6 Lessons I learnt as a Startup Entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur you are not alone in the journey
‘Following your heart’, gives you a lot of happiness; I was no different from many others and just wished to follow my heart. Being a young man in his twenties, I had a vision, tremendous energy and millions of dreams to start my venture right from the scratches and make it a huge success globally.
Well, I started and being a first time entrepreneur was a self learning for me in various aspects. I worked with few startups before starting my first company in 2008.
My Entrepreneurial journey was not so easy like millions of others. I made some good decisions, I made some bad decisions, and I learnt a lot along the way. It was a great learning experience and I am still learning a lot in a practical world.
A successful entrepreneur requires dedication, focus, patience, efficiency, positive attitude, passion, sacrifices and courage. As an entrepreneur you are not alone in the journey, you have employees, their families, vendors, other direct and indirect stakeholders too who are dependent on your business.
1. Know it All Yourself
It is very important to conduct proper SWOT analysis of your business. Knowing about your strengths will help you to look after new opportunities and working on your weaknesses will help you stay away from future threats. Keep doubting yourself, your decisions, question everything and everyone - this will help you improvise on daily basis. Keep track of all your departments, clients, processes and finances at least at macro level.
2. Be Disciplined:
Being Disciplined and Punctual is very important. This becomes a practice and a rule for everybody working with you; you start valuing your time and others too follow the path. Imagine resources coming late or you reaching late to a client, it is very annoying and frustrating to clients as well if they have something aligned immediately next to you.
Everyone needs to know it’s a startup and it needs extra care. Set office in-timing for yourself and your team as well. Setting up right culture and office decorum is very important while retaining all the cool things that you all do in the office. You should also make habit of ending tasks the very same day and ensure your team follows the same so that it becomes a part of culture.
3. Build Team:
Every Entrepreneur loves to hire people with the same Passion that he or she has. It turns me off when I see highly experienced or educated resources trying to save themselves from responsibilities or roles. Delegation is good but to an extent.
It becomes still difficult to hire someone “as good as you” are. Hire passionate people, train them and let them prove themselves. As an entrepreneur it will always be challenging to hire and retain from both the sides i.e. Fresher (they need big brands) and experienced (they need security).
So, stay smart and hire mediocre talent. Plan your hiring to save money and hire the best resources from industry.
4. Value Processes:
You must ensure that the processes are followed in all your departments and make it a practice for yourself too. Set processes for HR, Operations, Finances, Branding & Lead generation. Get right people on board who can do justice to your set processes.
Make habit of using notepad, white boards to ensure you don’t miss anything and have complete know how of your daily task. Set processes based on daily, weekly and monthly targets for all and for yourself too. Processes and numbers are very important. Startups are more about discipline than anything else.
5. Manage Cash flow:
Keep very close track of your Receivables and Payables, almost on daily basis. Ensure that you always have minimum 6 months operational money in your bank account if you are into service industry. I understand it well that I have 4 weeks in a month to manage my cash flow and it keeps me on toes. As an entrepreneur we need to have macro level for next set of receivables either from existing clients or advances from new businesses.
6. Network with Like-minded:
It is also important to see your business from outside world’s perspective. Networking with new people will help you a lot. It will help you in hiring resources, new business generation, popularizing your brand and making it known to the world. You should travel to network and attend business networking events, startup events, conclaves and meets. Make extensive use of social media platforms to build your network.
Well, I am still in the phase of learning and it gives me immense pleasure to share whatever little I have learnt. Hope to keep learning and keep going always!!!
Keep in mind always that you have to be a customer first of your own business. This will help you understand your business and challenges your client faces from your service or your team, keep learning and keep growing.