Have you despised mundane Monday mornings in your corporate job and heaved a sigh of relief as dusk sets in on Fridays? Has the thought of bidding goodbye to the overrated corporate lifestyle and launching your own business venture occurred to you in many instances? As confusing as it might appear, launching your startup and journeying with it is a rather intimidating one, yet exhilarating, to say the least.
Gone are the days when entrepreneurship was a privilege for the lesser few who were risk takers and brave hearts. With the advent of the 21st century, entrepreneurship has evidently taken the world by storm. It is no surprise that every other person we meet has worked for a startup, is heading one, or is planning to launch one.
If you’re preparing to step into the world of entrepreneurship with your newfound business idea, there are a few key pointers you ought to keep in mind. A knowledge of these will help you leverage the highs and sail through the lows of the startup life while ensuring an impactful business.
Join us as we elucidate 10 things to know about launching a startup:
1. You’ll have the freedom:
While working for another employer could make you feel fettered, working for yourself brings with it innate freedom. This freedom gives you the scope to explore boundaries, beyond tried and tested methodologies. Your startup is a blank canvas, in terms of clients, modalities of work, as well as finances and you can paint a picture that suits you work style and preferences. Remember that responsibility accompanies freedom. Misuse this freedom, and it will send you and business tumbling downhill.
2. Flexibility is an added advantage:
You’ll have the flexibility to work as you choose – from where, with whom and for how many hours a week. The only factor that would bind you is your vision and the goal of making it big. Remember not to take this flexibility for granted, else you’ll end up either underworking or overworking yourself. Set a routine, choose your work hours, keep a defined space for work, even if it means having to invest in a workstation and make informed choices about who your partners and employees would be.
3. Financial success is on the cards:
Most entrepreneurs are told that they might need to keep their day jobs until a solid ground for their new venture is established. Uncertain income and cash flow challenges at the beginning can seem daunting, but the potential for financial success awaits at the pinnacle of any viable business. An article in USA Today cited research which mentions how self-employed businesspersons were four times more likely to be millionaires than those in traditional employer-employee roles. As an entrepreneur, you are your own boss and your growth lies in your hands. By planning a sound business strategy and adhering to it, your returns on investment can be humongous.
4. The journey is defined by “People”, or the lack of them:
It is often told that the startup journey can be a lonely one and there are various suggestions for founders to counter loneliness. You can, however, make it a pleasant and memorable expedition, if you have the appropriate people by your side. This means you’ll have to induct the right co-founder, partners, employees and a worthy clientele. Assimilating a core team that is bound by a common goal with a collective spirit, can assure a smooth sail across the roughest seas. On the other hand, a team that doesn’t gel well may not go far ahead. Revisiting your contact list may also help identify an influencer or a press contact who can help promote your brand.
5. You become a multi skilled multitasker:
If your startup is a one man show, you get to don multiple hats, right from performing the role of an executive assistant to entering client meetings as the CEO. Even if you’re a bunch of like-minded enthusiasts working together, chances are that each one will need to take up more than one defined job role. The upside is that you’ll have a plethora of new skills to add to your kitty - managing finances, doing the paperwork, chasing clients for money, recruiting interns, implementing a social media strategy and the likes. Wondering how you’ll manage if you’ve never done these in the past? Launching and spearheading a startup will teach you all this and more.
6. Business stability can be a far-fetched dream:
As terse as it might sound, you may not have the luxury of leading the stable life that a corporate job would offer you. New businesses have more highs and lows than you can imagine. It is crucial to periodically re-evaluate your business proposition and the existing market scenario. Over and over again, ask yourself if you are creating and delivering what people want. Good old Google Search, Google Keywords Tool and Google Insights are three valuable tools that can be of immense help in analysing your markets, customers, growth and other analytical details.
7. Your mind can play spoilsport:
Anxiety, depression and nervous breakdowns are a part and parcel of the game. Most successful entrepreneurs have been through it all, but what sets them apart is their zeal to overcome the inevitable. If stressful times ever bog you down, remember to look at the bigger picture and the success you initially envisioned. Here are 6 ways to reduce the ‘Startup Stress’, should you ever find yourself losing your mind.
8. Failure is the stepping stone to success:
Clichéd, but true! Be prepared to fail, several times. The faster you fail, the quicker you learn to set things straight. Failure can visit your venture in various forms – a long-time business partner leaving the company, lack of funds, inability to cater to consumer needs, acquisition by another company etc. None of us wish for these situations, but they are the harsh realities of the startup world. Distressing times are unavoidable, but remember to maintain a positive outlook throughout. If there arises a situation where you need external investors to fund you, don’t sacrifice on your business ideals and core values.
9. You need to walk the tightrope and perform ‘The Balancing Act’:
Often, people tend to get engrossed in their entrepreneurial pursuits and fail to realise the importance of striking a balance. This results in family time being spent working and work time being used for catching up on sleep. As the founder of a startup, not structuring your days, weeks and months, could leave you working around the clock inefficiently. Burnout and depression are natural consequences of working for over 11 hours a day, according to this research study by the Finnish Institute of Mental health. Striking the balance is thus crucial for your physical and mental wellbeing. Kees Blok, co-founder at Biddy opines on work-life balance - “Work is a marathon, not a sprint, so make sure to exercise, eat healthy and sleep well. Creativity comes when you are relaxing, not when you are running around.”
10. Personal satisfaction overpowers everything else:
The satisfaction you get watching your startup grow and growing with it better experienced than explained. No words can describe the roller-coaster ride that entrepreneurship is. One day you might be desperately pitching your proposal to a dozen clients and another day you might get calls from a dozen other clients who seek your services. Your commitment to your passion and the fact that you are building something from scratch is reason enough to give yourself a pat on the back.
If you have a vision, an accompanying mission and the right goals, you’ve already paved the way for your start-up’s baby steps. Being at the right place at the right time is important too, but don’t forget that luck favours those who work for it. Launching a startup is no mysterious task that can only be understood along the journey. The ups and downs are many, but with adequate research, invested thought and thorough planning, you can lay the foundation for creating an empire out of your startup. Good Luck!