Where and How to Start

It’s been almost 2 months since my last post and I keep getting reminded that people are waiting for the next one.

Luckily I felt inspired enough to write this today.

Over the last few weeks I’ve spoken to a lot of people – friends I worked with, lecturers that taught me, and new people I’ve connected with who have a mutual interest in technology.  But an email earlier today made me think of the common things I’ve spoken to many about recently – (tech) entrepreneurship.

A lot of people have good ideas and want to do something about them but don’t know where or how to start.

So, here’s my take on it based on my experience.

(Disclaimer: I’m by no means anything close to being an expert in this area.)

Where to Start

Firstly, a good idea really helps here – a new/unique/better way of solving a problem that someone (preferably many people) has that’s better than any other existing solution.

Secondly, the desire to do something about that good idea.

Finally, actually doing it.

Pretty easy, no?

How to Start

I’m not entirely sure whether Henry Ford actually said the following quote but its one worth etching into your mind as you start out on your entrepreneurial journey.

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing – Henry Ford

Once you’ve memorised that prepare yourself for a lot of reading, talking to people, connecting with like-minded people, trying out things to see if they work, and generally getting out of your comfort zone because you’ll have to put yourself out there to execute your million-dollar idea.

And then even more reading after all of that.

It helps to read up on the failures (and successes) of startups.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of material on that with a local or Pacific context so you’ll have to use your imagination a bit and determine what’s relevant to your situation.

I found the Lean Startup methodology interesting and have used some concepts from it to help build my startup.

Here’s a list of things, in no particular order, that you might want to consider:

  1. Writing a business plan, or not if you follow the Lean Startup methodology (My advice, its worth writing one)
  2. Research your market and your competition.
  3. Figure out whether you’re doing it alone or with a team. (Is your team the right fit? Are they bringing something valuable to your startup)
  4. Figure out how much capital you’ll need and where you’ll get it from to start up. (This is a challenge in Fiji with not much investment in tech startups)
  5. Dig into financials and projecting them over the life of your initial strategy. (Worth doing it with someone who knows financial projections)
  6. Figure out what your Strategy for success will be. (Spend some time on this one)
  7. And, how you’re going to Market your product – website, social media, logo, branding, etc etc. (Matt at Envision Creative is good to work with for creative work; websites are easy and cheap to set up on WordPress)
  8. Know where your business will be based and what expenses that will incur.  (I came across the Suva Business Centre a couple weeks ago and just think that they have an excellent proposition if you can afford it)

If you’ve reached this far and haven’t thought to yourself, “Why do I need to be an entrepreneur anyway?” then congrats!

You’ve got even more reading and learning to do.

Starting a Business in Fiji

Ok, so here’s a shorter list to actually get you started in Fiji:

  1. Register your business – the World Bank’s Doing Business website provides a neat summary of the requirements to register a business.  (Make it easier on yourself and hire a lawyer or accountant to do all this for you.  It’ll cost you approx. FJ$1200-1500 so best to shop around and find out who has the best deal.)
  2. Know your tax obligations – Fiji Revenue Customs Service (Save yourself a fine or trip to jail and be a responsible tax payer)
  3. Have an unlimited supply of patience (Fiji time is renowned the world over for a reason)

That’s pretty much it to get you going.

How do I know all this stuff?

I read. Duh.

Well, my wife and I are starting a tech startup in the fisheries space offering a Software as a Service (SaaS) product in what we believe to be a niche market.  We’re starting as lean as you can possibly get but it’s been a great learning experience for the both of us so far.  We’ve had a chance to meet a lot of new people and have got great feedback from our potential clients.

We release our Minimum Viable Product (MVP) by early next month and will get a few companies trialing it as early adopters.  Come January 1, 2018 we expect to have a few clients subscribed to it.

More on that journey later though.

Happy reading!



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