Start-up is a fancy word these days. Those who haven’t yet tried has a different impression than those who’re already into it. As a consulting firm, we often come across new founders with a great idea, immense enthusiasm and 100% dedication towards their brain child. We seat across the table and work with them to iron out fine details and brainstorm highs and lows of the business model.
Those who are thinking to get on to this path, we thought to share few insights on basis of our experience of working with startups for almost 14 years now. And believe me, we have seen more failure than the successes. So this list may help those who wants to be on own and build your own startup.
Again this is not a rule book. But these are basic principles which will have a high impact on the success of your idea.
- It’s for those who will use it: We often see founders making this mistake of being too much obsessed with what they know and how they want to do it. Start-up is their own brain child so it’s very difficult for some founders to drive it to the need of customers. So, be open to listening to the feedback of those who’re using it or who’ll use it. Be open to criticism and compile them in a list. You really don’t need to act on every suggestion or criticism but that will surely give you a reality check. Feedbacks always have a pattern, understand it and use it for the betterment of your product.
- Be real and approachable: Ultimately your customers come to you for a product you built because it helps them meeting their own objectives. They may not see you as a person but you must always deal with them as people. Be real and approachable, listen to what they need and provide timely resolutions. More attentive and courteous you become, harder it will get for them to leave your product. If you look at the history, it’s not always a great product which is successful but those with a great after sales service are always successful. The day your customer starts spreading the word about your product, you’ve achieved your objective. Happy customers are best salesmen.
- Don’t waste: Time and money are most precious assets. Be wise to spend time and money. If you’ll not respect your time, people will not respect you. Utilise your time properly and do productive work rather than spending hours on those tasks which are not of priority or directly affecting your objectives. At the same time, as a startup (No matter VC or angel funded or self-funded) you should be very cautious about spending money. It doesn’t mean you do everything on own but you must weigh each task against time and value parameters before taking a final call. Have your roadmap in front of you all the time, secure extra money than what you’ll need and be prepared for the worst.
- Have a team like family: Obviously, everyone joins a startup with own objectives like package, experience, fame but those must be aligned with your business objectives. Your team will be your second family in this journey so a team with positive vibes will help you going that extra mile. Keep them motivated and involved with your objectives. Be courteous for their contribution. If you somehow got someone with negative vibes in the team, no matter how much you need that resource – it’s advisable to part ways immediately. That will save you from big trouble down the lane.
- Have a life: Founders are too close to their startup and they miss other moments of life. May it be spending time with family, looking after health or doing what they really love to do. It’s important to cut off once in a while, spend time with family and recharge yourself. At the end, you’ll need someone to share your success or failure. Don’t be a lonely jerk. It’s no fun to have billion dollar startup without a social circle or a family.
- Self-motivation: Start-up is a buzz word you started hearing lately but if you think, all successful businesses were a startup once. We only know those which are successful but the hard truth is, 90-95% of the startups fail miserably without even being noticed. Why is that? It’s mainly because founders give up quickly or lose confidence in their own idea. No one has time to keep motivating you that often. Friends or family would push you once or twice, rest of the time, you’ll have to be self-motivated. It’s your selfish goal and for that, you’ll have to be ready to fall and rise on your own.
Remember the wisdom words of Rocky Balboa –
“It Ain’t How Hard You Hit…It’s How Hard You Can Get Hit and Keep Moving Forward. It’s About How Much You Can Take And Keep Moving Forward!”