In the start-up universe, doomsday stories abound, about the graveyard of entrepreneurship failure being filled with the tombstones of early death start-ups. Confronting the statistic with a diagnostic approach is a constructive approach rather than wringing hands in despair. There are those who succeeded against all odds. The way forward is to learn from the lessons of history; else there is a clear and present danger that history will repeat itself with agonizing consequences.
Money will be limited especially in the early stages so treat it as if it is your blood. There is no pressing reason to splurge on an expensive brick and mortar office. Adequate space and functionality should be the guiding principles. Start ups can do without a custom designed web site until the big bucks start to roll in. Your processes, systems and workflow could even be structured on Google Docs. Review every cost to discover whether there is a way to accomplish the task for free. Shun advertising and do legwork visiting exhibitions and trade shows for no charge. Zero costing is impossible but the effort should be to stay within hand shaking distance of zero. Spend small amounts but have a grand vision.
Admit a Mistake
Don’t dread the day that you realize that you have taken a wrong call. The sooner that comes to light the better. Admit your mistake immediately. Assess whether damage limitation is possible by tweaking the business model or the product. If you are left with no other option, be prepared to walk away from the plan. There is really no worthwhile purpose served by being foolhardy and attempting to vindicate your original idea by sending good money chasing behind the bad money. Here’s where staying close to zero costing will bring a wry smile to your face.
Experience matters but it is not absolutely essential. If you have the intellectual inputs and knowledge transfer and mentoring skills, look for the right people at compensation that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Search for people who share your passion for hard work and have a fire in their belly. Build a multi tasking work force and that will move seamlessly within the business.
Network, Network, Network
It may be your business start up but you need not behave as if you along with Google Search are the sole repository of all the wisdom and knowledge in the world. Network your relatives, your friends, your school-mates, your former colleagues and even network their networks, Mine your network for ideas, suggestions, information, guidance and onward references for further networking. Take the initiative in opening a conversation and don’t worry about being rebuffed. You will, at least, be able to tell yourself, “I tried,” rather than “What if I had…”
Binding well with co-dreamers is supremely important. Don’t lose sight of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Synergies of the original ‘A Team’ contribute immeasurably to the success of start-up ventures.