"How should I start my venture?""I have an idea, should I launch it?"
“Is this the correct time?”
These are some of the questions which anyone who is thinking of starting up has in his mind. Here is a 7 point actionable roadmap, if you are planning to startup and want help in making the decision:
Startups are risky. Period. Very few succeed and be prepared for that. How to know if you are risk averse? What bothers you more: how will I meet my monthly expenses or how will I build my team. If it's the former, stop right here!
2. Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize
Having said that asking for salary is being risk averse, one still needs to plan. Startups are to a great level ad-hoc. Things happen at break-neck speed, things have to move fast. It's a funny mix of planning and prudence. And to sail through this, learn to prioritize. Everything! It's not an exact science, it's an art. Balancing various variables with limited resources while prioritizing is an art one needs to learn as soon as possible to mitigate risks faster than they appear. Steve Jobs used to ask teams for 10 top features and then cut 7, asking team to focus on only top 3. That's priority.
3. Stay relevant or stagnate
To mitigate risks by prioritizing, one needs to know what needs to be prioritized. And this can only happen if you stay relevant. Stay relevant to your idea, your business sector, your competition, your ecosystem and yourself. Keep yourself updated about current affairs in vicinity of your idea. Just like for your baby, you would take care of every single medicine administered, quality of clothes, quality of toys and everything else in between; you need to bother about every single aspect of your idea and stay relevant.
How to do that? Stop reading and start talking. Go to startup events, meet people. Talk to veterans. Talk to startup employees. But what to talk to them? Read on.
4. Ask the right questions
To stay relevant, you need to ask the right questions. A right question is the one that is not ambiguous, thus enabling the person to give precise answers. Consider, "How should I use data analytics?" and "How do facebook, twitter and the likes use data analytics?" Which one do you think, will give you a more precise answer. The former is too vague to be answered. The latter (if it's relevant to your business) will give you a more accurate answer. And these are the kind of questions you should be prepared to pop up whenever you get a chance.
5. Pick the right tools
There's an overload of all sorts of tools available for various business needs. Picking the right set of tools at the right stage of business is extremely important. For eg., At the early stage when you are meeting people and asking the right questions, you need to document the conversations and take-aways somewhere, so that you can come back to them. Onenote is what I use. Staying relevant with the right tools will save you shit loads of money and time while keeping you productive.
6. Pick your school of thought
If you have made this far, congrats! At this stage, with all the advise you have got from the numerous people you met, you should decide on your school of thought. Steve Jobs or Zuckerberg, myntra or Flipkart, Hoffman or Larry page, lifestyle or scale, operation heavy or tech heavy, proprietary tech or tech-enabled, aggression or slow flame etc. Your school of thought need not be strict and can borrow good things from each school of thought. Be inspired.
Great. You are here. Go hustle! Most of your plans will go haywire. Most of your ideas will be tweaked, initial business plan may not work. Cash flow can get choked. The customer may take too much time to pay and so on. If you followed the above points, you will get through. Some way, you will. But remember, there are more ways in which you will struggle, than in which you will sail through. The waters are choppy. Quick. Chop chop. Hustle!
About the author: