Start-up is the new buzz-word. Every other guy is setting up his own venture or expanding his family business. As number drives number, more startups mean further more people being motivated to taste entrepreneurship. Most of these startups are put together in a jiffy and break down like a house of playing cards. So before you start your venture, plan it well. Ofcourse a well planned venture may not always florish, but chances of failure can be minimized. Even if you take care of every thing that you can think of; these are the roadblocks that you can’t evade.
1)You end up with something that you never started
There is a huge gap between management theories and harsh realities of life. While you might validate your idea or product thousand times and ensure that it conforms to all the theories, it never works in real life. You will always end up with one assumption which is never true. This leads to remodelling and restructuring. So, choice is yours, either you stick to your original plan or be flexible enough to accommodate consumer feedback. The problem is ; if you change, you end up with something drastically different than what you started with. But the real problem is; if you don’t change, your solution is not solving your consumer’s problem. Hence you will end up with no consumer. So change is a good sign, it signifies that you are on right track. Startup in itself is a iterative process which should always evolve.
2)Building Initial Team is Difficult
Building the initial team is the most tedious task up your sleeves. You will have two major challenge while picking up the team
- To identify the right set of skill sets needed for your start-up. You have to make sure that the composition of team is perfect, at the same time, with limited resources, you don’t have the liberty of ‘extras‘ in your team.
- To convince people to join you. Once you have identified the right talent that you need, you would have the herculean task of convincing them to join you. The problem is acute because most of them would be paid better and your start-up wouldn’t have reputation enough to ensure job security. The key to this is to spread your passion so that your team is as passionate and motivated as you are.
While hand picking your team, don’t run after big names in the industry because they would have a heavy price tag attached with them, which can throw your budget off balance. Its good if you can get industry experts on board but don’t rely so much on them that if they refuse in the end, your start-up goes for a toss.
3)Its hard to convince your family and friends
Try telling your parents that you are opting out of the finance firm that you were placed in and would rather start something on your own and you should expect -“Are you ****ing crazy?”. Today if I tell my friends that I am thinking of a start-up they rather feel that I am unemployed and am trying to keep myself busy. Even if your start-up is fairly successful, most of your acquaintances won’t believe in you unless you are listed in stock exchange. It is hard to make your family and friends believe in you, and don’t even try that. You would be banging your head against wall. All you need is to believe in yourself and someday your friends would subscribe to your IPO and subsequently believe that you are doing something wonderful 🙂
4)You earn less than your friends and neighbours
In early stage startups, you would always complain that you earn less than your friend or neighbour and that is a fact you have to live with. If you are starting something or joining a startup to earn a good wage; you are at a wrong place. Startup is typically a place you have to work harder and are paid lesser in return. Startup is not about money, its about passion; money is a byproduct. In nutshell, passion can’t pay for foods, but trust me, it can kill your hunger.
5)Deadlines are never met
One crucial lesson that you would learn in a while is no matter how well prepared you are, deadlines are never met. To me, deadline in itself has negative implications. ‘Either you complete this assignment by today or you are dead ‘. I would rather refer to these as ‘checkpoints‘. Its fine, if deadlines are not met. In fact it depicts that we are still human.
6) No Magic Wand
There is no one customer or one big deal that can make you successful. Success is a gradual process. Every single day or deal is a one small step towards that mighty goal. The overnight success is no untrue outside the eutopian world. So don’t expect that moment you launch your product, world would go insane.
7) Employee Retention
As we have discussed, in startup you work harder and are paid lesser. So chances are fair that your employees could look for better job opportunities once they have enough experience. So trick of the trade is to continuously evaluate your employees and reward them as per their skill and experience. No matter how hard you try, as an early stage startup, your remuneration can never compete with industry standards. So you should make sure that your emplyees feel attached to the startup and have a sense of ownership.
8)Expand team when business expands
You are no superhero. As your business expands, so should your team. You must include more partners and employees subsequently. If you don’t expand your team, you would over stress yourself and ultimately hamper the progress of your startup.
9)Customers can be over-demanding
With new kid on the floor, customers can be over-demanding. They would customize the service or product as much as possible. While one consumer may want something taller, other might demand smaller ones. The key to success lies in address each customer individually. Even if you don’t agree to their demands, few sweet words can do the magic.
10) Too much to offer, but is anyone listening
Most of the startups that I have come across, have too much to offer. They offer unique products and services and too many of them. The focus should instead be more on visibility. Instead of launching a line of product, first launch one unique product, make it known to target consumer, create a brand value. And then use this platform to showcase other products.
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