Monday 27 May 2013

To get in the game - just start

Get your #startup journey going

I frequently bump into people who tell me they want to start a business but they don’t know where to start. I can certainly relate. I decided to become an entrepreneur in 1989. I found myself quite lost and delayed getting into the game until 1998. I had moved to the Qatar with my family and found no viable employment opportunities. When I did finally cross the starting line, and delve into becoming an entrepreneur, there was no entrepreneurial eco-system, and no how-to guide in starting a business in the developing Middle East. 

I have a few expressions that have served with me over the years that could qualify as personal brand statements. My mantra is: “It’s not where you’re at, it’s where you are going”.

I have rarely chosen a direct path in my career, whether in projects or more major aspects.  I prefer to architect solutions that often require a lot of creating … of building foundations, networks, strategies and ideas.

During the early bootstrapped startup phase, I call this creating process, “knitting out of the air”.  Starting with a clean slate, limited tools, no resources and sometimes no market.  You invest in building equity and capital by knitting ideas and connecting people together.

This knitting project becomes your strategy safety net once you’re flying.

In that light, I guess you could say I have had moments where I may have appeared, to the outside world, and myself for that matter, to be “stalled” professionally. 

Creating with “It’s not where you’re at, it’s where you are going” in mind, and keeping my eye on the “end state” ball have always served me well.

My first business was a small real estate office serving Qatar’s inbound expatriate community. When the bottom fell out of the oil market, and expats were being sent home in droves, I took up a real estate consultancy gig to attract clients to one of Qatar’s first apartment towers.  The market had become fiercely competitive and savvy marketing saved the day.

Then I started a boot-strapped creative agency that slowly grew into one of the best event and publishing agencies in the country.

I had limited to nil direct experience to start any of these businesses. I worked with local co-founders who made great mentors into an unknown culture, but the business part of it I just had to figure out as I went along.

If you don’t know the right place to start, just jump in with the end state in mind. Jump into an existing network, ramp up your networking game, talk to people in the space you want to be part of. Ask lots of questions.  Inspiration, opportunities and ideas spin out of dialogue.

Today resources exist in virtually every community to help entrepreneurs get started. Mentors, social media Questions and Answers (Quara), startup clubs abound and can help to jump your start. 

To get your startup journey going, take a step today.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,the law does not allow a non-Qatari for Incorporation in Qatar to participate in banking, insurance, commercial agency or real estate trading activities.Thanks...