Like many others, I too have got tremendously fascinated by success stories through start-ups and have been inspired to work towards building one of my own. But hey, don’t get it wrong, I am not here today to tell you my fancy dreams or my plans for this. I wanna share here all what I have learnt about ‘start-up’ in the past couple of years. Hope this adds much more to whatever you have known so far!
Start-ups are like cool. Start-ups are like thrilling. Start-ups are like adventurous. Start-ups are like risky. Start-ups are like doing something which appeared impossible in the beginning! But giving plot to a serious conversation, I need to say the most basic truth for start-ups, that they are like the toughest thing in the world to be accomplished. It’s much more than just developing an android app, or launching an e-commerce site, or setting up a new restaurant in the city or a boutique or anything like that.
All start-ups begin with an idea, and the ideas as believed by most appear as a flash of insight in the mind! No, it doesn’t. Ideas are not just flashes of insight, they don’t pop-up in somebody’s mind merely sitting in solitary or walking hours on the beach. Ideas grow and evolve as well. They stem from knowledge and skills acquired out of an undying curiosity for learning. Ideas are connections amongst everything you have in your mind; the more you know, the more connections are possible. You may have acquired variety of skills and diversified knowledge, but it’s always wiser to choose an idea you are too passionate about. Remember, success comes to those who chase their passion!
Once you have discovered your idea, it’s very important to convince yourself about it. Talk to a lot of people telling them what you want to do. Too many people are afraid talking to others about their ideas. Don’t worry about people stealing your idea, worry that no one will care. If somebody can beat you just by hearing your idea, it wasn’t a defensible idea to begin with. Who knows? Maybe, explaining your ideas out loud will reveal newer and better ideas.
Being passionate for a field doesn’t really mean you’re an expert in every part and parcel of it. When it comes to being professionally engaged to a realm and starting something which didn’t exist before, you will discover you can’t do it all on your own, nobody can! You need to be aware of your limitations as well as strengths as a founder. And, when you have discovered your weaknesses, choose someone who has strength in that area. Choose your co-founders wisely, ‘coz you’ll be spending a lot of time together.
Be curious to learn, grow and acquire. All high performing entrepreneurs have this in common. Read lots of content, know who the best are. You need to be well aware of the market, the developments in your field and also know where better resources can be found. All this happens only when you manage a couple of hours every week to study the field with your eyes and ears wide open. Particularly, pay attention to your competitors, because they impact your customers enormously.
I tell you what, the best way to see if someone really wants to use your product is to ask them for money. If they are willing to pay, others will be as well. This de-risks the idea and the development interest cost. So, start charging for your product early.
Carefully craft the company culture you want. Spend a lot of time hiring the best people, talented and culture fit. Early employers are like co-founders/owners and are taking risks to join you. They should believe in your vision and be aligned with the founders. Make your employees feel like a part of the team.
Be radical about customer service. Keep your users happy and do the most you could do for them, remember, you are never irreplaceable or the only choice for the customer.
Set goals for yourself and your company and divide them into smaller bits to execute better. “What gets measured, gets managed”, it’s an old saying. How do you measure success and keep accountability? Data and numbers that will meaningfully drive your business forward and can tell you right away the health of your business at any given point of time. Noah Kagan recommends setting smaller goals and emailing a friend every day to benchmark your efforts and maintain social motivation and pride to get stuffs done. He did this with his friend Neville Medora.
Take time to reflect, it’s really important to take regular times to review. Reflection and introspection are marks of maturity.
Make-out time to do things that make you happy. Take walks, explore your neighbourhood, spend quality time with people you love, treat yourself every Friday to a donut. Live life on the happy side!
Finally, you need to realize that you aren’t all alone in the journey. Entrepreneurship or finding a company may at times appear all very lonely. But remember, many others have gone through or are going through similar experiences as like you. Find a tribe and keep your sanity!