8 Must-knows About Starting A Business!
Viral Thakker, Founder of online marketplace eBZaar.com shares useful nuggets, fun experiences and learnings from his entrepreneurship journey.
Big question - do you really need an office right away?
We started out in a dilapidated flat for the first four months – with compliments from a friend. However, as soon as we hired few professionals, we bought a office that could sit 35 or more people; leased for three years. But the change wasn’t proportionate. Building a business takes time. Taking up a larger office as need grows is a lot easier than spending a bomb on a dreamy large office.
Building a team: It does a world of good if you have co-founder(s) or a team of equally passionate people from Day One. There are only two or three ways to ensure this. One, reach out to your college and friends circle and seek our people as motivated as you (the founder)personality that is charismatic enough to sell the larger vision, leverage this and get talented people attracted to your venture.
Three, pay them market salaries (which can be expensive). While this has been the single most difficult challenge, we refuse to give up, and in the interim, we have had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people, albeit in a limited and need-based manner.
The importance of reference checks: Getting good qualified vendors to do the job, at economical budgets, will not be easy. Every time we worked through a preferred vendor/ person /service provider, we faced zero issues. Every other time when we buckled under pressure and rushed to get things done, we suffered major issues.
It can cause loss of money and worse still,loss of time if delivery does not come through. Beyond that, ask the person a lot of questions and you will be able to figure out if the vendor is professional or not.
Convince anyone you have to convince before taking that first step: Entrepreneurship is difficult. In fact I am not sure which is more difficult - this journey, or climbing Mt Everest! You will need a lot of support, motivation and courage to be on this journey.
It sounds funny now, but on the insistence of a family member, I even went to the extent of going to a Panditji to get the lines on my palms read, so that I have a complete buy-in. Start preparing your friends and family beforehand to get their support, too.
About that first step - it is the most difficult!
Because it often involves leaving your job or saying ‘No’ to a placement offer, if you are in college. It was over one of the many walks and talks with a friend where I was convinced by her – to quit and take that first step. Though once you have taken that first step, it will look like the easiest step or everything after that will be like an uphill task!
As for me, working to build a product/ prototype while being at work, then quitting just at the right time, does not work, though many people advise this. I have one simple mantra - give 100% if you are serious. A startup is a fulltime job!
Ask for help: There’s no need to be shy. Talk to friends or attend networking events . Right from hiring the first senior employee to getting our third office, which helped us reduce cost by 70% - it has all come about by askinghelp from friends as well as strangers. I consider myself an introvert.
I cannot distribute business cards to 100 people at a conference or a networking event, but when I give out 10 cards to 10 people, I ensure that I cultivate those relationships, show genuine interest in knowing them, and in asking for help without being hesitant about it.
Don’t hesitate to try the crowdfunding approach: It’s not always about the money. Crowdfunding is our way of reaching out to the crowd, to garner support for our mission and cause. To get visibility. To have another another shot at explaining our mission and cause to thousands of people. You can check out our campaign here.
Always keep your sales hat on: Once you take the plunge, start up, remember you are selling your startup, your story all the time. At events, family and friendly gatherings, at conferences, in one-on-one meetings – every single place. Sometimes openly and at other times subtly.
You have to be obsessed about it. Eat, drink, sleep it. Because you are pitching to customers, investors, vendors, prospective employees, service providers and everyone else. By this I don’t mean to discourage taking out time for yourself or having fun. Just keep your antennae on alert
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