How do you start up and become an entrepreneur?
Where do you start to launch your startup? Every entrepreneur is confronted with many questions: "I'm alone, should I surround myself with a team?", "launching a startup while still a student, is it a good idea?", "should I be accompanied by an incubator or an accelerator?", "how can I find financing? So, whether you are a solo entrepreneur, a solo entrepreneur, a student, or a professional reconversion student, here is a short F.A.Q on how to launch your startup idea.
When to start your startup?
This question is legitimate and although there is no “good age” to become an entrepreneur, there are still two periods in our lives that are more conducive to this:
- at the end of our studies, because we are still often with our parents, with little cost to live, a desire to undertake to the maximum and an ease to learn new things.
- after gaining work experience or having children, we had time to put money aside, our CV and our professional network are two assets that we can use.
But you have to ask yourself the right questions upstream: “Have I thought about my business plan?”, “Am I ready to take the risk?”, “Have I studied enough the subject or the market that I am about to attack?”, “Is there really an opportunity?”, “What is it my personal purpose through this project?”
Once you’re clear about all this, remember that making the transition from entrepreneurship to school/management, but also the other way around, is not easy: when you’ve started in a lane, changing direction is a complicated effort. But it’s also a great human adventure!
When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s the mindset that counts, not the age! Indeed, the commonality of all successful entrepreneurs is essentially based on their way of thinking that follows an entrepreneurial logic. This logic is sometimes more natural for some, but it can be learned.
The entrepreneurial spirit is also based on iteration: one good idea is not enough, you must constantly listen to its market, integrate the feedback of its prospects and customers, and always iterate, to continually improve its product and its Operations. This last point is of crucial importance: the customer and his needs are at the heart of the start-up project: an entrepreneur seeks to create solutions for real problems that affect the target he has decided to conquer.
It is enough to know how to surround yourself well for this adventure to see the light of day.
How do I know if my business idea is good?
When you want to start a business or start a start-up, you should not be afraid to dare or fail.
Rule number one: talk to as many people as possible! One of the most important steps when embarking on entrepreneurship is to talk to its users to understand their problems and identify a market opportunity. This step, called Observation, based on the Design Thinking methodology, is paramount.
Ask yourself the right questions: who is my target? What are his needs? What is my market in terms of value and volume?
Rule number two: a start-up idea is worthless. What matters is to test your ideas quickly, at a lower cost, to understand their potential, and then to know how to react quickly to the results of its tests by applying an entrepreneurial approach: testing and learning.
Launching your start up starts with the construction of the so-called MVP (Minimum Viable Product): an MVP start up is a prototype – it’s a product V1, for which a customer is willing to pay. The MVP validates the market’s interest in its offer. In this context, the challenge is to create your MVP as quickly as possible, being agile through methods like lean startup.
How do I find a partner?
First of all you should not see the search for an associate as an end in itself, doing that for 6 months will not lead to anything, especially if you are looking for a CTO like many entrepreneurs. If you lack skills (business, tech, design, etc.), ask your friends and family to help you or, as a last resort, go through a freelance. Keep in mind that in most cases, you can test an idea without using tech, through free or inexpensive tools.
An associate is first and foremost a complementary profile: get out of your comfort zone and go to events that correspond to the person you are looking for, not who you are! In addition, finding your partner is also a matter of timing, meetings and opportunities. Step forward on your project and you will naturally meet people from the sector you are targeting who might be interested in joining the adventure, but don’t wait until you’ve found the rare gem to move forward.
You can also sign up for partner search sites such as cofoundateur.fr.
Finally, the best solution is to talk about it around you, because we often have a friend of a friend;-)
What company status to choose for my start-up?
Choosing and filing one’s statutes is not the most fun stage of entrepreneurship, especially when you know nothing about the different legal statutes for companies. So what to choose between SA, SAS, SARL, EURL, Micro-enterprise, Self-entrepreneur and other merriing?
SARL / EURL: same fight. The only difference between the two is the number of partners allowed, one for the EURL and 2 to 99 in SARL.
Micro-enterprise and self-entrepreneur: perfect for being a freelancer or to start your project quickly at a lower cost.
SAS: by far the most widely used solution because of its flexibility but also the costs associated with the entry/exit of shareholders.
Incubator, accelerator, ... To be accompanied in my good or bad idea?
No accelerator or incubator can guarantee you the success of your startup – or if it does, it is lying to you. The keys to a startup’s success is first and foremost the team, its ability to execute and understand the needs of its target. So why go through an incubator or a startup accelerator?
- To save you time: an incubator or accelerator has the mission to quickly identify when you are wrong and to push you to confront your customers for “fail fast, succeed faster“.
- The network: the network of the incubator or accelerator can play in your favor: connecting, discussions, knowledge of the market and more if affinities.
- Support: joining an incubator or accelerator is first and foremost about people who believe in you and your start-up or business. This is an essential point, especially for all solo entrepreneurs and solo entrepreneurs looking to associate. Think of an incubator like your team or your advisory board, which will support you no matter what. In addition to the support of the team, it is also the help of other start-ups that must be taken into account. In the same promo, entrepreneurs often have profiles, skills and a complementary network!
If you’ve decided to go with you, you’re probably wondering “What’s the incubator for me?” “How do you choose your accelerator?” According to Les Pépites Tech, France had more than 270 incubators and 57 accelerators in 2018, so you have to know how to sort it out.
Each incubator has its own style. In Paris, some incubators are safe values, such as 50Partners, Schoolab, Day One Entrepreneur, The Family, Techstars and others. Before you make your choice, here are some things to consider:
- Reputation, values and quality of coaching: take into account the quality of the coaching by learning about what is included in the program, workshops, follow-up, mentors and experts. The best way to give you an opinion is to chat with the alumni. It will also give you an idea of the atmosphere and atmosphere of the incubator.
- Status: For early-stage start-ups (at the idea stage or without traction), you can apply to incubators such as Schoolab or The Family. The more advanced start-ups have more choices: 50Partners, Day One Entrepreneur, The Family, Techstars, Schoolab, etc.
- Specialized incubators by vertical trade:
- The price: some incubators like schoolab will only charge you the price of the workspace, the co-working for all the accompaniment. For free vs. equity incubators, ask yourself “Is it wise to give on average 4% of my start up share for only 6 months of support?”. Think about it in terms of return on investment.
Start your business in Paris, the province or the world as a playground?
Paris has the advantage of being a cosmopolitan city where the entrepreneurial eco-system is highly developed, with easy ways to meet people. On the other hand, it is also one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Launching your startup in the provinces can therefore be interesting if you are targeting a particular sector (Bordeaux for winetech, Toulouse for aerospace), in addition to requiring a lower cost of living, and therefore allowing you a budget greater than available to get you started. You will have a nice living environment #surf #seafood, less requested BPI aids (so less competition) and a smaller ecosystem but also really easy to access.
Another solution is to be digitally nomadic, which allows to have an incredible living environment, to be able to see if his idea works in several countries, but also why not to find an idea specific to a part of the world, all by spending 3 times less than in Fra I’m not going to do that.
How to finance your startup?
This is one of the most questions asked by entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs.
First of all, we must understand how a start-up’s investment cycle works, which is broken down into four main phases:
Equity is the money you invest to finance the beginnings of your business – count about 10,000 euros in the first year to cover legal, accounting, server, etc. costs.
Then comes the moment when you have some traction, your first customers and you have to start structuring yourself. It’s time to ask your friends and family for a first time: this is what we call the friends-family round.
This is when you can also apply for various aids such as the French Tech Exchange, BPI, Enterprise Network, a loan to your bank, etc.
Then comes the beginning of your growth: with 3,000 to 5000 euros a month of turnover, you have to hire and structure your processes, you will have to finance this growth and therefore will have to do a seed round (start financing) with Business Angels (BA in jargon). You can find them in your network, through Business Angels associations (such as Women Business Angels, and z) or via platforms such as Angelsquare.
Finally comes the financing of growth and your internationalization, so at this point you will need Venture Capitalist (aka VC).
Other financing options may be considered, such as those permitted through private equity, family office or corporate venture capitalist (CVC) structures. Other non-dilutive mechanisms exist, such as mezanian debt or the bond system.
Finally, never forget that the best money is your customers happy to pay for the problem you solve!