So you are on the verge of starting your online venture ? Are you in two minds? Read on..
As you may know, I am currently involved in a start-up in online advertising and content display space. Do you know the questions that I asked myself before going ahead with this startup?
Here are some of the questions I answered before taking the decision. Once the start-up goes online, I will give my answers and reasoning to these questions below.
1. Does the online startup have enough audience for it to be successful?
This is the fundamental question that needs an answer. Are there enough people on the internet who are looking for ‘stuff’ that you are offering through your startup? How many other people are offering similar kind of services, why should a user choose you and not your competitor.
2. Is your startup catering to ‘real’ need of people?
According to me this is one of the most important mistakes that online startups make. Considering a feature or ‘good to have’ property to be the need of users. You will see hundreds of online startups who are just a variant of another with an added feature to its own. Unless the user sees a significant value offering by your startup, he is not going to come back. In most cases he will stick to his current set of providers and wait for new features to be added.
3. What is going to be the ultimate goal of your startup?
You need to be very clear about the end goal of your startup. Yes, technology and times change fast and you need to change with them, but, you still need to have a blue print of what your startup is going to offer to it users at a very granular level. Only then can you plan the best way forward.
4. Are you starting just because you can do it?
Believe it or not, this happens with very high frequency. Just because you are a techie and can come up with a online property that is very similar to another successful startup, does not make it a success. Some of you may not agree, but ask yourself, isn’t that the main reason?
5. Have you thought about your competitors?
However confident you may be about your startup, you can never underestimate your competitors. You need to keep a close watch on what competitors are doing and what they have in pipeline and how it is going to affect your startup. Never ignore them.
6. How long can you sustain before you start making any kind of money?
You should take a very pessimistic view about your finances and how long they are going to last. If you think it is going to be 12 months, consider just 6 months of finances and then plan accordingly.
7. What could be the possible reasons for your startup to fail?
List down all the reasons that your startup may fail. This is very important. Again, consider everything that might go wrong. Once you finish making the list, read it twice aloud. If you are still confident about the success – tear the list and never see it again!
8. Do you have a back-up plan?
Think of Plan B first. What is the last resort that you can take if everything goes wrong with your startup.
9. Is the luck on your side?
Even if you have got everything right and do not have little bit of luck on your side, you can fail :)
10. How is your involvement in startup going to affect your family?
Surveys show that entrepreneurs having start-ups spend approx. 60 hours a week working and are thrice as likely to be stressed than normal people. If thats the case, you need to give a serious thought on how it is going to affect your family.
There are tens of other reasons that you should consider like the amount of time you can give to your startup, how it is going to affect your family and others, how are you going to project and market your startup etc. However, the above 10 reasons are the ones that I considered before jumping the startup bandwagon.
It would be great to hear reader’s view on these.