Startup is a wonderful entity – It is a symbol of hope, enthusiasm and passion. Every big technological and web company you can name today was a startup sometime. Startup is nothing but an idea, materialized into an organization/company by endless zeal and passion; relentless persuasion and self-motivation.
But a word of caution: Not every startup is a success. For every Twitter success, there are hundreds (probably thousands) of social media portals which failed. For every Apple, there are thousands of hardware companies which ran out of fuel and are closed today.
Though I can’t reveal the ultimate success mantra for a startup (because I am not aware of such silver bullet!), but being into the Online Marketing industry for some years and having listened and read some of the top notch entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from all over India, I have observed few patterns of questions and doubts which plague every new startup founder.
Here are the 11 myths, demystified for you:
No, you don’t need that; at least now.
I was fortunate enough to attend a recent meet-up of Entrepreneurs in Mumbai: The Rodinhood Openhouse, where Sumant Mandal, a prominent VC from Clearstone Ventures was present. He shared some amazing insights from the mind of a VC; and he said that you don’t need VC fund unless absolutely necessary. He shared that out of 10 VC funded companies, 9 fail.
This means that more than 90% of VC funded companies shouldn’t have been funded at all.
Ask money from your mom, dad, wife, brother or sister or take a loan. But never ask VC for his money.
The amazing thing is that, once your startup is expanding and growing, VCs will themselves contact you and fund you. Funding is necessary when a successful startup needs scale.
Should I Get A Cofounder?
Yes. Individuals rarely build a great organization. You need a team behind you. Having a perfect co-founder is not easy, but it is very essential for the future of your startup. Venture Capitalists always look out for great team which can be funded. Build a team, and your idea will automatically flourish.
Yes, definitely. Marketing should begin even before you have launched your product. Although your product is your marketing; but it is still required to create a traction. Great marketing is all about spreading stories about your brand. Marketing techniques such as SEO, Social Media and PPC works great if you apply the right formula. If you are regular reader of Trak.in, then expect some great Marketing advice and strategies in coming days.
Client Rejected Me (B2B Business)
Don’t lose hope. Maybe his expectations and your service didn’t match. But always remember, this can change. Keep in touch in your client and mail him atleast once a month. Keep him updated about your plans and vision for the future.
I have lots of ideas!
Pick one idea and work on it. Bring it to a stage wherein you can afford to outsource/delegate tasks and then pick another idea. I have observed that the right idea picks you; it’s not the other way around. Experiment, test, filter and repeat.
When should I hire full time employees?
Not until your startup starts generating revenues. If there are no revenues being generated, then hiring full time employees is a sin.
When should I fire employees?
When you observe that your employees are not adding value to your startup. When you see that they are gossiping and asking for a raise because their salary is below the ‘market standard’. This signifies that they are not passionate about your idea; your startup! And firing should be quick. Not only it would be beneficial for your business, but it will also be good for your employee. Let him find out the work which is good for him and in which he excels. Never be sentimental about firing: It is your business and everything should be done to make it big – Bigger than yourself, your employee and your stakeholders.
I want to buy am existing business
A very noble idea, but the failure rate is higher when you purchase an existing business. Always remember that only those businesses should be bought which are underperforming as of now and you believe that you can make the things right. You should never buy a business on future hopes but based on past mistakes of that business.
Outsource Copy Writing or Do it yourself?
If you are not good in writing, then do yourself a favour and hire a professional copy writer/ content writer who know his business. And content is one of the most important ingredients of your startup. The content will show to the world, what are you aiming for and what your goals are. Content will make the first impression of your startup in front of a total stranger. Never compromise on content.
A big yes! Every CEO should have a blog; every entrepreneur should blog his heart out. There are several advantages of a CEO’s blog and the most important one is it brings transparency. Not only the employees and founders but also potential customers and clients would understand what is the core purpose of your business; the vision; the mission and the future plans. Blogging can be an excellent branding tool as well.
I hope this post provides a glimpse of the startup world and take you to the right direction.
Above all these pointers, one rule conquers all: There are no rules!
Find out what works best for your business and modify your belief system accordingly.
If you are a seasoned entrepreneur and wish to share your inputs for newbies, then please pour all of them here in the comments.