Don't start until you have completed these 3 challenges.
Hello, I am the CEO of Soluciones Kenko S.A. de C.V.
I studied biomedical engineering, an MBA at EGADE, and an advanced course in Senior Management from IPADE Business School. I specialized in finance and marketing for startups at Boston University, studied finance for entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics, and startup development in developing countries at the University of Cape Town, among many others.
Today I want to share with you the 3 biggest challenges I have encountered in my journey as an entrepreneur, and I believe that no one should take the next step without first completing these complicated challenges.
I hope you like my advice and experiences. Please share this with anyone who is starting, has started, or is in the process of starting their own business.
I also invite you to follow Kenko Solutions in our networks. I am sure that all those technological projects you have in mind can materialize and change the world. Let´s begin.
1) Make peace with “I told you so”
The biggest challenge to overcome for any entrepreneur is to understand that the only thing that matters is to complete the activities. Over the years, the more we study and learn, the more we stop planning our actions. It is obvious, we even pay for the knowledge of what the successful companies we aspire to do or did at the time.
However, the only absolute reality that exists is that: there is no such thing as "If only I would´ve....". When we do things, and we make mistakes, we always have the universal excuse of turning to the past and blaming our self for not having planned well. We always do it from our current privilege of having managed to finish the task no matter what, with a positive or negative result.
We are so afraid of failing again that in order not to expose ourselves as losers we decide to stop doing things. A true entrepreneur understands that the real value is in "doing" and not "planning". A person ready to undertake no longer hurts the "I told you so" because he already knew that something was not going to go well, but now, without speculation and with the security you can try again, correcting, perfecting, becoming a true MASTER.
In Kenko Solutions we have a saying before the "I told you so", here we always think "I did what I could do best with the information I had at the time". All systems point to entropy so make peace with that, understand the risk, accept it, and start doing it.
A great example of this is the company Strategico Design Group (SDG) of which I am a proud partner.
Usually, when starting a business or StartUP, most consultants go straight to creating a mantra, mission, vision, and values. An entrepreneur can spend hours, days, or even months trying to make their charter perfect. In SDG's case, we had a quick meeting, we knew we couldn't go home without setting up this values-based business control mechanism because we had to take hiring interviews tomorrow.
However, the first mission and vision came out, everyone in that room understood that SDG's reason for existing is to provide clients with design services that will add value to their business if and only if they are aligned to their business strategy. However, we didn't have the information to articulate that sentence and fell into a generic mission statement. One year later, over $2,000,000 in revenue and growing from 2 to 7 people on their team. SDG sits down with their team and redefines their mission now with their new knowledge.
All that was needed was to get started, swallow the fear of failure and those "I told you so's". SDG started their recruitment process and beyond what their charter said, they let their day-to-day work shape their true mission and vision.
2) Knowing how to ask for help (and accepting that you don´t know)
Our first venture ecglove (portable electrocardiogram were just touching the upper chest of a patient was enough to detect more than 12 arrhythmias and record up to 6 possible heart leads) was a media success, FORBES, MEDGADGET, Shark Tank, Entrepreneur, and more than 15 national and international awards were not only thanks to us as entrepreneurs.
In the beginning, as 3 lab rats, we were in the biomedical engineering laboratories ITESM, we were invited to an entrepreneurship program, this program taught us to validate our ideas with the market and most importantly, to ask for help.
We knew nothing about how to do business, but our mentors, Dr. Geraldina Silveria, Dr. Alejandro Garcia, Dr. Rita Fuentes, and many more, taught us the art of seeking advisors, experienced people in our circle that will help us to have a clearer vision and mitigate risks that may appear along the way.
We went from asking for advice to understand how money behaves overtime to finding the national consultant that will lead us to obtain our NOM certification for medical device manufacturing as Soluciones Kenko S.A. de C.V.
Recognizing that you do not know is an act of humility, which triggers you to receive help, knowledge and to complete the task with the help of the experience of someone wiser than you.
Your goal as an entrepreneur will never be to become the best financier, operations manager, development engineer, or business consultant. You have two goals: 1) to be the best founding partner your company could ever hope for, 2) to build today, while thinking about tomorrow.
3) Invest in yourself
I know what you are thinking, I know you have always been told that you must build your wealth with other people's money. But realize that your job as the person who is going to ask for money is to reduce the risks of that person losing his savings. It is your responsibility to show them that they can trust you.
How the hell do you expect that person to trust you when you are not willing to put up any money to move your idea forward?
How do you expect someone to put 100,000 pesos when you are not willing to train yourself to be a better entrepreneur?
You can have the best business idea in the universe, but if you are not good as a person you cannot expect someone to trust you.
A common mistake is wanting to set up a Coke-sized industry for which you need an impressive amount of money and want to go out and get the investment that you obviously won't get. First invest in yourself, then invest in your business and look for help to break your project into sections.
When our clients come to Kenko Solutions for technological development we always look for how to make their deliverables can go to be validated in the market, we work on the image of the product, its user requirements, purpose, and intended use to do what we do best, rapid prototyping quality.
At Kenko Solutions, we have had a lot of experience with entrepreneurs and companies that hire us to take their projects to the next level. Although we have also encountered entrepreneurs that the only thing lacking is funding, they have invested everything they can in their development. The exemplary case is RCPractica, a product developed by Soluciones Kenko but conceived by Mariana Delgado (Project Management Analyst at SK). This project was the winner of the innovation award of the state of Guanajuato and when it arrived with us, we saw that it had a great opportunity to offer a product that could compete in portability and with a business model different from the current mannequins to make society more prepared to activate the chain of survival since 70% of extra-hospital infarctions occur at home.
Before raising the necessary capital to position RCPractica as a final product, we made a series of prototypes that were validated with more than 200 health professionals to reduce risks. Today this project is at a national level and is supported by ITESM with a whole generation of future entrepreneurs to be able to take our product to vulnerable populations.
Undoubtedly a great example of how one of the obstacles to overcome as an entrepreneur is to first invest in yourself and then in your venture.
Now you know what the first three challenges are to overcome in order to become an entrepreneur. I invite you to reflect on these three and tell me about your experience. I wish you a path full of learning and I open the doors to talk about your entrepreneurship or development idea.