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What to expect before you start a company

Nidhi Thakur
6th Dec 2016
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Got a fabulous idea you can’t wait to get cracking on? Thinking about taking the leap and starting your own company to see this through? We will never be the ones to discourage any one from being an entrepreneur, quite the opposite actually. But we do want to make sure you’ve thought it through and know what to expect!

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Is having an idea enough to start your own company? What are the major hurdles and challenges you can expect to be faced with, even before you place the foundation stone in your office building? Here’s a helping hand…

Legal matters

No one particularly enjoys this step, so it’s best to get it out of the way at the very beginning. The ominous task of getting all your papers right! Once you decide to start up on your own, the next question should be “How should you start?” Will it be a company, or a sole proprietorship, or a partnership firm? Based on your choice, you will then have to go ahead and get the right papers drawn. Here, you’d also like to register the name of your company, including your website domain and social media handles for your firm. Depending on which state you’re in, you’ll also have a set of paperwork to complete with regard to licensing and registration for your office space. Starting a current account for the company with a trusted banker is another crucial step. Consult with your CA on this matter and make sure you’ve tapped all the possible loopholes before you are ready to make the big announcement!

Vision

You might have the right idea, but how you channelise your resources to attain the desired results is what will govern the way ahead. Think thoroughly about how you visualise your company – right from the tone of communication, to the audience targeting, to the kind of stakeholders you’d like to entice. This is the grooming stage of your baby project, and should not be treated any differently, or less importantly, from how you actually raise a real kid. You can’t start as a cool, youth-centric, quality-oriented product and later on shift to being a politically backed news distributor for the masses. How you begin will define your public image and audience loyalty, and you don’t want to make a mistake here.

Staffing

Next step, and this is a deal-breaker, is the staffing. Staffing is not as simple as just posting an ad on relevant social media platforms and screening through the responses. If you want the best team, you’ll have to go hunt it down! Begin by devising a staffing criterion. Research, discuss, consult, and analyse every role and job description in critical detail. Do you want someone with more experience (and hence higher pay), or would you prefer choosing fresh graduates and training them under your wing? What are the qualities you cherish the most in your employees? How essential is a master’s degree to the success of your establishment? Your dream team is going to be your support system in this journey – so make sure you’re very alert and cautious about this step!

You won’t be your own boss

The ultimate dream to be your own boss – well, it’s really just a big fat lie. As an entrepreneur, you don’t become your own boss. In fact, instead of reporting to one boss previously, you’re now responsible and answerable to hundreds, that is, all your clients, your customers, your employees, and your stakeholders. You will not only be answerable to all of them, you also will have to be ready to dabble into fields which are not your preferred proficiency – finance, marketing, sales, administration, development – you’ll have to do it all and there’s no way of getting out of it. And just in case you thought it would be easier than the nine-to-five grind, you’re in for a rude awakening.

As you sow… 

Be ready to pay considerably initially, before you can even think about earning! There’s a lot that goes into building a company, no matter how many cost-effective fundas you devise. You’ve got to get your company logo right, your website and visiting cards designed, your email servers readied, and your legal and accountant fees planned out. All of this might sound like incidental expenditure at first, but when clubbed together, they do account for a lot. Before you know it, you’ll have to start paying them salaries. It is also essential to note here that in the initial stages, you should be prepared to heavily invest in advertising – whether traditionally or through free samples or gifts to key influencers. All those dreams about becoming an overnight millionaire? Yeah, keep them on the side for now.

It’s not a straight road, but a merry-go-round

It’s not as easy as getting all the above things in place to ensure a smooth ride ahead. One thing about being a startup is that you have to be prepared to keep “getting started” for at least two to three years initially. It’s always good to start with a few clients, but it will be some time before you manage to get the referrals and word-of-mouth going. During this time, you might also face some attrition and re-hire to fill the gaps. Clients might come aplenty on some months and leave suddenly on others. You won’t have any control over any of these situations, so you have to be prepared to constantly reflect and keep modifying your business model and evolve with the ever-changing market scenario.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur is a not an overnight magical turn of events. It’s a long, tedious process, seen through with tremendous amount of planning and backed with hard work, precision, and efficiency. Make sure you start right to make the road ahead less onerous.

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