Being an entrepreneur isn’t a cakewalk. Any small mistake can turn your promising startup into a failure. So you must tread carefully in the markets today to be on your way to success
Nothing compares to the feeling of excitement and anxiety that comes with launching your first business. But, alongside having to navigate the choppy startup waters, doing this in sectors steeped in tradition and red tape adds another layer of complexity.
So, how can startups in legacy sectors set the course for a successful launch?
(1) Know your market inside out
When e-payments launched back in 2011, we realised people wanted a payment system that was cheap, fast and global.
We had to make it a priority to venture out, learn from industry spokespeople, adopt the business lingo and read about the market every single day.
There’s no use moaning about how complex an industry is. You have to get stuck into the game. That means rubbing shoulders with those smarter than yourself, reading anything you can get your hands on and monitoring trends and market patterns.
Get familiar, get known and get the clever people talking to you.
(2) Work with industry regulators
Compliance is a tedious but necessary business. Instead of dragging your feet, willingly approach your industry regulators or governing body with your business idea. Explain your aim and encourage their feedback. They might surprise you.
You must work with the industry rather than against it. This approach paid off for DSX. Instead of cracking the compliance whip, the regulators wanted to bring the business to life, they gave it their stamp of approval and we’ve benefited from their support ever since.
(3) Don’t wait for the perfect product
Being a perfectionist it’s important to know success has nothing to do with perfection. In fact, perfect is the enemy of the good and it can trip you up if you’re not careful. Don’t get obsessive about what others are doing. Instead, just focus on your own product and know that you can refine it once you launch.
Lean into the discomfort and learn that perfect isn’t always possible. In a startup, that’s the only mentality that makes sense.
(4) Collaborate with the competitors
Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But corporates are now falling over themselves to collaborate with shiny new startups.
Take the financial services industry as an example. Legacy banks have solid infrastructure and global networks that aren’t available to startups in the early years. However, they don’t have the innovative ideas cropping up nor the different perspectives that the young upstarts have.
So long as you’ve got a good product, be confident and have those conversations. You might both end up getting what you wished for and when all the hard work pays off, you’ll have yourself a startup that’s on a trajectory to success.