Becoming an Entrepreneur in 2020. Too late? No!
The Startup Ecosystem
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a young guy who had recently finished university and is now doing some post-university work experience before deciding on a career path.
He reached out to me because he wanted to hear my story behind founding Deskmates, and he wanted to find out what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and live the startup life. Near the end of our discussion, he shot an unexpected question and statement:
“Is it too late for me to become an entrepreneur? There are so many startups out there, and I’m afraid that the startup world is too saturated.”
This observation was surprising to hear because I would imagine that the answers are apparent, especially to young people just coming out of their studies.
Seeing that this topic might be unclear to somebody, I decided to put pen to paper and write this article, to give prospective entrepreneurs a thorough answer.
First and foremost, it’s absolutely not too late! I think that It’s never too late to become an entrepreneur and establish something of your own.
Today, the startup world might seem very crowded, but the truth is that it’s not. In reality, I think that there has never been a better time to become an entrepreneur and launch your startup. Here are some more elaborate reasons why.
The Startup Ecosystem
Yes, millions of startups exist today, but the only thing that this confirms is how accessible becoming an entrepreneur has become. Nowadays, there are hundreds of programs and resources in place, that can help you on your startup path:
- Government startup programs, subsidies, and grants,
- Corporate startup programs,
- Online courses and videos,
- Long read and short read materials,
- Startup conferences and events,
- Local startup meetups and networking events.
Just ten years ago, many of these didn’t exist or were not as advanced as today. Europe, for example, is a young player in the global startup ecosystem and has only started growing since around 2013.
The need for innovations and new investment opportunities has been causing this growth, and it will continue to lead the evolution of such programs in 2020 and onwards.
If your dream is to become an Entrepreneur, then you must take advantage of these opportunities because what they offer is priceless.
Venture Capital Funding
There is plenty of cash out there today, as investors have become watchmen and are always on the lookout for new ideas and startups to fund.
Europe alone has seen a 224% increase in capital investments since 2014, reaching $34.3 Billion in 2019. Way ahead is the USA with $116.7 Billion, and Asia, somewhere in between, with $62.5 Billion.
This growth trend will continue through 2020, and these numbers will climb as more and more investors are starting to see the value and ROI of investing in new ideas and startups.
These figures alone should be enough to show you that it’s not too late to become an entrepreneur and to launch your startup.
On the one hand, the end of 2019 held an event that some people are calling the “burst of the startup bubble.” The grand coworking unicorn, WeWork, utterly failed its IPO. WeWork was heading for a total business valuation of $47 billion.
A few months before the IPO, investors started investigating the firm’s value, and the estimations soon started dropping until WeWork withdrew the IPO, causing bitter consequences for themselves and the startup world.
Their excessive valuation and other misleading IPO’s before WeWork, such as Uber and Lyft, have made investors very wary. Many are now only ready to invest in startups that are further along in their growth stages.
This development means that Investors now desire to see clear proof of monetization and future profits.
For prospective entrepreneurs, this means that the path for launching your startups and raising funds might take longer than before. However, the growth of the startup ecosystem, which I previously described, has been furthering new opportunities that confront this startup bubble burst.
There are still numerous early-stage funds that invest only in idea stage teams, and there are countless startup programs that focus on helping early-stage startups develop and launch their businesses.
If you want to become an entrepreneur and join the startup world in 2020, my advice is to put all of your focus into building a great product or service. The possibilities are still here. But has the startup bubble rally burst? My personal opinion is no: it has only slightly changed, but we’ll have to see what 2020 shows us.
Looking at the whole startup world and saying that there is a lot of competition is incorrect. Competition needs to be segmented. You need to analyze your competitive players per industry, per market, and per sector, depending individually on your project or startup.
After doing this analysis, if you’ve still discovered that you have many competitors, then this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You’ve just proven that there’s demand for your idea.
Competition is never bad as it’s proof that there’s a market. However, the critical thing that you should be focusing on is understanding how your idea differentiates from your competitors.
- What are you doing better than others?
- What are you solving that other people are not?
- How unique is your idea, and most importantly, how difficult is it to replicate?
All of these questions and many more need to be answered before you get into developing your startup. Clarifying these topics is essential. Don’t worry about competition early on, because if your technology, product, or service is genuinely better than everyone else’s, then competition might never be a problem. Focus on creating something unique!
Creation of New Markets
The growth of the startup world is interlinked between everything that I described above. Today’s consumers demand new products & services. This trend drives corporations and governments to push for innovations, which attracts entrepreneurs to launch new startups.
This movement draws more investors and increases the global venture capital market. In turn, an ecosystem forms, which gives birth to all the various startup programs and resources that I mentioned above.
This startup world is growing at immense speeds, and each year, people are inventing new technologies, creating new markets, and forming new industries.
This ecosystem has created what I call the Market Innovation Loop that is feeding itself: innovation is driving the building of more innovation.
With each new technology created, a new market and industry can emerge. With the rise of new markets and industries comes the opportunity of designing new products, services, and ultimately this spurs the invention of more new technologies.
Market Innovation Loop
If you aspire to become an entrepreneur in 2020, you need to have a clear understanding of the startup ecosystem and need to be familiar with this Market Innovation Loop.
The loop shows that the startup playing field is continually changing and growing, which means that there’s always room for more entrepreneurs. Grasping these components and realizing how they influence each other, will allow you to push your ideation process to create new ideas, technologies, products, or services.
I sincerely hope that this article will shine some light on the startup ecosystem and on a few specific steps needed to become an entrepreneur.
The expectations for 2020 are high, and as I’ve said previously, there has never been a better time to become an entrepreneur and launch your startup. The startup world is inspiring. I’m always very excited to discover new people who are beginning their paths to create something new.
Every fresh idea has the potential of transforming into a successful startup that could have the power to form new markets, produce new industries, and eventually maybe even change the world.
Originally published on medium.