Do you have an idea? Here’s how to get it off the ground
Headquartered in San Francisco, FlightCar Co-Founders Kevin Petrovic (20) and Rujul Zaparde (20) are the youngest entrepreneurs to ever raise $20 million in venture capital. Their company now operates in twelve major U.S. cities, and they have unique insight into taking an idea to market.
In their own words below, they offer tips and advice on taking your idea to market:
Adding to your daily mantra
A lot of advice is out there on how to turn that million-dollar idea into a million-dollar (or more) business. Silicon Valley is brimming with young entrepreneurs vying to be the first to market and the last to leave. But before taking that first step to entrepreneurship, there are a few catchphrases you should add to your daily mantra:
- No one is going to want you to be successful more than you and you alone (reference: inspirational speech from Rocky VI). If that last statement isn’t true, then you should wait to start a business until it is. There are plenty of brilliant people in the world full of the biggest and brightest ideas who weren’t ready to turn their ideas into 80-hour a week jobs. Be your biggest motivator.
- At some point in the future you’re going to have to sell your product. Understanding that every person you come in contact with is a potential customer, investor, and/or promoter is essential to creating a solid, useable network. Be ready with your thirty-second elevator pitch and talk to everyone and their bungee jumping uncle.
- Being young and convincing others that you’ve transcended this transgression can be one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business. You will be discounted for your lack of experience. In these instances it’s important to remember that everyone fakes it. That manager is not as confident as she appears to be, that VP Engineering isn’t as deft as he appears to be. Learn how to fake it better, and then Google it when no one is watching.
- Here are the last words of advice you can write down and put under your pillow: in today’s world, it’s not enough to be the best at something. Most businesses don’t start with millions. They start with a couple guys in a garage and a computer, a woman in an apartment filled with sketches on bar napkins, or a few guys in a driveway with a vacuum cleaner. If you’re planning on building an empire from the ground up, you’re eventually going to need to learn the job of everyone in that company in order to hire your own replacements. It’s impossible to know when you’ll need the knowledge you’re acquiring, but in Slumdog Millionaire fashion, those dots will all connect at some point in time. Have more than one skill set. Nobody wants to have a beer with a one-trick pony.