Sep 25, 2011 -- posted by Navin
Almost a year back I started with setting up my own company along with two friends of mine. Though the company did not make much profit I personally feel it has been very profitable project in terms of learning’s that I can take from it.
5 points that I learnt from this (ad)venture
- Be focused. This seems to be the most obvious point but somehow got missed by us. Most of the time if you put a couple of brilliant people in a room and throw in a couple of random topics you would soon see new business ideas emerging, each one with its own potential. The key is not to get lost in looking at new ideas / ventures each time you hit a low point in your current idea. I must admit that a lot of companies out there started with something other then what eventually lead them to success but jumping from one idea to another would not lead you anywhere. Of course be open to new ideas and definitely keep your eyes and ears open to the market needs but once you decide on something stick to that until you can convince yourself that you have given it your 100%. Unless the new idea is something that you can shut of your current work completely and work on the new idea. Try not to split your focus between two or more different ventures.
- Identify the skills needed and match people to that not the other way around. I cannot stress enough on this point. A lot of new startups are started with keeping people in mind rather then skills. Since it is something that is hopefully being to be a long term project you really need to consider if you have the right people for the task. You cannot expect someone to be your lead technical designer if he has no technical experience or the other way around. Also you have ensure that the people in your core team are very passionate about the idea and will stick with it in its down’s as much as in its up’s.
- Know your role in the company and take lead in that and make sure other people know their role and are doing their part of the deal. Once you have formed the company each one of you would have certain responsibilities and should be owner of one part of the product / service or the other. It is very important that everyone is transparent in a sense that others are kept up to date on what everyone is doing. Not only does this help in knowing what to expect in each area and mitigating the timelines / risks by knowing about the struggles in advance but also keeps everyone motivated by being accountable to one another. Also you should be open and clear about the things you think you cannot do and make sure someone can fill in the gap.
- Marketing and sales is not only a full time job of one person but also of all the people involved. At the end of the day if you cannot market your product or get good sales you are not going to have a profitable venture. I think this is one of the most important of all the tasks in the team. You have to start marketing the idea right from the start and market it to every possible person you know or meet, you never know from where you might get a lead. Grab every single opportunity you get to go to business social events and events related to your product and try to get as many contacts as possible. The more the people who know about you the better.
- Align Expectations. Make sure that all the people involved in the core team know what each one is contributing and what their returns would be and make sure everyone is comfortable with that. This is also important as you don’t want people feeling that they are contributing a lot of effort while someone else is just freeloading. Going back to the third point it really helps when people know what everyone is doing and what their responsibilities are before hand. Working closely in a small group it is good to make sure that there are no frictions amongst the team members and that everyone’s concerns are handled to ones expectation.
Please do leave any additions on what you think is important for young entrepreneur to keep in mind while setting up a start up.