THE BUSINESS INCUBATOR: NURTURING AN IDEA FROM CONCEPT TO SUCCESSFUL STARTUP
In 2020, over 1.1 million businesses were created in the United States. Of those start-ups, roughly 90% are expected to fail. 10% will fail within the first year. 70% will fail between the second and fifth year. These are the bleak statistics that confront every fledgling entrepreneur. Despite these challenges, “applications to start businesses [have] surged” since the start of the pandemic. Steve Job famously quipped, “I'm convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard. You pour so much of your life into this thing.” As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to objectively evaluate your business ideas and identify the practical ways to start executing on your vision.
We sat down with Damon Claus, the CEO of CASTUS and the co-founder of carter joey, a new children’s outdoor adventure brand, to get his perspective on how entrepreneurs can successfully nurture a business idea from concept to successful start-up.
QUESTIONS FOR DAMON
1. HOW DO YOU EVALUATE DIFFERENT BUSINESS IDEAS FOR POTENTIAL?
The litmus test for any business idea is simple: are you solving a problem? If a business is not solving a real problem for the customer, it will not work. Any entrepreneur should also ask the question: how many consumers have this problem? When evaluating different business ideas, you must understand your total addressable market, serviceable available market, and serviceable obtainable market.
2. WHAT ARE SOME KEY STEPS IN TAKING A BUSINESS IDEA TO MARKET?
A business plan is a must because it is important to fully understand the key components of your business. The value of the business plan is often found in the journey. The business plan process will force you to understand the details of your business. It helps you clearly articulate the value of your product and/or service and helps you connect them to clearly defined features and benefits.
3. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES START-UPS FACE DURING THEIR FIRST YEAR?
Some common challenges faced by start-ups in their first few years of business are funding, self-doubt, and market acceptance. It takes an incredible amount of dedication, tenacity, and hard work to overcome these challenges.
4. HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING SCRAPPY AND OPPORTUNISTIC WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DRIVING TOWARDS A LONG-TERM VISION/STRATEGY?
It is tricky to thread that needle. Every company needs to find their own balance, but businesses should avoid making short-sighted decisions. Being scrappy should never interfere with the long-term vision of the company.
5. HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHEN A START-UP IS READY TO START HIRING ADDITIONAL PEOPLE?
Each situation is different, but founders should start hiring people when either 1) internal resources are being stretched to the limit or 2) the company desperately needs a specific skill set not currently represented within the company.
At CASTUS, we partner with start-ups working to take their business ideas to market. We are a team of business development experts who can guide your start-up through strategy, readiness, and execution. Our unique approach starts at the foundational level. We help your company articulate your company’s innovation, service, and/or product. We call this your Business Identity. Next, we prepare your company by developing internal systems and training your team to sustain long-term sales growth. Lastly, we help you launch and remain available for support as your company starts closing sales. We would love to talk and learn more about your start-up! Schedule a free consultation today.