Andy Yang’s 5 Tips for Entrepreneurial Success

Essential Advice for Aspiring Business Ventures
By: Sucheta Shankar, staff writer

Whether it’s through Dragon’s Den, Shark Tank, TED or any other platform, the mainstream perception of start up and entrepreneurial ventures has transformed.  No longer are business start ups cautiously viewed as risky and difficult.The abundant success of new ideas has served to inspire many other would-be entrepreneurs.Starting up a business isn’t easy, but the onslaught of new technology and growing media outlets have allowed for a stronger reception to new ideas and aspiring businesses.

The most difficult part of any business venture is deciding if the idea is worth pursuing. If it is, how do you turn it into something successful? What should you watch out for? We were able to get a hold of Andy Yang, Managing Director & Chief Innovation Hunter at Extreme Startups,at NBTC’13, who filled us in on his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are the5 key tips to successfully begin (and know when to end) a start-up venture.

Image courtesy of Techvibes.com

Image courtesy of Techvibes.com

Strangers are your new best friends

What’s the best way to know if your idea is ‘the’ idea? “Talk to a thousand people you don’t know,” says Yang. “Tell them about your idea and ask them if it is a good idea or not.” Their impression of the idea, with or without the physical evidence, will help you more accurately ascertain if the idea is worth pursuing, without the bias that your friends and family might give.

“It’s not necessary to have the physical evidence,” Yang continues, “however, it will be essential to have the elevator pitch (2 minutes on what the product is and why you think this idea is a good idea) so you’ll want to have an idea of how to pitch something. It is always important to talk to strangers so you can get a sense of the demand for this idea.”

Assess the measured response

In order to gauge if the idea has the capacity to generate revenue, create a way to measure that response among strangers. Yang states, “I would put together a survey to ask things like if the idea was good (yes/no) and would you pay for this idea (yes/no). It will also give you a quantitative metric telling you the percentage of ‘yes, I’m interested’ versus ‘yes, I’ll pay for this idea.’ So if you can essentially boil it down to metrics, it’ll help the next stage.”

Exhibit core qualities

Venture capitalists are looking for two main things they want you to demonstrate within 2-3 minutes of your meeting or presentation: passion and tenacity.“Those two things,” he says,“in combination, are heavily screened for when we (Extreme Startups) are looking into start-ups.”

Avoid red flag behaviour

Aspiring entrepreneurs sometimes unwittingly sabotage themselves by exhibiting certain behaviours that cause would-be investors to back away from the venture.  Yang explains, “if somebody overpromises – by that I mean, a tendency to oversell – then we do look into potential for that individual to back their claims up. We also watch out for people who get ahead of themselves.”

Learn when to pursue the venture and when to leave it

It is easy to become attached to your start-up – you did create it after all! However, it is important to know when there is something more than can be done and when it is time to pack it up. “They have to weigh capital requirements to what it is they want to achieve,” Yang states.“It also about their own personal capability – do they have burn out? Can they still take it to the next level?

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