You and Your Startup
Congratulations to you. You know how difficult it is to take that first step in thr pursuit to become an Entrepreneur. You have taken that step hence you deserve special compliments. Just think how the thought of translating an idea into reality refreshes you and pushes you to walk that extra mile every singe day. Behance co-founder Scott Belsky says "it's not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen"
So, what's your idea and what stage are you with your idea.
- You have an idea now
- You have an idea and you are excited about it
- You have an idea; you are excited about it and you have started discussing about it with your near and dear ones
- You are doing all the above and now want to translate that idea into reality
- You have already started your startup!!!
What really keeps you going? What gives you that hope and strength to get out of your bed every morning and get going?
Each one of us will have unique answers to this question. These answersform our world. Please hold on to this world in your mind strongly. These images in your mind will act as great source of motivation to realise your dream. "Whatever our mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve" said the famous author Napolion Hill.
I know a person who came from village to city (Pune), did his college education, got himself trained in automobile repairs and now runs a big automobile repair shop giving employment to some 20 people.
You may still have few questions in your mind. How do I know whether my idea will have a market (customers); should I have partner in my startup andhow should I split my time between learning and execution?
Let's assume you have an idea that you deeply believe in. So, this idea has now become your world. You want to see if there are any takers (customers) to this idea or a concept or service or a product. You also don't want to reveal it so much that others copy it and launch it before you do. What's the way out? I have seen two things work in such a scenario.
(i). Reach out to your well-wishers, ask specific market research questions around newness of concept, whether they will buy, at what price point etc.
(ii). Create a web link with a catchy copy writing content and blast it to the targeted sample users. Say 1200 email ids. 1200 because some sites offer free service for you to send the communication to 1200 users in a month. The interested user will click on the 'Buy' link and will get the message 'Oops! Something went wrong. Thank you for your interest. We will come back to you shortly. Remember you were just testing it. There wasn't any backend product yet. But this will give you an idea of a reality check on how many actual users will buy your product.
How many people should start a company?
Ideally 2 or 3 together having diverse strength. Let's face it. You alone cannot be great at every function of the business. There are just too many things to handle. You may be great at product design and setting up systems but may not be able to represent it well in VC funding presentations. We have seen the duos and trios succeeding the most who bring in the following inclination or strength.
- Concept or product design &systems;
- Business development & Marketing
- Finance, quality and governance.
Master classes, Start-up conclaves, Training programs, Coaching etc do give a great opportunity to enhance our skills in the areas we are good at and acquire a workingknowledge of the areas we are not so good at. Hence having an attitude of continuous learning is important.
So prioritise your learning calendar for the year. Keep investing in yourself. It’s important. Stephen Covey says, "Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender, its holy ground. There is no greater investment".
Remember you also don’t want to only keep learning and not do anything about what you learn. Reflecting on the learning and how you can apply it in your business context is equally important.
Venture capitalists love this word. While they may want to join you for the cause and concept, they would want to see the rerun on capital invested as well. Scaling up by protecting the bottom line (profits) gives them that hope and confidence.
You will need a bit of math here. See if you have answers to these two important questions.
- At what rate, you will scale up your business
- what will be the burn rate?
Remember the sample testing we discussed early on in this article with 'Buy' link? That should give you some idea of the rate you want to scale up and what kind of money it will need.
While mathematics is important, the following three things are even more crucial.
- Your gutand intuition
- Belief in yourself and your idea
Steve Jobs once said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.
So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, Karma, whatever".
The joy of creating something new is one of the biggest joys in the world. You are already treading that path. You may find the path difficult sometimes, but when you sum it all, the pleasures will supersede the pain.