A Short Guide to be Successful at Entrepreneurship

Date:   Friday , April 01, 2016

Headquartered in California, Ideapoke is an open crowd sourcing platform that enables the businesses to solve their business problems by posting real world business challenges to seek innovative solutions quickly & cost effectively from a global talent pool

A startup idea is like a wild horse. The individual, who tames it into a gentle steed - the \'horse whisperer\' - shows the path and direction required to make the idea run. Changing demographics have clearly created a new entrepreneurial landscape that has thrown up a young population of disruptors with the drive & energy to invest in a business. Large global investors have also fuelled the growth in valuations and aspirations. Reports indicate that with India\'s market potential becoming more enticing and the startup ecosystem growing rapidly, this seems to be the right time to start a business venture. Globally too, a number of startups have witnessed phenomenal growth.

The Startup Spurt

As startups rush in, the spurt has brought its own set of challenges. Fierce competition is a huge challenge as the barriers to entry are relatively low. The next big challenge startups are facing globally, especially in the early stages is finding the right team who can share the same passion as the founders. This is a tricky part; predicting when the company moves out of startup mode into scale-up mode and what talent & organizational changes that this shift would require immense far-sight and foresight. Financing a startup is among the biggest obstacles entrepreneurs face. Handling cash flows both in terms of short term and long term objectives is an important priority. An entrepreneur needs to look at this key aspect very minutely to be able to sustain and eventually grow the business.

Technology moves at an incredible speed and keeping pace with the changes can be daunting for startups. Although innovation plays a key role, constantly changing market requirements and technology can distract companies making them lose sight of their niche market they initially started to address, with the objective of making themselves valuable.

While identifying their target audience is key to any startup, the bigger task is to retain them. If you have a brilliant idea that works, there are a hundred others who are waiting in the wings to latch on to that model, making it imperative for the business to constantly innovate and evolve.

Ignorance is not Bliss

Identifying need is a key factor. Most businesses fail due to the absence of a proper vision and poor understanding of the market. Even a brilliant idea may backfire if the product that you create is not needed in the market. Setting up a business is easy. But you are not in the business till you sell something.

When the business is in its infancy and the founders are young and ready to fire, things are easier. But as the business grows, it is important that everyone is on the same page. Sure, businesses can do well following tried and tested principles within their industries. But in this competitive global climate, it takes something truly unique, truly big, to make customers sit up and take notice. It is also important to spot your priorities, customer segments and also have a good idea about the operational difficulties that may come up while scaling up.

It is important to arrive at a fine balance between the needs of growth, capital spends and employees. This will enable an entrepreneur to build a highly successful business along with exponential growth. It is important to keep in mind that building a product and building a company are two completely different things. Company building is about culture, customers, teams, execution and more. As a founder one needs to become the evangelist and the salesman. The founder is always selling his story to customers, potential hires and the next round of investors. It is also important to build an understanding of finance as one builds the business. One might not be able to draw balance sheets but the founder must understand cash flow.

It is important to surround yourself with bright people with whom you can work together. It would be wise to seek out mentors who have been through a similar process of starting up, someone whom you can reach out to for advice, honest, unbiased feedback. These could be professionals, angels or institutional investors who have backed you. It is a lot easier to reach out to people today than ever before because of the multiple platforms that are available.

The coming years are likely to be exciting for the world of business. The mobile phone is the next big thing after the internet. Now with millions of smartphone users and many more to be added in future, mobile phones offer a huge platform for businesses. The internet of things is another significant development. There is a lot of data around. The concept of a network of smart devices offers a huge potential area to decipher, analyse and plan where to use relevant data.

In the Indian context, the launch of the Modi government\'s \'Startup India\' mission augurs well for Indian companies looking for support from the government.

As an entrepreneur, there are two things they should always remember - Firstly, humility because they have to know that they probably don\'t know everything. Secondly, they should trust their dreams and keep at it, always strive to be better and take it to the next level. A good product idea and a strong technical team are not a guarantee of a sustainable business. One should not ignore the business process and issues of a company because it is not their job. It can eventually deprive them from any future in that company.

These are unprecedented times in India for technology entrepreneurship with more people willing to take the risk and back entrepreneurs than ever before. Sure, businesses can do well following tried and true principles within their industries. But in this competitive global climate, it takes something truly unique, truly big, to make customers sit up and take notice.