Infographics are a fun way of communicating complicated messages in a fast and simple way. Given the information glut and endless babble of the Internet, infographics represent a welcome alternative, as they usually represent a potent combination of thought and design that makes their meaning clear and memorable.
FundersandFounders.com, a San Francisco-based group dedicated to "startupization," has created a series of infographics to illustrate various aspects of the entrepreneurial-capital continuum. One of the most basic is the new infographic entitled "Becoming an Entrepreneur."
This infographic breaks the typical startup into eight easy phases:
Look ahead: "Try to see the future be even though you are looking at the present. Get your own understanding of how the industry will develop."
Think of a problem: Start out by identifying one small, specific problem. FundersandFounders suggests you talk to a thousand people about how to solve it. Then you choose one solution and execute it.
Follow your passion: If you're not ready to work 80 hours a week on your project, it's probably not what you're meant to do. Keep looking till you find what you really want to do.
Tell people and demo: once you start getting the word out, you'll be surprised how many people want to work with you.
Use your gut feeling. Trust yourself; you know your niche better than anyone else.
Make a prototype. According to FundersandFounders' view of the average Silicon Valley startup, anyone can build a simple prototype solution based on two to five screen captures. All you need is a paper and a computer (and probably an iPhone).
Do the legwork.
Block the doubters. Startup entrepreneurs hear a lot of "No"s. You just have to keep going.
As writer/designer Anna Vital explains in an accompanying short essay, the model's simplicity is the key: "From what I have seen working with hundreds of startup founders, it is often those that stay 'hungry and foolish,' as Steve Jobs put it, that are able to find a solution to a problem people have and build a business out of it. By foolish, I mean simplistic but focused thinking. The more you complicate the problem you are solving, the more unsolvable it becomes."
Vital expresses the hope that this infographic will encourage more people to just "do." "Entrepreneurship is more about the actions you take, not the person you are. If you take action, you are ahead of the vast majority of people, who talk about entrepreneurship, but never build anything."
Sadly, the main image in this infographic is pretty undistinguished: a paunchy-looking, T-shirt-clad young startup entrepreneur. But you'll love the two words of dialogue they give him. "I'm unscared."
In a fearful world, I find that pretty inspiring.
Read Rick Spence's other blog on how to Use Infographics to Enhance Reader Engagement.