I've been hanging around start-ups for a while - roughly forty years and counting. Over that time the information I've collected has clustered together to convince me of three things.
- Success or failure of a new venture is determined very early on the strength or weakness of only a few fundamental factors, four, to be exact.
- Those four factors are Market, Magic, Moxie, and Mentors. If these are not "right", nothing else really matters. It's not that a business with some weaknesses in these areas can't survive; but it's highly unlikely that it will flourish.
- The most important of these factors is Moxie - the energy, conviction, and determination of the founder/entrepreneur, the leader.
There are always noteworthy exceptions to rules of thumb; but the fact that they are noteworthy means that the general rules are reasonably valid.
I test business concepts proposed to me on those Four Fundamental Factors; and I encourage potential entrepreneurs to test themselves in the same manner. Similar encouragement applies to people considering association with early stage businesses - employees, investors, strategic allies, clients.
And I always, always look first to the fire behind the eyes of the leader. I always START WITH MOXIE.
You can test your own entrepreneurial ideas against the Four Fundamental Factors by using my simple Four Factors Self-Check.
You can watch and listen to me talk about all this on YouTube.