10 things an aspiring founder needs to know

20th Jul 2017
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The Indian startup ecosystem is budding, with more and more people starting up every day. Students fresh from college are investing their time and resources in building companies from scratch and sustain themselves with the belief that their idea might make life easier on some terms. Often, due to lack of experience in the industry, there are some significant footholds that aspiring founders fail to observe. We bring to you 10 things an aspiring founder needs to know in today’s world.

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Market validation takes time

Success has never been a linear proposition. According to an IBM and Oxford Study, 90% of startups fail within their first five years of operation. Despite strenuous efforts, instant market validation is a very rare phenomenon. After setting the dough, giving it time to rise on its own is always a wise choice.

Stay up to date

Often called the ‘Long Game’, the only way of beating the odds is to play the odds themselves. Successful startup liquidation process takes seven years on an average, so try to be as informative as you can of the current trends. Steel yourself: this is a marathon, not a race.

Do your research

Market research has always been an essential component of initiating any study. Its evaluative components best determine the trends in the industry. If you do not have deep domain expertise in your space, then surface and superficial insights might be harming your prospects. Your market understanding, customer interviews, and product reviews shape your entire selling strategy.

Pitch your idea right

Industry experts have often remarked that startup founders are storytellers. They tell stories to VC firms, angel investors, to their employees and interns, and mostly to customers. Often, these stories are of no interest to the experts, who are well-versed with current market trends. Instead of information on market trends or product details, which these experts can read off your market brochure, explain how your product can solve real-life problems and what potential it hosts.

Be open to feedback

Learning to prioritise and taking feedback is a must. Openness to receiving feedback without getting defensive and knowing how to delegate responsibilities should be imbibed in any aspiring founder. Instead of diverting your attention to the next big thing in market, every time something new comes up, you need to focus on your target. Period.

Don’t mix your day job with your startup

If you are building your startup while simultaneously working a day job, avoid mixing up your work at all costs. Respect work ethics and work on your startup during your personal time and on your own hardware. Do not juggle too many balls, or there’ll be none left to handle.

A few traits you need

As an entrepreneur, doing the impossible with limited resources is essential. Accountability, flexibility, and the drive to get things done right are equally so. Everything’s essentially theory if you lack the confidence to achieve your aim through hard work and relentlessness.

Don’t be hasty

Often, in the long pursuit to success, a hasty reply of affirmation to any commitments asked of you can land you in big trouble. VC firms, angel investors, and customers often ask for quick commitments. Accepting these commitments without thorough consideration could impact the entire startup adversely. Always ask for more time before confirming any engagements or commitments.

Maintain equity

Remember, a quarter of a watermelon is better than half a grape. Equity is a dish best served without disdain. Be generous with your equity as you deal with investors and employees. It is better to have a good team that is loyal and can fight alongside you than to have a larger portion of the pie.

Don’t forget the larger picture

If you’re starting up just for the sake of earning money, do not. This will only adversely impact the Indian Startup Ecosystem. Start up to inspire and bring about change in the society. Money is a fickle motivation for a founder. If your biggest motivation for starting up is getting rich, then find a deeper motivation.  

Starting up is no easy journey, but a few tried and tested tips should help you come out successfully. So keep these in mind on your journey.

Also read: Here’s some advice for the first-time entrepreneur

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