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May 2, 2022

It Starts with the Problem




Gerrit Jan van 't Veen

Managing Director of WorldStartup Collective

Sometimes things seem so obvious you completely forget about them. Like the most important aspects, founders should nurture within their teams at the very start of their journey.

Last Friday, I was part of a conversation with a group of students running or thinking about starting their businesses. The simple questions were: What does it take to be an entrepreneur? And what do we mean by impact?

The frank conversation quickly led to a convincing list of things founders should care deeply about, including resilience, persistence, creativity, a solution-oriented mindset, and having fun.

And don’t start by yourself. Building your business with a diverse team is more enjoyable and increases your chances of success.

But what I liked best was the part where we talked about the somewhat concept of the "idea" as the starting point of your business. Personally, I don’t think that's how it usually starts - with some genius Archimedes moment.

A business starts with a deep understanding and passion for working on a problem, the missing skills and solutions to solve that problem, and then, finally, the assessment of whether you are in the position to perform better than the people have already tried before you.

It takes about 3 to 5 years to fail and about 5 to 10 years to become successful. So you better love the problem you are working on. Call it purpose, mission, or simply frustration. It starts with the problem.

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