Six Things To Keep In Mind When You Start A New Venture
'Startup' is a term that everyone is well aware of and if anyone still has not heard it, must be living under a Jurassic rock. Every media screams about it to a point where one feels left out. Startup is the ‘it’ thing today. It's easy to get swayed and get on the bandwagon but wait, there are a few boxes which one needs to check before you jump the gun.
While it is the most exciting adventure one can embark on in one’s life, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ is true in this high pressure world of startups. Psychologically speaking, this is a world of masochistic pleasure, as one begins to enjoy, as a matter of fact, even get a high, while subject himself to the torture chamber of stress, deadlines and uncertainty. A few check points would help one do a dipstick to see if the approach is right to get into a new unchartered territory.
Whatever one does, it should solve a dire need of a segment, irrespective of whether it is the burning issue of a particular population or a pain point of organizations. Not knowing what you are addressing is a recipe for disaster. Only one in hundreds of startups succeed, as many ventures fail to address the simplest rule all - delivering a need based solution. If the offering is based on innovation, the battle is already well begun. The idea should also be future proof, wherein any change in technology should make the idea or the need just 'obliviate'.
Find out what the customer wants and make it better - Frank Perdue
Once zeroed in on an idea, the most common mistake is to have multiple extensions of the idea. The best approach is to focus on a particular product, segment or value proposition of what one is offering and stick to it. Identify the USP and build a brand, tag line and a campaign around the USP. If one can’t find that USP, alarm bells should start ringing and one should know it’s time to go back to the drawing board to rethink the startup.
When you focus on what you want, everything else falls away.
This is directly proportional to the belief in one’s idea as this belief gives rise to enthusiasm, which is the fuel of passion. It is the gut feel, the dream and the brave stance that one takes in adversity. Everything in a startup is build around this nucleus and unfortunately this cannot be taught. Either one is born with it or not, it’s as simple as that.
Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait, the grip in your hand and the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your idea - Henry Ford
Is the idea scalable? Can one reach the customer next door, next town, next city and across the globe? The clichéd term ‘think global, act local’ holds very true for startups who wish to attract talent and funding, as the top 2 things that investors look for is the passion of the team and scalability of a viable idea. While the dreams and possibilities may be global, it’s always a good idea to consolidate the first market before venturing to others. The primary market becomes a proof of concept and a learning ground for the team. Once the idea is validated and fine tuned, the scale can follow.
The biggest mistake a small business can make is to THINK like a small business.
Build a great team. One cannot do everything by oneself. High energy individuals tend to think of themselves as superheroes. ‘Superheroes’ are a myth. In the real world, we have super-teams. Having members form the same background creates a paucity of lateral thought. The best is to have members from varied backgrounds on the team who can contribute with their knowledge of a particular domain and also have a constructive critical view on the others.
If you want to travel fast, walk alone. If you want to travel far, walk together.
Only if the preceding 5 points are met, should one plan the expenses required to execute the idea. While finance is important, any amount of investment made in a non viable product is barking up the wrong tree. With the valuation bubble begin to burst, one should build a business to make profit and not to run it at a loss to derive valuation. A philosophy of making money on valuation is the most dangerous trend happening today and one should stay clear off it.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get - Warren buffet