Coming up with an idea, creating an action plan, working on a pitch… Founding a startup takes an eternity, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes, all you need is three days to form a solid base for your future company.
That’s the concept the 3 Day Startup program is based on. It helps students to unlock their entrepreneurial potential within less than 72 hours. Nick Chagin is the program manager of this initiative. The 24-year-old has already worked on startups himself and knows how to avoid beginner’s mistakes and how to cope with potential copycats.
Founding a startup within three days – is that even possible?
“Yes and no”, Chagin says. “Founding a startup is solely based on understanding a few key skills and actions that an entrepreneur has to take to start a business.”
According to Chagin, it doesn’t take more than three days to understand that a problem exist, to validate that other people have the same problem and to find out that there’s no current business that solves that problem. “It does take more than three days to go on a market, though.” The latter step requires much more customer discovery, prototyping and testing.
Is this program exclusively for future entrepreneurs?
The aim of the initiative is to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in students of all ages, disciplines and majors. According to Chagin, the way entrepreneurs view the world is the way everyone should view it: “Thinking with an entrepreneurial mindset helps so much when looking at a risk and creating a plan to cope with it.”
Besides this, students are not obliged to found their own startup after completing the program. Chagin: “Whether or not students choose to start a business, hopefully they will have a new set of confindence and taking risks will not be as scary.”
What’s a typical beginner’s mistake?
Clearly, there is a lot that can go wrong when founding a startup. One typical beginner’s mistake is to think that one needs (and will get) money right away, Chagin: “Far too often, students think that just because they have an idea that is unique and innovative, they will get funding instantaneously to make it a billion dollar company.”
You’ll have to prove why investors should give you money.
Before cash is flowing, though, there is plenty to plan and do research about. First you’ll have to prove why investors should give you money.
Is there anything else young entrepreneurs need to know?
“Do as much as you can by yourself so you’re absolutely sure that your business is valuable and people will pay for it”, Chagin says. Also: “Share your idea with others, create an action plan that helps you visualize your timeline and don’t be afraid of failure.”
What about the risk of copycats, though?
Some future-entrepreneurs choose not to share their idea with anybody because they’re afraid of copycats. But there’s a simple way to deal with this threat. “You can prevent others from stealing your idea by being the first who makes it a reality”, Chagin says, pointing out that 99 percent of the people are not going to be as passionate about your idea as you are.
Chagin: “They’re not going to put so much effort into copying your plan. However, it is possible that out there in the world, someone comes up with the same or a similar idea. So what you can do is make sure you’re the first who makes it a reality.”