The world is in love with its successful businessmen. They get laurels for building companies that make a difference in people’s lives and enjoy a cult-like status in society as well. If you want to start a company, you should get ready to put in hours of work and effort. Here is some advice for all aspiring entrepreneurs who will be bringing brand new companies to the fore in the future.
Get ready to work hard
It is a common statement in the startup circles that you leave you 40-hour/week job to start a company where you work 80-hours/week. If you want to be a startup entrepreneur, you cannot help but be a part of this culture. You will have to work extended hours, but it will be a lot of fun. You will be finding new people to work with, forging relationships and enjoying your life, all while building a business that you genuinely care about.
The highs die down quick
In the beginning, it will be a rosy ride. However, as time passes by and capital starts burning out, your high will die down too. At this time, you will have to be your strongest. This is precisely the time when you will need the support of your friends, family and your staff members. You will need capital, a working product and a few customers so you can keep rowing your boat.
Capital is the key
There is no dearth of good ideas on this planet. Several people may be working on their own “good idea” and hoping to make money out of it. However, if you really want to make a difference, think about capital immediately after you think of an idea. That’s how most startups work. They get the idea, then create a pitch, propositions, and projections, which are presented to VCs at firms such as Anfa and others. If they can secure funding, then they can start going into business immediately. VCs might even offer guidance or helpful advice as they now have a vested interest in the startup.
Remember that every idea will demand a different kind of execution, and you will have to be prepared for all contingencies. Assume you are starting a sports betting business. It may be necessary to invest a large amount of capital in order to run the business properly, as you may have to purchase pay per head service software and cover financial losses. Similarly, if you are running a restaurant, you will need capital to invest in kitchen equipment and high-quality ingredients. Or, if you are launching an online business, you may need a lot of money to spend on web hosting, website design, and marketing. Ideally, experienced business owners advise startups to have at least 6 months of working capital ready- this is true for both venture capital-funded businesses and bootstrapped businesses.
You need validation
Well, we are not talking about emotional validation. When you first start a company, you base it around a product or a service. However, you have to pass through two crucial stages in order to be sure that this product or service will work. The first stage is proof of concept a second is a minimum viable product, though they can both represent the same thing many times. If you are creating an app, create the bare minimum of the app (i.e., its most basic version) and test it with the audience. Gauge their reaction and see if your app has takers. If they do, you have successfully validated your product. Now go ahead and bring some upgrades to retain your customers.
Trademark your brand
Your brand is your identity; you would surely not want anyone to steal it from you or misuse it. That is why, it is a must for you to trademark your brand. It can endow you with the exclusive rights to use your registered mark, thereby saving you from potential cases of infringement. Put simply, with trademark registration, you can establish a unique identity for your brand and business and differentiate yourself in the marketplace. There are also plenty of other benefits of trademark registration for a business. For example, this process can not only protect you within a specific country but also internationally. If you ever plan to expand your business globally, your registered trademark can secure your brand rights in different jurisdictions, thereby preventing others from using similar marks in those markets.
Hire the right people
A startup doesn’t mean you work alone for nights on end, thinking about making it big someday. Instead, you will have to hire the right people to do the right jobs for you. Hiring a person with an extensive marketing executive resume will put you in a better position than hiring someone with no experience. The first few employees of your company will be your most crucial hires. They will help you in taking the business forward and will likely define the culture of the business as well. You need to find people who are not just looking for jobs or designations but those who have an entrepreneurial mindset like yours and want to contribute to something meaningful.
Consistency is important
The problem with many startups is that they start with fireworks but eventually end up with smoke. You need to be a better company for which you will have to put processes in place that help you work consistently. Remember, working 6 days and partying the next 3 days will not bring you any business success. You have to be ready to give your all to business. As you are in for the long term, doing small things consistently will help in building a better business. If you just want to be here for the short term, enjoy the money from the first few clients and get ready to go out of business within months.
There is no ‘key’ that could help you unlock the potential of your idea. However, hard work and the right connections could help you achieve better than others. So, get ready and get started.