Bala Nadar 15/01/2017
Having started my entrepreneurial journey at the age of 13, I have been fortunate to be engaged with great opportunities and challenges. Moreover, in the last 10 years of managing a corporate organisation and having dealt with thousands of startups and entrepreneurs, I have realised that most of the startups’ time and resources are wasted for not knowing the basics or by getting distracted by fashionable myths.
Through this article, I am sharing 7 of my startup lessons and revelations, I wish I would have known when I started my journey.
I hope to see your views in the comment box below.
#7 “You may think you are selling a Product or Service but they are always buying Trust.”
There are hundreds of research papers published by Harvard, IIM and many renowned researchers on trust.
The basis of any relationship is Trust and unless Trust is established, not even a single economic transaction can occur, even if it occurs it may not last for long.
Before you and I think of buying a one rupee crocin, our brain activates millions of nerves to test and decide if it is worth to buy one.
As Startups, we must TRUST RUN our products and services before they are shipped. If you find even a single Trust bug, you must fix it instantly. Technical bugs can be fixed later, but no one points out the Trust bugs.
#6 “If you are a Product company, your PRODUCT must be EXTRAORDINARY, If you are a Service company, your SERVICE must be EXTRAORDINARY.”
People, Technology, Funding, Marketing are means to achieve this. If they don’t lead you to achieve this they are of no use.
#5 “Talent war is a Myth. If your business Success is dependent on IITs & IIMs, you better leave business.”
Talent from Big Bang School is equivalent to Success is one of the greatest ‘business myths’ of our times. Recently, Startups are also getting trapped into this. Recruiting from big schools is one thing and making use of their talent is a different thing.
We need to understand an important element that; Startups are primarily idea centric and business schools are execution centric. Matching these two important elements at the right intersection point is not easy and is ignored, which results in miserable failures.
Moreover, if the talent is not affordable it is not a talent. These schools manufacture human robots with a high Price tag. Many times rather than becoming part of the solution, they become part of the problem.
This part of my view is by no means to undermine the contribution of these renowned Institutions, however, I want the Startups to not get carried away by fashionable myths.
#4 “In 21st century, the most important function of an Entrepreneur is being a Trainer; Marketing and Execution comes later.”
In a Startup environment, Entrepreneurs need to carefully put together a team of people who can complement and supplement each other for speedy execution of the idea.
This requires constant efforts in recruiting fresh talent at a reasonable cost and training them into contributing members of the team within the fastest possible time. No business can be successful unless individual talent is aligned towards organisation goals and no one else other than an entrepreneur can do this better.
From my personal experience, I can vouch for this statement. 100% of our employees are personally interviewed by me and 90% of them need to undergo 30 days of one-on-one training sessions with me. In last 10 years, I have rarely deviated from this policy and whenever I have deviated, I have paid the price.
#3 “If your Customer says you are the Best – your Valuation is HIGH, If your Customer says you are BAD – your valuation is ZERO. Rest of all Valuations are just Hype.”
If you make sense to your end user, nobody can undervalue you. First focus on the most important valuer of your business, your CUSTOMER. Rest all will fall in place.
Valuation is not a mathematical adventure, it is a value of your venture determined by its
impact IMPACT on the customers. The impact is in the bold.
Ensure that your valuation is done by your customers first and accountant is engaged just to make note of it and not vice versa.
If an accountant or IIT graduate at the VC firm is deciding your valuation ignoring the Impact value, either he is a fool or he is fooling you.
Commercially, Valuation is a straight calculation of what value/money your customers are willing to contribute to the Impact and for how long, with or without your competitor’s interference.
#2 “Banks are Interest centric and Angels are Exit centric.”
Before knocking their doors, know that they are least interested in your business or its model. They want to know if the interest or exit is viable or not. If you can make a strong and sensible case around this, you are in or the door is still open.
#1 “Law is technically written Social Philosophy.”
*Lawyers are only required for technicalities.
Here it goes…
Every human being, by nature, is capable of differentiating between right and wrong. If they are unable to form an opinion of right and wrong, they are by nature insane. An insane is exempted by law.
As an entrepreneur, why this is important for you?
Before approaching your lawyer, if you are unable to identify what is right and what is wrong and to decide which side of the coin you are, you are running a risk of being misguided.
Most of the Lawyers are capable of taking you for a ride, by first saying that you have a strong case and once you are in, showing how you have no case.
Don’t worry, you know the law better than most of the lawyers around, only thing you need to do is, to dig in a little bit, rest will follow. But, while digging what is right and wrong, keep your EGO aside.
For Startups, knowledge of law is not a legal function, it is a business function, if you ignore your function, you are not only running a legal risk but also a business risk.
Folks! Take a moment and tell me in comments which is the most important lesson you want to see as a detailed blog.
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