Getting into an IT Startup is a challenging experience and for most cases, rewarding. But running it yourself is an entirely different story. Success stories don’t always tell the whole of it, there is no walkthrough, benchmarks and yardsticks to measure the amount of work, dedication and challenges you need to face in order to make a successful startup. You simply just have to try and do it.
You may need to consider the following factors before diving into the wonderful world of startups.
Confidence is Key
Do you have balls of steel? Startups face risks and hurdles on a daily basis. You need to have the right amount of courage to face these challenges head on. Just enough so you can make the right decisions when you need to. Its never an easy task to run a company, you feel it in your gut giving you a constant state of worry. Having the right amount of confidence enables you to convert these worries into strategy.
Ultimately, you need funding to get things rolling… and keep on rolling. Its either you get this from investors or you fund your startup yourself. This gets easier with co-founders willing to shell out some working capital with you can then consider as your “Runway Funding”. In startup terms, this is how much you have to manage to get your startup to the next step. The more interesting part, however, is how you manage that Runway Fund until the product you’ve invested your startup into is ready to earn profit. So spend wisely.
Choose a Sustainable Market
You need a market for your product, or at least the product you want to develop in mind, and you have to choose wisely. Many startups fail by choosing a small scale niche just to avoid competition. On the other hand, generalizing your target market can be more than you can financially sustain. Before targeting markets you need to ask yourself the following questions:
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Does my product have enough value proposition?
– In the current world we live in, a pioneer product is almost like a myth. regardless of how unique your product is, there’s always someone somewhere who’s already thought of the same “Billion-Dollar-Idea”. You just have to figure out how yours would stand out.
Is it a good time to sell it now?
– timing is everything, there are chances where your product exists way ahead of its time. The solution you’ve thought of may not really be needed at all. Facebook may not be successful if it launched earlier than Friendster and so on… So time your product release strategically.
Is the market large enough to sustain costs and earn profit from?
– determining the right market requires some research. You need to divide your customers into groups and determine the correct group from which you can actually sell your product to. By then you would be able to measure if your market is sustainable and large enough for your startup to make profit.
Choose the Right People
Most startups fail by choosing the wrong people to start with. Sometimes we get too clouded with the idea that we only need passion and hard work to get a startup running, and that “getting along” with your co-founders is essential to make daily work a breeze… that is entirely not true. You need to make decisions and act on the consequences of that decision on a regular basis, passion and hard work doesn’t really help you make the right choices, in fact, it may even contribute to making matters worse. You also need people with commitment, dedication and expertise. You and your co-founders should also have conflicting ideas, arguments and different points of view. This helps you move a step back from your comfort zone and look at issues at a different angle, in an unbiased way. You will know your startup is in danger if you all agree on every decision you make every single time.
You would also want to choose people that commit to finishing the work started. It’s the execution that matter, not the amount of ideas one can contribute. You need to work with business partners that you eventually make friends with and not the other way around.
When an opportunity knocks, grab it. Remember, time is the most valuable investment so don’t waste time overthinking about the future. Don’t overthink and overanalyze the things you don’t have control of just yet. respond to opportunities immediately and don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.
Learn Fast, Really Fast
In today’s fast growing IT industry it becomes a whole lot difficult to adapt to the right market, come up with a fool-proof business model and ultimately go ahead of the competition. It doesn’t always mean you should get things right the first time. The hard truth is that startups will never get it right the first time! its okay to fail on your first try, probably fail a couple more. You just need to fail fast and learn from it in order to succeed even faster.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to how well you can deal with changes. You should learn how to make quick and reasonable decisions and cope up with the consequences fast. Success in an IT Startup is not only measured by the amount of projects it has or how many employees you have working for you. What matters is how your startup can live to sustain the day to day challenges while keeping your vision in place, continue learning and set your ideas in motion. So get out there and make it happen!