Catchy title! But it is in fact the truth.
I don’t condemn or criticise anyone from starting a company. It is in fact a really bold step but if you are in for doing a startup because you see glamour in it, or you see a chill life where you are the king of your life or its good to be your own boss or because everyone is doing it or any other hundreds of similar reasons you can list out. Wait! you may be in for trouble.
Startups are lucrative, if you live and breathe around group of entrepreneurs you might definitely feel, “Even I should do a startup”. I have Co-founded two startups got a great exit from one and other one is doing great. Starting up for the sake of starting a company is not a valid nor a rational reason to do a startup. There are startups coming up everyday. People get ideas, so do you – it doesn’t mean you should start a company. Startup requires a great deal of commitment, I’m not talking about 10-12 hours a day. It could mean not seeing sunlight for days, not moving out of your chair for days coding/working all the time, working for 16-18 hours a day and at the end of day concluding it wasn’t enough. This is the story of almost every founder/cofounder of a great startup. They don’t have a life seeing for the point of view of people in general. For them the more they work the more merrier they are. Here are a few things you should know before doing a startup.
1. Startup is autonomy but it means responsibility and not freedom (from boss). You are responsible for not just your life but the lives of your team and your employees. They have trusted you, its your responsibility to make money for them too.
2. Investors money is hard earned money, it is not for you to get a lavish office space and a lifestyle. Its there so that you can expand operations and scale your business. Raising funds from an Angel or VC is no proof that your business will succeed but it is now your responsibility to make money for investors too.
3. Almost 99% of startups fail. Don’t try to increase the stats, you have to take rational and responsible decisions at each and every step. Each of which has probability of 1% that you made the right choice.
4. Marginal improvements over existing solutions will not help you build great and long lasting companies. You may stall for some time, but will eventually crash or may get exit if lucky. Ecommerce and Deals industry in India are great examples, where thousands of startups emerged and falled. Few were lucky enough to get exits when the market was booming.
5. Not all startup stories are like of Instagram and doing business in an economy like that of India requires a lot more than simply idea. In economy that of India, you need to prove that your idea makes money, then consider looking for investors.
6. Developing a great technology requires great deal of effort. Don’t consider that getting a website up and running is cheap and easy. Right talent costs you loads of money – be prepared for that.
7. Your idea maybe good, Don’t be adamant about it, learn to pivot, try to learn and make the best of the situation. Talk to potential customers, superusers – you will learn more about the problems and will develop a greater concern for the solving the problem and benefiting the consumers.
8. Seek legacy, mastery, and freedom in that order. Here is a great article on HBR about it. It goes for all situations – Job or doing a business.
Everyone out there is trying to start a business. The competition is fierce. Review your idea, seek expert advice, talk to users, entrepreneurs. Involve in the community.
Life is short, do what you love but make rational choices.