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只要产品质量过硬,创业者就能保准成功吗?

Tina Hay 2017年03月16日

无论你是创业菜鸟,还是连续第五次创业,你都需要明白,这世间没有一成不变的成功路径。

“透视创业家”是一个在线社区,美国创业界一些最有智慧和影响力的大咖会在这里及时回答关于创业和职业生涯的问题。今天的问题是,“对于创业生活的最大误区是什么?”回答者是餐巾金融公司CEO蒂娜·海。

无论你是创业菜鸟,还是连续第五次创业,你都需要明白,这世间没有一成不变的成功路径。每个公司都有自己的时间轴和挑战。这就是为什么创始人必须保持注意力,不要因一些对创业生活的误解而分心。这些误区包括:

成功从一个好想法开始

许多集万千宠爱于一身的公司,最初都是从另一个完全不同的关注点或产品起步的。Twitter始于播客平台Odeo;Facebook起源于一款面向哈佛学生的“热辣”评分应用Facemash;打车应用Uber原本只提供黑色的高端轿车。

这些故事的教益是,好想法固然重要,但它们需要与时俱进。只有当它们能够解决某个现实问题时,魔法时刻才能到来。在许多情况下,你不知道这个问题或需要是什么——直到你的客户告诉你,什么最让他们感到兴奋。

餐巾金融(Napkin Finance)最初仅仅是为我以前的公司服务的资源之一,旨在帮助年轻人理解复杂的金融主题。它最终成为我们的核心业务,其影响力和市场需求已经远远超出我们的预期。我们发现,市场迫切需要一种使用和理解货币的新方式,它要比我们正在做的其他任何事情都重要得多。

产品质量是决定创业成功的唯一因素

在他的TED演讲中,Idealab创始人比尔·格罗斯确定了五个决定创业成败的因素:想法、团队、资金、商业模式和时机。在悉心研究了他的投资组合公司和100家其他公司之后,他发现最关键的因素是时机。

大多数创始人都在全神贯注地打造产品,并将所有的资源一股脑地投放在研发环节。他们没有意识到,利用市场的力量,或者幸运地在恰当时机出现在恰当地点,是多么重要。唯有快速迭代,在客户身上测试新概念,这一幕才有可能发生。尽快发布产品,并找到合适的市场契合点,是多少钱或者多好的技术都无法取代的。

在创业早期,你需要很多很多钱

资金对每一个企业都至关重要。只有坐拥充足的资金,你才有望聘请到业界精英,才能打开新机会之门。

然而,在创业早期筹集大量资金,往往会带来很多其他问题。这些问题包括放弃大量股权,必须对投资者负责,做决策时受制于外部压力。此外,你不能保证你能在未来再次筹集到企业发展所需的资金。

着手打造餐巾金融的平台时,我们非常小心地保持“瘦身”。我们发现,除了筹集资金,还有其他方法能够保护宝贵的资源。创业早期,我们就与旨在帮助更多年轻人上大学,由第一夫人米歇尔·奥巴马倡导的Better Make Room计划展开合作。于我们而言,这项合作是一个拓展分销渠道,提升品牌知名度的绝佳机会。它要比任何融资轮或投资都更有价值。

初创公司的创始人都是穿套头衫的新新人类

在创业界,尤其是金融科技领域,我发现越来越多的女性正在启动极具创新意识和颠覆性的公司。这些由女性执掌的开拓型公司包括在线保险比较网站Policy Genius,小额信贷网站Tala,以及Digital Asset Holdings,后者是一家致力于将区块链技术引入华尔街的公司。

看到如此多女性创业者正在冲击传统上由男性主导的行业,比如比特币、区块链、贷款和保险,真的令人非常兴奋。这些女性正在打破只有身穿套头衫的白人年轻人才能创业这一刻板印象,并迫使我们重新思考创业者的形象特征。(财富中文网)

作者:Tina Hay

译者:Kevin

The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “What are some of the biggest misconceptions about startup life?” is written by Tina Hay, CEO of Napkin Finance.

Whether you are working on your first or fifth startup, there is no single path to success as an entrepreneur. Each company has its own timeline and challenges. That is why it is critical for founders to maintain focus and not get distracted by the misconceptions of startup life. These include:

Success starts with a great idea

Many of our favorite companies originally started with a different focus or product. Twitter started as Odeo, a podcasting platform; Facebook started as Facemash, a “hot or not” game for Harvard students; and Uber started as an app to request only premium black cars.

The lesson is that ideas are great, but they evolve. The magic happens only when they solve a real-life problem. In many cases, you don’t know what that problem or need is until your customers show you what they are most excited about.

Napkin Finance started off as a resource for my previous company to help young adults understand complex financial topics. It eventually became our core business and has surpassed our expectations in terms of impact and market demand. We discovered that the need for a new way to use and understand money was much more significant than anything else we were doing.

The quality of your product solely determines its success

In his TED Talk, Bill Gross, the founder of Idealab, determined five factors that account most for companies’ success or failure: idea, team, funding, business model, and timing. After studying his portfolio companies and a hundred others, he found that the most critical factor was timing.

Most founders get stuck on building their product and investing all of their resources on development. They miss how important it is to take advantage of market forces or get lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time. This can only happen if you quickly iterate and test new concepts with customers. There is no amount of money or technology that can replace getting to launch and finding the right product-market fit.

You need a lot of money early on

Money is critical for every business. It buys great talent and can open doors for new opportunities.

However, raising a lot of money early on brings with it a lot of other problems. This includes giving away a big chunk of equity, having to answer to investors, and making decisions based on pressure from outside forces. Plus, there is no guarantee that you can raise money again when you need it.

At Napkin Finance, we were very careful to be lean when we started in order to build our platform. We found that in addition to funding, there are other ways to secure valuable resources. Our partnership early on with Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room initiative was a great opportunity for both the distribution and visibility of our brand. This was much more valuable than any funding round or investment.

Startup founders are all millennial guys in hoodies

In the startup world, and especially in fintech, I find myself surrounded by more and more women launching innovative and disruptive companies. Some examples of these pioneering women-led companies are Policy Genius, an online insurance comparison site; Tala, a microfinance site; and Digital Asset Holdings, a company bringing blockchain technology to Wall Street.

It is very exciting to see women shaking up traditionally male-dominated industries, including bitcoin, blockchain, lending, and insurance. These women are puncturing the stereotype that startups are only founded by young, white men in hoodies, and forcing us to rethink what a startup founder looks like.

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