Successful founders and visionaries like Elon Musk serve as great role models: with only the right idea your start up becomes a success and leaves you as a billionaire. But the Zuckerbergs, Musks and Samwers also show us one thing: the startup-world only tolerates the winners, the ones without any success disappear into oblivion.
Of course there are great reasons to found your own company. And the new founder mentality is an important factor for Germany’s economic growth as well. But one should not get lost in all the euphoria and also consider the potential danger in being self-employed.I’ve gained my own experiences as a startup founder in London and the Silicon Valley and have been running the technological development at NOLTE&LAUTH for more than five years. I am therefore often asked why I did not found anew. So here are my seven reasons not to found your own company:
1. You are bound to fail with certainty
Your company will fail – that is (almost) certain. Even if your inner voice tells you, “I read thousands of success stories.” Well, we only hear of the survivors or those who have not yet died. Perhaps that is the reason that in 2016 there were so little businesses founded as never before. A total of 13 per cent less than in 2015, as the KfW-Gründungsmonitor (founding monitor) now proves.
2. It is a long and stony path from the early adopters to the general public
In order for you to earn money, your product or service must reach all potential groups of buyers. While the early adopters still accept a product with bugs – new, in and individual being the principal purchase issue – the general public does not want to deal with the childhood diseases of your startup. And how do you reach everyone? Validation, validation, and validation, which takes two to three times longer than expected. Until then, however, the capital is often already exhausted – and this leads us back to your company’s failure.
3. Your “god mode” will get in your way
Validation only works with a finished product. And developing that is quite expensive.However, most founders (and I am no exception here) develop far too much without first asking the customers. They have the “god mode” in their way, so the lack of modesty to put the customers’ needs before their own opinion. In this case lean is not a buzzword, but an important attitude of mind.
4. Growth is hard work
Growth is hard and requires a completely different skill set than founding. If you want to expand into several markets, the team has to scale. This is the stage in which professionalization takes place. But: Scaling is the enemy of innovation. Now it’s all about persistence – founding your own company is not a sprint. Motivating your whole team to move along is one of the biggest challenges here.
5. Your ideas are pretty worthless
How do I actually get to a finished product? With the right idea, of course! Could work, but mostly does not. In fact, ideas are usually quite worthless. You also never start a pitch with an idea, but with a problem. The goal is to find a great customer need, the core problem. Ironically, problems are almost abound. Those who have them, however, do not recognize them as a problem, or those who can solve them, do not want to solve the problems at all. Well – no solution without a problem.
6. Your “founder’s marriage” will be unhappily divorced
Team building is hard: you spend an awful lot of time together, go through ups and downs, only thinking about your own startup and when it all goes downhill, everyone is broke. So test therefore, who join forever! The technical co-founder is not necessarily the guy, who managed to get you pirated copies at the schoolyard.
7. You invest more than your capital: your precious lifetime
Why does everyone tell you to found a startup? Why are there TV shows like the Shark Tank? One has to be aware that a whole industry is earning money through founders. Investors, lawyers, banks, consultants and so-called gurus. Only risk and potential are not evenly distributed. The founder has by far the greatest risk; he is the only one who puts all the eggs in his basket. Well at least the odds that your startup will succeed are still higher than the probability of a lottery win. But also requires the greater stake – a few years of precious lifetime.
The only thing that is left for you is to approach the biggest challenges with courage: If you have often failed due to failure, something will have worked out.And when it comes to solving problems, companies such as NOLTE & LAUTH offer you the opportunity to help global players solve their problems – and there are plenty, so let’s get started!