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Every journey begins…

I was recently chatting with a friend of mine who expressed an interest in beginning his entrepreneurial journey. He asked me where he should start and thus, to the best of my ability, here is getting started as an entrepreneur 101.

Getting started always begins (read should always begin) with a problem that needs to be solved. In reality, it often begins with a ‘cool’ idea, but, from experience starting with a clearly identified problem is a much better bet. Once you have identified a problem you need to get out there and check that it is a real problem for someone. This basically means you need to start talking to people, lots of people, in order to qualify and quantify the value of that problem. If you are able to qualify and quantify that value of the problem then congratulations, you are really onto something.

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Comrades in arms

Turning an idea into a business requires resources, the most important of which, and potentially hardest to find, are human resources. These resources can include employees, contractors, mentors, investors, and fellow entrepreneurs. Starting out, you probably care most about people who can work directly on helping turn your idea into reality. These resources will typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Co-founders
  2. Employees
  3. Contractors

It’s important to realise that co-founders, employees and contractors are very different types of people, whose needs / wants and capabilities may be vastly different. However, getting this mix of people right is extremely important because it is the quality of the people, and their working relationship, that will ultimately underpin the success of your startup.

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Thirty pieces of gold

After having a great idea, the goal for most founders is to get some money through the door. Ideally, every business would fund its growth and development through revenues (i.e. sales to customers) but unless you are able to produce a product or service overnight there is an inevitable delay between when you have the idea and when you are actually able to make your first sale.

With this, almost inevitable, delay, it is necessary to think about other sources of funding to grow your idea. Thankfully, there are typically lots of different opportunities for obtaining funding including friends, family, and fools (the founders themselves?), grants, accelerators, incubators, angel investment, venture capital, and private equity to name but a few.

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Down the rabbit hole

It always begins with an idea. This was not the first idea I ever had and three years on I can tell you it was definitely not the last. Growing up I always had the impression, from whom I’m not sure, that ideas were exceedingly valuable and that to create a startup you needed to have a really great idea. It has taken me many years to truly appreciate that great, in the context of startup ideas, has a very specific, and somewhat unconventional meaning.

But I digress. was born at approximately 2am one March morning in 2011 while I was driving from Canberra to Sydney. A day earlier I had chosen to forego an overseas job to move back home to support family who were dealing with some serious health issues. Determined that such a backward move, in a geographic sense, was not going to be a backward move otherwise, I determined that I was going to run a startup. would be my startup.

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