STARTUP

4 Questions Southeast Asians Must Ask Before Building that Dream Start-up

If you think you have that multi-million dollar idea, ask yourself these questions first

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 24 Mar 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Starting a new venture is exciting, especially here in Southeast Asia where there’s a lot more to discover, new technologies to introduce, and exceptional people who can execute. With start-up competitions here and there, it seems that there’s no other time to build your dream start-up than now.

However, 95% of start-ups fail. Many budding entrepreneurs get drunk on big ideas — the ones that attempt to change the world — without thinking things through and surviving the daily grind of wearing many hats. In this Inc. Southeast Asia story, Hung Tran, founder and CEO of Vietnam-based start-up got it!, shares how start-up founders fall in this trap.

“I’ve seen many people come up with an interesting idea and jump right into building it. Most of them end up with a product or service that no one wants. Make sure your idea is a solution to a problem that many people have,” says Tran.

If you think you really have that multi-million dollar idea, here are four questions you must ask yourself before taking the leap:

 

1. Have I done my research?

“Get out of the building, talk to people, understand the pain point, then validate the solution you are thinking of. If the start-up’s objective is to seek partners, they must research and target strategic partnerships,” says Diane Eustaquio, executive director of IdeaSpace, a non-profit Philippine-based organization that supports innovation, technology development, and entrepreneurship.

Research is part of planning, which prevents us from future mishaps. As Alan Lakein, known author of personal time management books, says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

 

2. What are the risks?

Many start-ups fail because founders are blinded by the new product or idea they have that they fail to see the risks of their new venture.

“Aspiring start-up entrepreneurs are sometimes blind of the potential risks of doing their startups. Good founders are not great risk takers – they are risk reducers. Good investors have faith in those who have done risk assessment,” Eustaquio says.

 

3. Why am I doing this?

Ask yourself why you’re acting on this idea in the first place: Why is this start-up worth building?

Eustaquio says: “The germ of the idea that comes from a personal pain point is stronger than an idea that one chances upon. I am a fan of Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why.” As Simon Sinek says, ‘people don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it, and what you do simply proves what you believe.’ ”

“[M]ake sure that your start-up idea is close to your heart, something that's close to your abilities, something that's within your capital, and something that's for keeps – something that will really be sustainable for you," says Rio Ilao, founder of Philippine-based startup Tarkie, in this video.

 

4. Who are the people I want in my team?

Find a team who can definitely work well with you in executing your idea. “Don’t just partner with whoever – this will lead to noise,” Eustaquio says.

She adds, “In finding partnerships, getting sales, and securing funding, it’s about the team who knows why they are doing and what they are doing. The team who understands the customer and builds the product the customer is willing to pay for, the team who knows how to handle other people’s resources. As we say at IdeaSpace, ‘the dream is only as good as the team.’”

Having these four questions answered and the issues thought through, building that dream start-up is now much more exciting – isn’t it?