We’ve been involved with numerous start-ups; some have been (and continue to be) very successful, while others have died on the vine. One of the main factors that often determine a start-up’s success or failure is the level of commitment that the Visionary (owner/founder/CEO) is willing to make.
If the Visionary cannot be fully engaged with and committed to the effort, the project is almost guaranteed to fail. On the other hand, a Visionary who is seemingly obsessed with his or her business idea is far more likely to be fully prepared for the obstacles and challenges that may lie ahead.
They research. They document. They experiment. They have already reached the point when the business idea has gone from something just being kicked around to something that deserves his or her full attention.
If the Visionary treats it like a side project, the start-up will inevitably take longer to launch, cost more money to build, and be a higher risk for all parties involved: Visionary, developers, VCs, etc. We know from experience and have seen it happen far too many times.
In fact, we now pre-qualify all start-up opportunities by first learning what level of commitment the Visionary is able to make. If a Visionary says, “Well, I’m super busy” or “I have a business already, but I really want to get this other thing going” – run, don’t walk away. However, if a Visionary says, “I’ve been researching, revising and testing this idea for a while now. I’ve got the funding and I’m ready to give it everything I have to make sure it succeeds.” – keep talking.
There’s nothing more exciting than helping create a successful start-up, but the Visionary holding the cards has to be fully committed to the game in order to come out a winner. Otherwise, no one is going to have fun.