India is going through a startup frenzy, where starting a company is vogue. No one wants to struggle to succeed, but they want quick money. What comes quickly, goes away quickly too and what goes up has to come down. When will young India understand this?
Valuations are becoming unreasonable and there is no proper justification for them. This is going to make the Indian startup ecosystem less lucrative pretty soon. Before things become worse I thought I could provide some clarity on how to startup and grow - but in my own ways.
How much do you believe in your product/service or what are you willing to give up to implement your idea?
These are the first questions you need to answer before you startup. There will be tons of ideas coming to you and your team and zeroing in on one idea is extremely difficult. The only way to solve this is to identify the problem that you and your team really and badly want to solve. How much money you will make should definitely not be a criterion at this stage. A startup is going to take away minimum 3years of yours and your team’s life. The problem that is being solved must be worthy enough for your team to sacrifice their quality time with family, friends, festivals, trips and hobbies.
Customers should feel the difference in their lives when they use your product/service and how your product/service helps them with their activities. This experience should be bettered consistently. In addition, customers must be treated well and have an overall good experience in the complete cycle of your product. It should not be sold and am done, kind of an attitude. Customer care should not be, put the customer on hold. How you treat your customers is equally important as the experience of using your product/service.
Team building and bonding
Without the right blend (and by that I don’t mean people with the best minds and skills. I mean people who can get along the best) of people it’s difficult to complete your product. Identifying what you feel is the best solution to your problem is the way to go, but that could have your team constantly fighting over what’s the best solution. As a leader if you can handle this and still make them want to come back everyday, then I think you are the right person to lead. Consider it a marriage where people are upright and no words are minced. Now, imagine that scenario with your life partner. Yeah, this one is worse; and you have no time to please anyone. So think ten times or wait for the right people – trust me its worth the wait. When you select the team ensure that they have similar values. You cant have a thief and priest as partners.
The motivation behind why you are doing, what you are doing has to be reflected on your entire team. There are going to be times when you don’t have money and the only motivating factor for the entire team will be the product/service and how this is going to make a huge difference to their and the customers lives. If that motivation is not there, its just a matter of time before people leave.
It is essential for the survival and growth of the company, however, it should be treated like a tool. It needs to be given the same amount of respect and love you would give your books, hammer or a screw – anything more and its lust/greed. Austerity must be an integral part of the startup if it has to withstand dreaded waters. For the management it should be done at good and bad times. The fitter(exercises, diet and meditation) you are, the healthier you are.
Pace of growth
Growth is essential for a company but the pace at which you grow has to be analysed carefully. You don’t want to stuff your mouth with more than you can chew. Grow at a pace where every customer can be given a pleasant experience. It would be slow but very stable and highly valuable.
When you startup, I hope you would consider some of the aspects mentioned above. The downwards journey for Indian startups have already begun and I believe these factors could create a significant boost in how you startup and the valuations to the company in the long-run.