#5 Things All First-Time Entrepreneurs Should Remember When They Start-up Being responsive to market trends is more important when we start up because that allows us to tweak our model according to our market
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My professional career has spawned almost for a decade and a half, the first half as a person who was employed and the second half as an employer across many startups (many failed, and a couple has seen some degree of success). Here are a few things that I picked up on the journey which I certainly didn't know when I first started up.
1.Employee Mindset Vs. Employer Mindset
Many entrepreneurs start up after having a professional career. It should be noted that sometimes even a person who has been a spectacular employee, performing well in all key metrics, may not be the best of the employer. In fact, the skill sets required are very different from each other. Once you have made the switch to an employer it is important to remember a few key points.
- The buck stops at you. There is no one else responsible for the direction your company takes.
- The employer needs to find the best way to motivate people in the organization. No two people are the same, so it would take different actions to motivate different people. If you cannot find the right methods to motivate your employees, that also falls squarely on your shoulders.
Being an employer puts you out of your comfort zone and the issues that you must deal with, very often you are not equipped to deal with. Rest assured that everyone who turned an entrepreneur at some point has felt the same and you'll only get better thereon.
2. The Cost Of Time And Opportunity Are Irrecoverable
Opportunities last for a limited period of time. When we startup, often opportunities are fleeting and fickle, depending a lot on the startup company to take on much more than they are probably capable of. In my experience, if you do not grab the opportunity when it does exist, the same opportunity may not exist when you think you are ready. In the first three years, executing way above capability is a norm that all successful startups follow. Usually, we learn by just jumping in the deep and figuring out how to swim!
3. Don't Let Your Opinion Cloud Your Assumption
Usually, when we start off on our journey, we make certain assumptions about the way forward for our business. Selling that version of events that we believe to be true becomes our primary objective. Being responsive to market trends is more important when we start up because that allows us to tweak our model according to our markets. This is what allows companies to pivot their business models and strategies based on the data that they gather from their marketing activities. The quicker you can identify what is working and what isn't, the quicker you will be able to find a stable business model.
4. Be Inventive In Your Thinking
We are living through a great period of innovation in human history. The last decade has seen the cost and time of communication almost disappear. What will be invented in the next few decades is anyone's guess. So, the way we solve problems has also changed. What may have been the standard of yesteryears is already obsolete. With the coming of the fourth industrial revolution, we have a real chance to reimagine the future. It's important that we stay on top of the latest technological trends and see how best to incorporate them to make processes easier in the organization.
5. Passion + Unshakeable Belief
You are the best ambassador for your business. Internally as well as externally. At EGK Foods, I literally have taken it upon myself, by inventing the mantle of "The Onion Knight', to make sure that we are all aware internally as well as externally that the problem we are addressing is the two-pronged. An easier way to do things on the consumer side and on the farmer side we are addressing the much more important problem of wastage and fair prices for farmers.
It's important even during the tough times, which are way more common than the good times, to maintain a positive attitude and optimistic mindset towards things. Maintaining a perspective that is optimistic but grounded in data and logic helps focus on the right way forward.
Being a startup founder for the first time is like being baptized by fire especially in the initial period. The strains and stresses that a founder goes through are quite dramatic and it's important to keep things in perspective during the tough times. In my opinion, whether you succeed or fail, the journey will make sure you are challenged at every step.