Real Startup definition
Few like minded intellectuals with a brilliant idea having great potential when come together and decide to get independent with the mission to bring changes in the life of human being through technology, innovation and unique problem solving approach,thats where the seed for a startup is ploughed.Paul Graham explains, a startup is a company designed to scale very quickly. It is this focus on growth unconstrained by geography which differentiates startups from small businesses. A restaurant in one town is not a startup, nor is a franchise a startup. Well there can be multiple definition for startup ,but for me its simply a best shot of few individuals who strongly believe that they are born with unique ability to envision human life problems and they try to give the solutions which are not only unique but also life changing.They don’t wait for situation to be favourable, they are fearless, they are unstoppable. Brains like this gives birth to a real Startup ecosystem where they not only thrive but also become sustainable. Startup like this knows only one word “Keep walking”.
Key Ingredients to be a Sustainable startup
Let me put this in few clear cut points
1. Bootstrap as long as possible –
Bootstrapping is a stage when startup run their business with the small amount of money which they put together at the initial level and try to make a business model around their idea which generates sufficient money as a fuel to run their business.Try to make your product or business which meets the need of the end consumer once it becomes the day to day need for them you can be assured of sustainable business.Once you have a proven revenue model you are ready to take a next big leap which we call a scalable business which serves millions of consumer.
2. Founding Team is crucial –
In your initial days of business or product development only thing which can help you to move forward is the right team and let me tell you it is the toughest part of your entrepreneurial journey. Remember no one has alone build any great business all started small and all started with brilliant like minded visionaries. All the stakeholders must have clear cut vision and should be ready to play diverse role as “CEO – Chief everything officer ” you have to manage everything collaboratively.So Choose your Co-Founders very wisely
3. Don’t start a business which is not your CUP OF TEA –
If you are starting up, have a clear understanding of your core expertise and the idea or product you are starting up with.You cannot create a sustainable and scalable business if it doesn’t fall in your core interest area. Also all the Co-founders should be on the same page when it comes to future goals and business strategy. The single most reason why most of the promising startup fails is because of Founders internal conflicts and self vested interest which deviates from startup’s core vision. .
4.Have Razor sharp focus on customers retention. –
The sole purpose of starting any business is to generate revenue for sustaining and gradually expanding to be a profitable business. But let me make it absolutely clear “CUSTOMER/CONSUMER/USER” should at the core of your business model/plan. I very often quote –
Starting is easy ending is easy but maintaining.. its tough
For example you made a mobile app which got 5000 user base in first 2 week. But gradually which very often is the case with mobile app startups, the user base starts declining and you are left with 1000 users in coming month. What should be your strategy, well your top most priority should be to retain your 1000 loyal customer by incentivising them, offering discounts, or any premium services for free for some particular period of time etc. Every loyal user gained will give thrust to your business growth.have analytics system in place if its an app in-order to have in depth understanding of your user dynamics. You have to constantly evolve and revamp your app/product strategy based on consumer analytics to acquire more customer and retain them for long time.Reach to their inbox, notify them through push notification about any upcoming updates etc etc.
5. Make your team accountable not employable –
Startup faces a biggest challenge in proper resource hiring.Every hiring has to be very thoughtful, you have to be very clear to them about your expectation, any wrong hiring does a substantial damage to the growth prospect.Then how to get a right set of team , its simple don’t hire an employee hire a people who shares the founders vision. Don’t hire them to tell you what they have to do, hire them so that they can tell you how to get the job well done. Startup has to be a team of creative and sharp individuals who are clear about the target which they set as per your business goals. Make them accountable and make them a part of your startup’s every little success or failures. Be transparent to them and share your personal story. Get bonded with the common goal and see the guaranteed transformation.
6. Collaborate and network with other startups –
This world is so closely knit together that you have to share your expertise with each other to grow in upward direction. You can’t rely in house for all your business needs, you have to network with other small startups and involve them in your growth story.See how you all can collaborate and meet each others need to have sustainable growth. There are conferences happening all round the world where you got to see some prospective clients for business association , target consumer and investors. So attend them, You never know when any big opportunity knocks at your doorstep,also go with open heart and mind to make maximum out of it.
Sustainable startup can scale but its not necessary all scalable startups can sustain.
Before signing off i would like to share one key learning from my startup journey –
Every startup comes to the point where survival becomes next to impossible and that is where most of them cracks and fail.
So in this situation i strongly recommend – “Simply Keep playing, keep walking“.