I wrote this piece a week earlier when I got a call from a client who wanted me to advise her. She wanted to know the a few intricate details that should be focused during the onset of a startup to be successful.
When I first decide to join a start-up, I was mentally prepared to take up tasks which are beyond my area expertise. Start-ups are like joint families where everyone is required to work equally without any functional specialization. Many people have hesitation in joining start-up companies as they commonly think that start-ups are always short of projects, pay scale is relatively low, inefficient, incomparable work pressure etcetera; in some cases these assumptions are true but not in all these sorts of preconceived notions can be over-ruled.
I too had my own notions about start-ups. I was working with a well-known multinational company when I was approached by my present company. My present company at that time was desperately looking for someone who could nurture it and take it to a new level. At that time I wondered how these new companies survive in the tightly guarded and tough market scenario. There must be something mystical about these start-ups. I pondered on these questions many nights until I found the reason on joining a start-up.
I think these are some of the reasons why very few start-up succeeds:
Know your customers: So many companies, several products, myriad of apps, but customers are always seeking something new, unique and different. It has been emphasized by many of the successful market gurus that one of the most important quotients in the market are the customers. Yes, if you can figure out what “different” your customers are looking for then you are welcomed in a competition.
Valuable contacts: Another crucial parameter which separates a start-up from its competitors are its sources and valuable contacts. Well it is a fact that you cannot survive if you have no contacts. Contacts are valuable assets, having which will be more than a boon to your new company. Start-ups are not easily trusted by many people, but, if you know someone from the industry then that is like a priceless possession you have. Contacts can link you and help you reach to others and this is one of the best way to reach out to other valuable assets.
Never nag: An assertive quality in start-ups is that they are usually hungry for projects. For them to grab a long-term projects takes a while but if logically devised, short-term projects can be also advantageous to them. Start-ups do not have the luxury to say “no” to clients and customers. They are ready to take up most of the work which are usually denied by big companies. So, by saying “yes” and showing expertize in the area of interest, a start- up can possibly win many hearts and easily climb the success ladder.
Keep going: Another trick for a start-up to survive is that they need to keep going. There will be time where your patience will be tested but if you can overcome fear of closing down or your impatience, you can possibly move to busy days ahead. If you don’t have projects coming on your way, do not get discouraged. Instead of waiting for projects, work for it. Utilize your time, make contacts, study your customers and be productive.
Beside incomparable learning experiences, I also get to share theses little information which I have over the years observed and I think these are few of the reasons for which we came this far. I was wrong on assuming that certain things are mystical about new companies. Start-ups have nothing mystical about them, all they have is the ability to transform contacts into clients and free tasks to profitable projects.