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#18 Lessons I Learnt as an Entrepreneur in 2016

#18 Lessons I Learnt as an Entrepreneur in 2016
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Siddhartha, the Co-Founder of Babygogo, talks about some important lessons he has learnt as an entrepreneur in 2016 - about funding, hiring, running a company and more

1.As a founder you must do meditation and if you are already doing should never leave meditation. It is one time of day which will keep you grounded and calm for 24 hours. It will help build 0.1% clarity each day. Adding 0.1% over 365 days adds a lot.

2.Take time off work every 4 months for 5-10 days where your attention is not diverted by phone calls or internet.

3.Spend 1 day a week just with yourself. Keep you computer and mobile away and start writing your thoughts in a dairy

4.The founders should be asking the questions to themselves and the team, why are we doing this, what do we tend to achieve, what have you gained during this journey, what have you lost. There needs to be frequent honest dialogue.

5.Time is not running out! Don’t overspend money or under spend it. There needs to be a fine balance.

6.Whenever you raise money try to raise for not less than 2 years of operations. The first six months (0-6) should be dedicated to building repeat customers i.e. good retention cohorts. The 7-12 months should be utilised in building business model. The next (13-18) in reaching operational profitability. The last (19-24) for working on levers of scale.

7.Always be fundraising. It shall make you interact with investors and know what their sentiment is. In tough times & markets it will make you less hopeful of raising the next round and reaching operational break-even sooner.

8.Invest in PR and media coverage from day 1. Out of sight is out of mind in the market.

9.Hire an Human Resource (HR) manager from Day 1. You need people to take care of your people. Also team’s issues would be resolved much faster.

10.Start building your organic assets from Day 1 like youtube, SEO, ASO. It will take atleast 6 months for them to deliver results.

11.Hire people who can display honesty and show their mistakes or weakness at time of interview. It shows strength of character and as well as that they are open to improvement.

12.Never hire people with ego even if they are genius in their trade. How to identify such people at time of interview. They will say “I did this” instead of “My previous team did this”. Also they will not own up their mistakes.

13.If 2 or 3 co-founders one of them has to take up the CEO role. The CEO has to be the captain of the ship and own up every decision. His word should be final even in case of internal disagreement.

14.Never make any decision like hiring, investing for short term. Think of every hire or decision like a marriage. In startups or business there are no one night stands. The separation be it firing or correction of a decision is painful and suck up your energies.

15.The founders shouldn’t try to be superman. They should know their limitations and thereby hire people who can fill those gaps.

16.Over-communicate with all the stakeholders in your business. Be it investors or employees. There should not be a cold period where you assume the other person will understand things are going well. Assumptions are not good to have even b/w  husband and wife how can it then happen in business.

17.The effort and time you invest in hiring same amount you should spend in retaining the people hired. Retaining and growing each person in your team is the more difficult part. As a CEO you are by default mentor to each member of your team. Learn it and try to live upto it.

18.Your success will primarily be decided by 3 factors: Team, Direction and Luck. The first two factors are in your control. If you hire a A-Team they will find out what’s wrong and solve it. You just need to give them the vision and direction. Direction is your market and the understanding of problem/ gap and how to solve it. This is the most difficult part to change. It’s like ship captain with a great crew and they are going in opposite direction of their destination. 

 
Edition: June 2017

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