Starting your business on your own - how and where to start?

This article shares my experience on starting and sustaining a business and few things to keep in mind while starting on your own. I strongly believe that following certain thumb rules and guidelines will always help to take the business to the next level.

Startups today and media

These days startup owners and successful entrepreneurs are being cherished as superheroes. They are always in the limelight of conventional media and other channels irrespective of the kind and volume of business they do. But the real scenario of these startups is not as dramatic as projected by the media. Sales volume and market might look lucrative but the actual trends are hidden behind the screen. I might sound explicitly negative and more generic rather taking any specific thing into account. It is not the fault of the media, it is trendy these days to share happy moments and photographs even in social media as People love to watch and listen to the success stories more than an utter failure. So, media's cannot fail public as it costs their business.

The hottest topic

When I was working in round the clock shifts for an IT startup which predominantly had its clients in the United States, I always hear someone around me talking about starting a new venture. Yes! At times even I was talking the same thing. But there was a difference in each others opinion, as most of my colleague's talk of starting a new business when they were under stress which I didn't do. I always had a thought of starting on my own, When I got a better increment, good promotion and a breathtaking appreciation from my superior or the client. When I wanted to quit my job I had done a small research to find out few likeminded people who got a real intention to build an organization. Then I realized something, it was not only me in the crowd who got a great vision but there where umpteen number of people at least in my city located in the southernmost part of India, where most of the population got this natural instinct of doing a business induced by the city's rich industrial heritage.

While Starting a business

I would say there are few things which I learned before starting a business and it is very true until today. Here I am listing few for aspirants who would like to start on their own.
  • Having just an idea is not enough, need a lot of market research.

  • Always innovative model won't work, there is an alternative to this approach is called as the replicative model. Though there will be titans in the existing business one can find his own clients by properly defining the business goals and working for it.

  • Organisations with enough pool fund are most likely to sustain the pressure on the initial days.

  • Any startup company needs a good team irrespective of idea and funding.

  • Learning from others' experience will save a lot of time, So spending more time with mentors and real entrepreneurs will help in a big way.

  • As the team is important, So the basic infrastructure, One can't build good software without having good computer and internet.

Progressing on the business

During the progress, I learned few more things such as -
  • You can't do everything on your own. So, Always hire an expert to do certain things that you or your team cannot do.

  • Financial management is very important to sustain any business.

  • In some cases, collaborative model work better (teaming up with other companies while working on the unified goal)

  • Sales team with a poor product knowledge will damage the reputation of the company.

  • Customer is the most important person in any organization.

Where to Start

Startups need to be frugal always when it comes to spending the seed fund. One needs to concentrate more on the business plan and return on investment rather spending days together in creating logos and interior design. I know startups who spent more time on brochures, interiors, and board light designs certainly failed to retain a customer who is the purpose of the whole business.

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Author: Natarajan10 Jan 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 7

An excellent first-hand experience of startup companies. Agree with the author that many have innovative ideas and brilliant plans in the drawing room but all cannot be transformed into uprunning profitable businesses.

When one uses a focussed replicative model they would succeed. The classic but simple example is the newspaper vendors. Wherever they are, they succeed provided they venture out where there are demand and supply imbalance.

It is true that mentors and people who have already walked the path ahead of us are very useful, as long as they have good and honorable intentions.

Being in a similar state in the past, I can add these:

Starts-up needs good friends and well-wishers. Equally important is the financial backing. It is ideal to keep both these groups separate, and if unavoidable, there should be clear, legal guidelines as to the plan on the exit of one member. This is more important when the value of intellectual property or content is far more valuable than the money invested.

We need to have a plan with a clear short term, medium term and long term simple goals.

There should be a backup source of funding for a couple of lean months.

The core team involved in the starts should pre-decide their monthly salaries and get it entered into the firm accounts.

The team should be composed of members with a varied skill set that are crucial to the firm's progress and troubleshooting success.

At least one member should be well connected socially and know the way around the hurdles that arise in any venture.

Detailed scrutiny of the accounts and balance sheet should come above all (friendship, trust, reliability etc).

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