At the start, the barriers to entry are utopian. The ideal would be to be able to generate barriers to entry and competitive advantages, but the reality is that 99% of the time it is very difficult – almost impossible – to generate them, apart from really solving the problems of your potential customers. “There are entrepreneurs who do things that draw the attention of a multinational company that says to them, ‘I find what you do very interesting, but why do I need you when I can duplicate it?’ And that is one of the fears that entrepreneurs have,” says expert Javier Megías.
How should an entrepreneur respond to this wake-up call from a big company? “The best answer to that is, ‘You need me because you sell stuff like this and I think about this 24 hours a day. It’s my only obsession and I’m 17 steps ahead of you. Even if it’s just about focus, in these cases the entrepreneur will be more focused than the multinational and “so it makes more sense that you don’t do everything, trust us and we’re the ones worrying about.” You in this topic because we are obsessed with it. In most cases, the customer companies understand it well,” emphasizes the expert.
Megías recommends that instead of creating barriers to entry, the strategy is to create barriers to exit. “And that needs to be put in context and explained very well to avoid confusion: that someone can come in and copy you? You can copy your current business model, but the models start at A and end at Z; they resemble what an egg resembles a chestnut. Even if your model is copied once on the market, within a year it will not be the same as the first because you always know where you are going; You will have evolutionary processes thanks to the designed return message your customers. Your competitive advantage is knowing how to go two steps ahead and create exit barriers for your users. And by that I don’t mean that leaving you will ever be a problem for your users, but that your users are so happy and invested so much in working with you that they have a problem with leaving you .”
This expert cites an example: “Why have so few users left Facebook to go to Google+ when it has better features?” Because every Facebook profile entry you fill out, everyone post, every new friend you make, etc. is a bit of an initial barrier to change. Exit barriers are generated that represent an exceptional benefit for your users. I don’t believe in barriers to entry because they’re not sustainable either, nor in patents, which are the ultimate barrier to entry because they’re just a shield for entrepreneurs. Paradoxically, if someone wants to attack you over a patent, you will never lose because the patent belongs to you, but a multinational with resources will end up killing you with the cost of litigation. You will have won in the end, but you even lost your shirt trying. So you can’t just rely on the patent as a barrier or a defense.”
A balanced team of partners will add value to the project
Going alone is a very risky adventure. There are experts who recommend solitude, perhaps because they have had bad experiences with partners because they have not been able to formalize previous agreements between the parties. But the ideal is to engage with others. And not everyone applies here. Avoid family, friends, and acquaintances if the only value they bring to the project is closeness. Even if their role is just that of an investor, the fact that they’re putting money into the project shouldn’t make them integral parts of the decision-making process. Look for partners who add value to the project.
“The ideal partner is the one you don’t have to convince, who is crazier than you are. Investors, yes, you have to convince them. And if you have partners, not everyone has to drive 300 km/h, but everyone at their own pace, but autonomously, without anyone having to rush them,” advises Daniel Suárez from the management consultancy Coontigo.
José Antonio de Miguel is not convinced by the figure of the sole proprietor. “You have to have an interlocutor who puts your feet on the ground for there to be a debate. The core team should be very simple and small, with clearly defined roles from the start. It must be clear what each team member contributes to the project, to that value proposition. And also the leadership roles of the team members must be clear, as well as the ability to unload the members as the project grows. When an investor decides to invest money, they will do so with confidence in the worth of people and their ability to carry out these projects.”
For Megías, surrounding yourself with a balanced team “seems like bullshit, but it’s not. As a rule, in the vast majority of cases, these are either exclusively technologists or exclusively managers. And that’s a mistake. The key is in compensated teams.” And also advised and looked after by people with great experience and added value. “A good Advisory Board is critical to securing future funding. But it is a very difficult process to filter because there are many pseudo-experts. It’s dangerous to trust any mentor,” says this expert.
How do you convince them?
But how do you convince them to join your project that is new? “If your idea is strong and you believe in it, you will be able to convince him of it. You can “give back” by risking: ‘I’ll give you 2% of the company just because we meet once a month and you help me open doors. This does not mean that you will have a vase consultant, because vase consultants are worth nothing, but you must have someone to help you in terms of industry knowledge, validating problems, network of contacts, etc.,” Megías clarifies.
Suárez warns against one of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make: confusing subcontracting with collaborating, and when they decide, they do it late and badly. “Remember that even if you don’t need them now, you must have trusted collaborators (creators, developers, advertisers, etc.) because your customers will end up asking you for it. Many entrepreneurs are forced to outsource to someone they’ve never worked with before and don’t know how it’s going to work. The staff will be the ideal if you have tested them before you need them.”
And how do you deal with others?
The key is in communication. “The dialogue must consist of constant and daily face-to-face meetings to assess the status of everything. In it, the competences of each individual must be marked so that there is no jealousy, who make plans together, adjust the agendas with the completion dates of each project. Partners should talk a lot about how things are going because what will end up getting them through the bad times is the strength they all have together as well as the close relationship and trust between partners because when there are cracks , you will sink the first time you use it, ”emphasizes Berto Pena.