The tricky task of assessing a viable start-up

Many of us in the area of helping new start-ups have our own methods of assessing whether a potential new venture has a good chance of being viable. You can be forgiven for thinking that the phrase “has a good chance of being viable” suggests it is not entirely a scientific process – and that is absolutely right. It’s not! Let me explain my idea behind how to go about the whole thing:

Of course the usual traditional criteria is important such as …

  1. Firstly, the business idea
  2. Potential barriers from any direction which could derail the venture
  3. The numbers – financials
  4. What funding required and is it realistic
  5. Sustainability

It is imperative that we validate all of the above but in my opinion …
One of the most important factors is the person behind the idea and who is intending to ‘make it happen’

To me, if the character of the person intending to make this happen does not have the necessary skills, experience, determination, energy, resilience and ego (yes I mean ego), then it is highly likely the venture will fail. Of course no one is an expert on every aspect of the business but consideration must be given to 2 guiding principles:

  1. If you do not have specific knowledge in a particular area and it is vital – you must know enough to ask the right questions of the expert in this field
  2. If you are not good at a particular part of the business which is vital – find a way of filling that gap in some other way (and factor in the cost as part of doing business)

Many business plans have passed in front of me which are sound propositions and well thought out in great detail – but what about the character of the person who intends to get this venture off the ground and fly the distance?

Much hype is generated about the need to be a go getting Entrepreneur and how important it is to be this charismatic, courageous, leader of the masses who is going to save the free world economy with an idea so brilliant, your name will be written into history books. Seriously, even statistics tell us that the probability of everyone being in this category is low – however this does not mean that you are not capable of starting a venture which can be successful based on your own criteria.

Well there are a few individuals who may come into that category but the reality is that plenty of successful businesses are out there which have created jobs, much needed products and services plus made a good return for their owners/operators.

One definition of an ‘Entrepreneur’ is:

“A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

So, you don’t have to be a genius or a fantastic orator but you do have to have the right mind set – ah I hear you say “what is the right mind set” and “what is the definition of mind set anyway?” We often say that to be a successful entrepreneur you to have the correct ‘Mind set’ – so what do we mean by this. Here is where it gets really confusing for the budding entrepreneur because there are lots of differing opinions out there.

I have seen many views from experts on the necessary character of an entrepreneur, including:

  • Positive ‘can do’ attitude
  • Have a clear vision but also have challenging, realistic objectives
  • Confidence in succeeding but be receptive to other views
  • Clarity of thought and the ability to communicate it
  • Persuasive
  • Character to drive things through to deliver
  • Resilient to cope and deal with many parallel issues and prioritise
  • Can make decisions and manage consequences

So, in my opinion, the message is …

You don’t have to come into the charismatic genius category to start your own business but if you have a good idea which makes financial sense then with the right character you can make a successful enterprise. This can satisfy your aspirations and create wealth for others.

Why not discuss with someone like MGE Business Solutions (www.mgebusinesssolutions.co.uk) or Build a UK Buisness (www.buildaukbusiness.co.uk)