How to turn a great idea into a successful business: part 3

The important characteristics of an entrepreneur or start-up

 By Ashok Suppiah, CEO and Co-Founder of Mitra Innovation

Entrepreneurship would be easy if there was a science or formula for a start-up to become successful. Right? Unfortunately the formula doesn’t exist. However experience does tell me that many successful entrepreneurs and start-ups master three very important characteristics:

  • Commitment and team strength
  • Passion to innovate
  • Early market validation.

Last week I published two articles about ‘Commitment and Team Strength’ and ‘A Passion to Innovate’. This third article in the series is about ‘Early Market Validation.

Market first: Get market validation fast
All entrepreneurs believe they can sell their product or service. But the entrepreneurs who succeed are the ones who validate their offering amongst potential purchasers very early on. What they also validate is how they will sell their product or service.

At Mitra we cannot stress just how important this is and our advice to help achieve validation is as follows:

1.Take the Agile approach.
Agile helps to breakdown ideas into small manageable execution blocks, that lead to the creation of a planned roadmap, and a product which is built incrementally and fast.

Agile supports our belief that entrepreneurs should aim to take the prototype to market within 30-45 days. Especially in the tech world where people are innovating at breakneck speed.

We recently did this with Modern Democracy, an ambitious technology company based in Northern Ireland. Modern Democracy assists election professionals to plan and deliver great elections. Mitra, in partnership with the startup, helped to launch their innovative digital election management platform within six weeks and successfully run a live pilot to validate their product.
Time to market is crucial for new ideas and Agile helps to keep the process moving incrementally whilst validating the concept early.

2.Find some early customers – even if it’s just for the pilot stage.
Finding a partner or potential customers can be very powerful to help validate an offering, not only in terms of obtaining reviews, improving the offering, and spreading the word, but also because it can help to raise funds.

3.Avoid running user feedback forums.
Instead find some target users and observe how they use your prototype or product. Use the findings for further improvement.

4.The validation stage should never be about perfection.
Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of not launching their product or service until it’s perfect, but we believe perfection takes too long, and could end up costing entrepreneurs their whole idea. It’s important to get the boat in the water, rather than miss it entirely. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that early adopters are usually happy to take risks using new products, especially if they feel they’ll have a part in forming the future make-up of the offering.

The timing of market entry is just as important as getting the project right.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, we hope you’ve found this article useful.

Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
Strive to be the one out of 10 startups that succeeds.

This is the final article in the series. If you would like to read all three characteristics, contact Mitra for a copy of our complete publication titled ‘How to turn a great idea into a successful business: The important characteristics of an entrepreneur or start-up’.

Mitra Innovation
Mitra for entrepreneurs
If you have a start-up that needs starting up, contact us today about the Mitra Start-Up Kit: an intensive three week programme that will help you transform your idea into everything you need to launch your business, and you’ll walk away with a fully-fledged business model, a product prototype, and a kick-ass investor pitch.

For further information please contact us at 0208 090 4121, or
You could also hear more by joining our webinar on Tuesday 10 May 2016 titled: ‘How to be successful as a technology start-up’.

The author:

Ashok Suppiah is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully started several tech companies over his 20-year career. With a passion to innovate using pioneering technology, he has helped over 40 startup clients including edocs Inc (part of Oracle)

Ashok is the CEO and co-founder of Mitra Innovation.
You can connect with Ashok on Linkedin and Twitter or via email. For further information please contact us at 0208 090 4121, or


Leave a Reply