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3 Keys to a successful startup: Engage-Build-Sell

Nandini Hirianniah
Nandini Hirianniah
Co-Founder, 
The Morpheus
Choosing what to focus on after getting started can be rather confusing for the startup founders. In most cases founders lose out on crucial time, right after starting, by focusing on wrong things like fund-raising, team building, deep market research, building a fully functional product as their first release to go public!

When a startup gets started, it should have 4 things:

1. A founding team (or a founder ) committed to making things work against all odds

2. An important problem that impacts a significant set of customers, and hypothesis for the potential solution(s) that needs to be proven right or wrong

3. Have skills to hand-create solution to the problem, combined with the initial subject matter expertise in the domain they are working on

4. Some basic money to survive and work on the problem / solution

The above ingredients are usually a resultant of:

An 'ah-ha' moment of finding the right idea / problem to solve

A natural coming together of a team which has one main goal - solving the same pain-point
Once the problem to solve is identified, the team should spend time in figuring out the best way to executing it. So where does one start, anyway?

What to focus on?

When a team gets started, there are far too many things to take care of. Focusing on things that do not matter may happen unconsciously or unintentionally. The one guideline that perhaps will help in choosing one task over the other maybe in asking the question "How big is the impact of the task I'll do to the lives of my potential/existing customers". This is true not just for teams that are starting out, but all startups across (even helpful for executives in large companies in prioritizing their tasks).

Simply put, a startup should not spend anytime in things that do not impact its end customers / audience, as getting their attention and making an impact early is important.

Broadly classified, early stage startups should focus on only 3 things and keep the customer in mind at all times:

Engage: It is important to engage with potential customers to convert strangers to friends. First, think of who these potential customers are going to be. Every section of potential customers will have an early adopter category. These are people who are quick to use a product that seems useful, quick to give feedback, are largely forgiving and have a sense of what else is there in the market in the same domain. These are also influencers who will bring other users to your product. Look for such influencers in the potential customer segment you are going after. Reaching out to them, engaging in a dialogue will help in building a community that is listening to you or giving you attention, even before the initial product is launched.
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