Secret Mantras to Jump over the Hurdles

Date:   Tuesday , April 26, 2016

Based in Mumbai, Living Local started its journey in 2015. By providing a quality platform, the company allows people to connect with each other in a given neighborhood

Let\'s face it- Startup is simply the beginning of the challenges that an entrepreneur has to face on a regular basis. But this shouldn\'t be a complaint. It is the challenges that make the startup journey testing, exciting and with the right plans of action the hope to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

If I were to look back at the 2 years of my startup Living Local and the challenges that came across, being an optimistic I would like to attribute the current state of our success to these very challenges. What\'s important has been how these are tackled and we keep getting better at overcoming and at times quashing them before they crop up.

Here are myTop three mantras based on my own experiences with my startup.

Retaining Employees:
In the current market it\'s almost easier to find a co-founder than a long-lasting employee. Holding on to the employees is one of the most challenging realities for a startup. Once you have kick started your vision into an actual startup, the execution of an entrepreneurs vision needs the extra set of working hands and brains. Finding is not the problem. The challenge is in keeping them on-board. While they may believe in the vision and your product, they are at the end of the day ready to jump another ship, which would offer them a bigger package. That ship is probably another startup one step ahead in their funding round than yours. What can a startup do to make them want to stay on your ship longer? A startup team is small to begin with. A sense of ownership needs to be instilled in the employees. Perks play an important role. Simple perks like pantry filled with knick-knacks, board games, office get-togethers, and happy-hours give them a sense of belonging and comfort. It\'s important for startups to answer the question \'How can I make my employees time spent at the office worthwhile\'. It\'s tricky but important. We know what we want out of them.

Whatever your startup product may be, we all need to market what we got. Startups have to rely on the marketing gurus, agencies and people who have learnt to sell the marketing lingos (read CPC, CTA, social media, traction etc.). It\'s a challenge to get a good marketing agency of individual who understands your distinct marketing requirement beyond the hygiene marketing packages they sell.

What should a startup do? Fortunately this challenge is not entirely governed by outside influences. Every entrepreneur should make it a point to learn the basics of marketing. Even an actor today has to do more than act in a movie. They learn the art of marketing themselves using the social media tools. Startups need to know exact marketing milestones and a planned approach to the same. There are umpteen tools out there today to use but we should have the know-how of the basics so that even a marketing company or individual that we hire has a clear direction. Knowledge is the key to overcoming this. Going hands-on with some basic marketing yourself in the initial stage isn\'t a bad idea either.

Growth vs Profitability:
This has been a challenge most startups face. Let\'s accept it. A startup is a combination of entrepreneurs and investors. That\'s how this eco-system is functioning in general. While both want both grown and profitability the swing is always tilted more towards Growth for entrepreneurs and towards Profitability for investors. Both are correct. But the challenge lies is how to balance that for the next stage of climbing the startup ladder. Your startup car cannot be steered in two different directions even if they both lead to one destination.

Investor confidence is important for startups to have a clear understanding and plan of action with regards to growth and profitability. Its not easy and hard decisions have to be made to overcome the other complications that may arise later if not addressed initially. Clear milestones should be shared with investors to be on the same page. Remember an investor can also help strategically if they happen to be capable and involved. Startups should not live with the fear of losing out on investors who don\'t believe in the same direction you want for your startup. Getting the investors who share the direction right from the initial stage is crucial. A harder path for startups but crucial for overall momentum.

Remember that challenges are good till the time we don\'t see them as problems. It\'s not a fight. It\'s just a matter of getting to face the challenges and knowing or finding ways to overcome them. What separates the Men of startup from the Boys of startup is how they overcome these challenges.