From the Launchpad - Anand Tuladhar

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From the Launchpad - Anand Tuladhar
 

Before you jump in

Diving into the competitive world of business might seem too daunting at the outset, but it is surely something you won’t regret. But first, you need to come up with an idea and bring it into action. Secondly, you have to source capital to develop your initial product and validate your idea. To be an entrepreneur, you should be open to making mistakes, but make sure not to fall in the trap completely or else it can impede your business. Therefore, maintaining a proper documentation aids in learning from mistakes and avoiding future complications. The difficulty for startups is that entrepreneurs won’t have much experience while starting a business for the first time, and investors may not be confident about whether they can pull things off. Don’t be discouraged. Just show them the hard evidence and demonstrate to them that your ideas and enthusiasm more than compensate for your lack of experience. And lastly, the most important thing is knowing your weaknesses and trying to rectify them. As long as you are willing to accept your weaknesses and find ways to turn them into strengths, you’ll never stop growing.

Experimenting, innovating,adapting

Learning and growing are part of the entrepreneurial process. Entrepreneurs, even experienced ones, at times, fail to realise that several factors outside of their control affect their company’s growth rate. Trying out new ways of doing things sometimes helps you pursue more than one avenue of opportunity. However, experimenting doesn’t mean crossing boundaries of existing protocol in the organisational framework but in the mindset of entrepreneurs and employees. You should be able to experiment in a feasible way in order to escalate the drive towards innovation. But when you are innovating, you need to keep an eye on what your customers want.

The importance of market research

Entrepreneurs often ignore the need to conduct market research, but knowing your potential clients and your competitors is very important. “Will my idea work?” is the basic question that comes into the mind of every entrepreneur. The only way to answer this is by doing research—be it via internet surfing, attending relevant events, talking to mentors or from personal observation. It doesn’t matter if your business idea has already been attempted in the market, as long as you understand your customers’ needs and are sure that you can deliver.

Money isn’t everything

You of course need some money to start out and keep things rolling, but it’s not everything. Even startups with limited budgets have done wonders. Startups with the right idea, right people with the right skills, and a robust support structure stand a better chance of becoming successful than startups that start out with a badly conceived idea that’s backed by lots of money. Furthermore, entrepreneurs with great ideas and a great team can convince investors to put their money in their business.

The importance of right personnel

Startups need to consider human resource as an asset rather than an expense. One of the main challenges for startups is to attract talented employees and retain them. If startups fail to attract talent, they will not be in
business for too long. There’s this new idea gaining traction in the business world about putting employees first and customers second. Entrepreneurs should create an environment of trust by ensuring extremely transparent communication between employees and management. As an entrepreneur, you need to understand your personnel matter not only during your company’s good times, but also define the organisation during bad times. Successful entrepreneurs and leaders know how to make themselves obsolete after a certain time-—that is, they train their employees, retain them and teach them to take ownership so that the personnel can drive the company forward in their absence.

Adapting to market changes

The market is dynamic. It is bound to change over time. Your company thus needs to change with the changes in the market. Without making such adaptations, your business will likely lose its competitive edge and become outdated. Startups that are deft at embracing change can foster innovations and remain in the market for a long time. Entrepreneurs should be open-minded and encouraging while leading the business so that the employees can position themselves as people who are capable of performing additional responsibilities and fulfilling objectives in a constantly changing market.

 

Taking calculated risks

The startup economy is filled with opportunity and  potential, but at the same time it is also a risky market. The risk may have to do with your product, your financial situation, your team’s capacities and how you execute your ideas, but if you’re able to identify these risks early and determine ways to tackle them, the chances are high that you will succeed. Only committed entrepreneurs can tolerate (and even enjoy) this chaos. For others, it is better to take smaller and calculated risk to avoid the larger pitfalls. I urge startups not to get paralysed by risk. They need to take counsel on how to mitigate these risks.

Know when to cut your losses

If your enterprise is failing, you must know when to cut your losses and make an exit. For struggling businesses, there will come a time when the entrepreneurs know that the business is not working as they intended it to. But you will have to take the tough decision. And move on. You’ll have to think about some exit strategy: you’ll have to think about selling your business at a proper price, shutting down your business or pivoting to change your business into something else.

*First Published in M&SVMAG

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Guest Monday, 23 October 2017