Don't focus on an object, an idea, a problem you want to solve. Don't focus on making money for yourself. Don't design value and mission in isolation. Don't dream. Don't invent something. Don't worry about IPO. These fantasy are cool but not executable.
Entrepreneurs are admirable, and startup is exciting. However, if you are one of the following, you should DEFINITELY NOT startup. You should prepare to be better qualified.
If you think startup is cool (maybe you can help people and make the world a better place);
If you want to make money;
If you design from top down with a mission statement or estimate value proposition by reading some business book;
If, when you talk with an investor, your conversation contains the following magic words: "I think", "I want" or "I guess";
If you are a professor and has never worked in a company before;
If you are an employee in an organization or company but has no desire to quit your job;
If you have zero money in your pocket and wants to boot strap a solo proprietor business because you have seen some DIY how-to videos; (Example include drop shipping or Amazon FBA or whatever is latest social network trends)
Don't startup if you don't have a partner. It is like applying a house mortgage without being married - there is someone missing. When you go see an angel or investor by yourself, it is weird.
Don't startup if your idea absolutely can not be shared. The whole success depend on your sharing it. If you can not share something, it means you have not developed the offering yet. It is still just a concept.
Don't startup if you are over 40 and have been an employee all your life. You will regret it. You don't have enough time to go through all the mistakes. Don't be encouraged by stories of people starting in their sixties or eighties.
A naive startup entrepreneur makes a serious mistakes, due to ego. The mistakes are:
1. I am clever
2. I think logically
3. If I offer something great, it will be gain agreement of both investor and people
4. As the chief thinker, I get the most credit for designing a idea no one has thought of
5. If I just propose something small, surely people would give me some money.
Well, this can not be more wrong.
1. You idea has been thought about before.
2. People want to fund the right idea, not the cheap idea.
3. Logic does not work in real life. Society and humans have deep rooted animal and psychological reasons for liking or not liking certain things.
4. The business you try to start is too small, hence no one wants to start it.
5. The idea is already covered by 3-5 companies already.
6. Even after the offering is made, you don't have money for advertising and promotion.
Experienced entrepreneurs get an order first. They drive to a quick first sale. They propose disruptive ideas in BIG industry. They quit their job early. They focus on ONLY ONE business and build it relentlessly. They start build the business in advance to capture the full advantage of being first.
For this reason, they are called entrepreneur - ALL IN, and they will be called leaders after they are done, because they leave people in awe of their visionary and professional drive.