Startups rules – Entrepreneurship has propagated to be a new fad among our fellow youngsters. Starting your own company can be easily compared with that of going for a trek as you might encounter several harsh kinds of weather, several rough terrains and many other unprepared circumstances would arise (Assume heavy fog and all the fury, Mother Nature could bestow upon you). Once you set on the track, there might be no turning back. For one, the road back home may be difficult as you have come too far ahead and crossed the return point. Secondly, you might even have forgotten the road as working for someone else might not be easy for you now.
Before you proceed on a trek like this, below startups rules should be kept in mind explained in analogy to trekking:
1. Keep it light
“Sometimes you don’t feel the weight of something you have been carrying until you feel the weight of its release”. It is not advisable for you to carry a heavy load while trekking as the road is long and you might have to carry the load all by yourself. Similarly, in a new venture, you aren’t supposed to carry a heavy load.
Think of everything that can be considered as a load by keeping all your emotions aside. Make a list of all the things which you feel are load right now or which might drag you back before you encounter the taste of success and simply drop them politely. If it is a commitment or a materialistic subject all you have to do is prioritize your needs and act accordingly. If you feel certain people, might become a load later on; tell them upfront that you do not know what the future might be. Meanwhile, ask them not to wait for you and proceed with their lives. This is easier said than done and will give you rewards later on.
2. Prepare for a long journey
“Learn to depend upon yourself by doing things in accordance with your way of thinking”. Many startups fail because they don’t prepare for the long haul and think that an angel (Read investor) will come and help them. But, the reality is that a lot many people decide to trek whereas the angels started selecting the ones they felt were good. As the old saying goes “Failing to plan is planning to fail” so it is extremely important to plan with clear insights of how things would transform in the coming future.
This is not a normal trek where you’ll find food and shelter on the way and you will reach the destination eventually. On the other hand, you need to harvest your own crops and have to build your own roof over your head.
3. Walk slow
“Pause and remember – Slow and steady will get you where you want to go. If you put too much pressure on yourself for results too quickly, you will quickly give up. You do not want to race in a trek regardless of all the hurry you might be in. One wrong turn and there goes the whole journey. Many ventures have closed down as they were trying to run when they should have crawled through the narrow lane. So always remind yourself to take small but firm steps.
In a startup, you will have to make decisions on a daily basis which may impact the speed of the whole organization. Make sure that these decisions are well thought of and not taken in a hurry. When in doubt sit down and think or even wait for the mist to clear instead of rushing ahead.
4. Go with a team but a small team
Steve jobs once said that “A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players”. A journey like this needs a team but has to be kept small and purposeful (remember to keep it light). The climb to Mt Everest is done with a small team and not a crowd so why should a startup be any different. Every member should have a major role to play in some particular segment and no one should be a free ride. You will find lots of free riders on the way and be sure to identify them and weed them out.
No one can do every work by themselves. Even though you might be a superstar in your job it is always better to split work and try to complete it as working as a team gives a sense of commitment. Your exceptional performance in the job might be due to people behind the scenes making your life easy. Some examples may be HR, Admin, IT, finance people. Think about it and you’ll identify roles for which you need a team.
5. Hold the team together
“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other”. Imagine the mess it would be if the team is climbing Mt Everest and some of the guys decide to try some other peak. It is not just the role of the leader but it is of everyone’s to stay focused. If you find anyone or even the whole group out of focus, remind them of the objective of the expedition.
In a startup, your team should be on the same page regarding the goals to achieve. Even if here is a change in direction or anything, all should be kept on the same page. If the peak has to be changed, then everyone should decide to change it. Coherency is an important factor that would unite a team well. Making each member of a team interconnected, you will be able to force themselves to complete their allocated tasks.
It’s a difficult journey and people
6. Hire weightlifters
Many startup founders once in a while start to wonder that how much of what weighs them down is not actually them to carry. If you and your core team are involved in lifting the weight, then who is seeing the road or guiding you? Once in a while, someone would raise the head to check the direction but then you would be following a jig-jag path.
You will have to outsource some work in your startup to make your life easy. Identify those works and get a low-cost vendor for a particular service. Negotiate well and test them out for some months. If outsourcing does not make a negative impact on your work stay with them till you reach the destination.
On trekking, you have to respect the nature and make adjustments, in the same way when a startup is considered you have to respect the roughness of the market conditions and its volatility and should make changes accordingly. If you see a storm coming, you will not head into it but maneuver around it or hold your grounds till it calms down. Apply similar logic to your startup and you’ll finish the journey.