Entrepreneur.com asked What is the most important thing to have when you are just starting your company? on LinkedIn and here are the results:
While I really like the answer business plan — I’m a business planner — I don’t completely agree. If I weren’t biased down to my bones, I’d answer “something else” and clarify that what you really need, more than anything else, is customers. You can have money, idea, business plan, and the guts to go for it and still fail miserably if nobody wants to buy what you’re selling.
However, realistically, not all startups have the luxury of early customers. While ideally you find some early customers, or promises, or prepaid sales, sometimes you need to create something first (such as a product, website, app,etc.) before people can buy it. And in those cases, the business plan is the next best thing because — if it’s done well — it focuses on real indications, real information, and reasonable estimates of believable sales prospects. So that makes business plan is a good compromise.
And business plan alone isn’t enough; it has to be a realistic, practical, concrete business plan that you can execute on.
The guts to go for it isn’t enough. It’s what we call a necessary but not sufficient condition. You’re nowhere without it, but you might be even worse than nowhere with it. Courage without customers, for example, is a terrible combination.