Today we see a lot of buzz about entrepreneurship across the globe and everybody wants to be associated with the idea of entrepreneurship, which is great since it gives opportunity to create jobs and better society to live in.
While young entrepreneurs are very well aware of the “Do’s and “Don’ts” of starting a venture, it certainly comes with its own baggage.
With my personal experience as an Investor, and having seen close to 400 start-ups during the past 18 months, here are few things I would like to re-emphasize for the budding founders/entrepreneurs.
Awesome Idea / Product?
You have a great idea/product; but does it really solve the customer’s problem? Does it have the potential market to become a sustainable business? Most often, I have seen that founders do not recognize that the pain point they’re trying to solve might not be either addressing the customer need or big enough.
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Do your research:
As a first step, you must spend a decent time doing a market research, competition analysis to find the real answers to some of these questions so that the Business Strategy and Value Proposition is set right for the Venture. Market research is something you must start even before spending any money; never outsource this part of the job. Define the problem statement, visualize the data acquired, analyse the patterns in/about market need, supply-demand gap, process gaps, industry trends, competition and finally identify the target market & its size. Until and unless you are sure about these things, do not plunge in.
Be in Sales mode, always:
As a founder, you are bound to face rejection from every corner and hence you need to be able to knock the doors of Customers, Vendors, Co-founders, Employees and most importantly, of the Investors. What separates you as a successful founder is how well you are able to sell to all these stakeholders.
Create the right Co-founding Team:
In many cases, individuals come together just because they know each other, have that initial bonding, and there is a desire to get onto the Bandwagon, do not partner. As a founding team, you should aim to have complementary competencies and experience, need to find the right mix with great appetite for passion, perseverance and execution capabilities. The journey is always going to be challenging, however, these are the only qualities which will take you long.
Respect Investors Money:
More often than not, the availability of capital acts as a catalyst in the success of a Start-up. Investors are taking a huge risk, they expect large returns, not just relative to investment, but large in absolute amounts and hence respect every rupee while spending. Be frugal and ensure you invest in building the right teams.
Business Model and Execution:
Business model is something that will evolve, but one needs to ensure that your business model has the right mix of elements like being repeatable, scalable, predictable and ultimately profitable, thereby creating the value for the business.
Once you have the right business model in place, replicating it with great focus, actionable steps and achieving the business results is the “Execution”. How well you “Execute” is what will differentiate you from the competition.
Be prepared for Risks:
Entrepreneurship, by default comes with risk which one cannot eliminate. Risk can come in different forms; Strategic, Financial, Operational and Compliance. Despite resource constraints, one has to acknowledge that all of these risks are going to be part of journey and it is very important to identify, assess and mitigate them timely to reduce the business impact.
Be open to feedback:
Last but not the least, while it is very good to be passionate about your idea, one should not be fixated on it. Be open to receive feedback, without getting defensive, reflect on it and manoeuvre with time as per need and this is what will set you apart from others.
While there is no specific blueprint or perfect map for the entrepreneurial success, being an entrepreneur provides a lot of rewards in return, if you are prepared to overcome the challenges, the bumpy rides and the ability to deal with failures.
Wishing you the best for your Start-Up!!