All entrepreneurs start out the same way – dreaming of the eventual success of their product, business or idea – but why do all entrepreneurs not end the same way? Startup evolution takes many routes depending on the task at hand and the people behind it, yet ultimate success for these startups are determined the same way: how they handle the tipping point of success. According to the team behind Index, an all-encompassing social media platform created by students at the Lassonde Institute, this is not a singular time, but many challenges along the way that only those who truly believe in their product or idea can overcome. Take it from this startup led by Taren Rohovit, Mathew Beseris and Jackson Leach that, though daunting, it is entirely possible and even enjoyable to go through the process of starting your own business, even as college students.
Beginning as just an idea from two high school students, Index has grown to be a downloadable app with a mission to eliminate business cards and facilitate conversation. During their Workshop, “Startup Evolution and What to Expect,” the three-member team shared their experiences and advice for other entrepreneurs on the cusp of their first tipping point:
“Investors will be more likely to invest if you show commitment. Oftentimes, demonstrating drive will outweigh your qualifications.”
The team expressed the cyclical process of funding: needing the capital from an investor to accomplish the goals that an investor wants to see before providing such capital. Their advice for overcoming this can be summarized in one word: commitment. Venture capitalists will be interested if and only if a startup team demonstrates that they will not “jump ship” even when another group doing the same thing challenges their success.
After initial capital, outreach is the next obstacle a startup will experience and continue to be tried by throughout their evolution.
“Who do you have to convince? Who is going to believe? I’m not talking necessarily about the product itself.”
“Start With Why” author Simon Sinek has served as a guide and inspiration for Taren Rohovit, CEO of Index. To him, a startup’s core is why, how and then what. To achieve a stable base from outreach, these goals must be clearly defined in that order. Bridging the gap between a user and those who will not become users until others are users, is achieved through a slow process guided by these priorities regardless of what the company actually does.
“Ask for help if you need it. And you always need it.”
The team stressed the importance of taking advice from the people around you. There are many opportunities and resources that go untapped due to fear of asking or pride due to wanting to appear knowledgeable. The startup evolution is synonymous to continuous learning, so don’t close yourself off from obtaining the advice necessary to get through the most demanding parts of your entrepreneurial journey!
How will you handle the tipping point of success? Never overlook the quintessential parts of a business like operating agreements and mission statements that will be the key to solving issues down the line. The trio of Index emphasized the necessity of building a solid foundation with these components. It is all a part of the process. Patience and trial and error will lead to eventual success. From one startup in the trenches of the startup evolution to another, face your obstacles with vigor and determination, and you can realize the dream of success that drove you to get to begin in the first place.