Neil Lewis - Innovative Entrepreneur

Solving problems by growing profitable businesses @neil_lewis

Start-up – the one thing that you absolutely need to succeed!

As I plan for the Start-up workshop running in Manchester on 15th of September, I’ve been working on identifiying the one factor that every start-up needs.

Just one factor?

That’s right – can we distill all the startup advice and tips and recommendations into one single factor?

The answer is, yes. Here’s how.

Let’s start with a list of things that you probably think you need;

  • an idea – afterall, how can you start a business without an idea?
  • some money – don’t all businesses need funding?
  • some outside help – advice, legal support (to protect your idea etc)
  • an office – although, this is less of a definite requirement these days
  • some equipment – so, a computer or a phone at least

… okay, there may be others, but this list probably covers most topics…

But do you really need these?


In truth, the one thing that you absolutely must have is a paying customer. Equally, with a paying customer you will be able to pay to rent equipment, hire outside help and avoid funding.

Now, what do all customers want? Well, they want someone to help solve their problems and challenges.

Hence, rather than begin with an ‘idea’, it would be better if you began with a customer and his problem or issue – and then set about solving that.

Which means that what you really need in the first instance is a customer with a problem – who wants someone to solve it (and therefore is willing to pay for it).

With this customer, you can remove or solve all the other start-up issues. For instance, the need for funding shifts, because now you have a choice to grow organically (slowly, but securely) or ramp up growth (with funding).

Both the organic growth and funded growth routes are valid, but neither is possible without a customer with a clearly understood need that you can solve.

So, to create a startup, you need a problem – someone else’s problem that they want to be solved (and hence, would be willing to pay).

Now, how do you identify a customer with an unmet need? Well, for that, you’ll need a balanced team – and I’ll tackle that issue in my next article in two week’s time.


Thinking about starting up a business and taking the next step in your freelance journey? Join our special workshop, designed to help you think through the next step and take the right actions…


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Written by Editor on August 16, 2011 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Events, Featured, Freelance events article, Freelance Jobs, Innovative Entrepreneur, News, Opinion , , , ,

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