7 Advices from a serial entrepreneur Mr. Gaurang Agrawal

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1. Name your Startup very carefully

  • Due diligence has to be done while naming your startup
  • Name of the Startup will give a hint about “what” product / services you are offering / for whom you are offering
  • If you will name your startup in rush or the name is unrelated to business, chances are there that you will make prospective clients confused which can be brand deteriorating

 

2. Focus on niche market

  • If you are bootstrapping or looking for faster growth rate then as per my experience, growth rate in niche business is higher than the generic one. As you are already focussing on an audience which can relate to you & you will be more approachable.
  • Also it’s a specialized product / service that you are offering where competitors will be lesser and more generic ( many of the times ).
  • When you are offering multiple services in multiple domains i.e. product offering is generic, growth rate will be very less or linear for quite a long ( assuming same kind of situations in case of niche business like same marketing budget ).

 

3. Never Run out of Cash

  • When you bootstrap, you will always have limited money to sustain for limited period of time.
  • You should work your *** off to achieve what you want to achieve. You must hustle, meet more people, explore the geography , talk to everyone about it, talk to media guys ( for might get free PR, maybe ) , reiterate the business plan ( read as pivoting ), get feedback from prospective users, research more, know what exactly doing are you doing, and do almost everything you can possibly do.
  • Consequences – If you won’t maintain a momentum then you will end up with practically no money in bank account and you will be starving so will your baby startup and team ( if you have one ).

 

4. Documentations

  • Document Agreements – Documentations are critical for any human being such that it has to become a behavior.
  • Why ? Because if in case you get into verbal agreement and the other party happens to be more powerful than you, then it will haunt you like how ugly witch does ( although I am not sure how bad the latter would be but it will certainly be scary like hell ).
  • Be on safer side, Document every agreement, keep copies of them, preserve them. Always have exit clauses and liability constraints. Clause to have Future increment in costs ( due to unforeseen circumstances ) would be advisable since clients get choosy sometimes & you never know what can be encountered.
  • Document Processes – Document every minute details of all the processes you have in your startup. Why ? Because you won’t like to repeat briefngs to your staff again and again. You can have SOPs ( Standard Operating Procedures ) for different departments to ensure smooth and streamlined functioning and to track the progress efficiently.

 

5. Have minimum commitment time with your startup –

  • When you start-up, stick with it for “well-defned” & realistic time dedicatedly. If you will keep on working on multiple startups simultaneously then chances of being successful in any of them will be so small that you better leave all of ’em now.
  • Startup is a baby, and your startup is yours baby. It needs to be raised with extreme care. You need to raise one for a few years so that the baby can grow and walk on his foot. This is how you will gain experience which you can replicate. If you will try raising 5 babies at once, then you will be surrounded with lots of noise, shit, diapers and everything will fall apart.
  • Master art of raising startup by successfully raising at least one ( at a time ).

6. Choose carefully your Co-founders

  • I started multiple startups with multiple founders. And the process was maddening. We are human beings and human beings are egoistic, afraid of risks, expects returns from zero investment ( eh ! )
  • When you are choosing your co-founders give stress on : their vision and synergies you can fnd while working together.
  • Quite often, great buddies make bad partners so document every clauses carefully to create boundary between personal life and professionalism.
  • It’s advisable to have co-founders expert in different skill sets than you. Why ? Since you are startup, you will be having limited capita. Having co-founders good in another skill set will add more value to business than having multiple resources having same skill sets.
  • 1. There might be times, when you want someone to come on board but due to some reason he/she couldn’t invest. For that matter, you need to understand concept of sweat equity which is a bit complicated, more than the conventional equity division process.
    2. Negotiate well ( for equity, of course ! )
    3. Don’t give away equity at once, have clause of granting of equity on yearly basis. It will increase dedication from the side of co-founders.

7. Seek Help

  • There might be times when you will need help. don’t think too much over it. approach someone who you think can help. Help should be seeked.
  • We are human beings, and we need help. ( Source : Vampire Diaries ! )
  • For that matter, you want me to help, I am a click away ( on my website ).
  • I hope this will help you understand why things don’t work ( at times ) and hopefully won’t repeat these mistakes.

 

Complementary Advice: Naming & Branding

  • A good name with strategic branding can be very powerful.
  • Ask 6 out of 10 people in India about what’s Kingfsher and they will immediately reply “ beer / airlines “. While it’s a bird.
  • Strong branding changes the meaning of a word for public.
  • It also triggers different emotions ( we will get to it later on. )

About Gaurang:

Gaurang Agrawal , Self professed linux guru, writer ( fantasy-business-life ) , entrepreneurship zealot ( founder of beingskilled.com , bharat’s history enthusiast , curator of books , food connoisseur from New Delhi .
To him Richard Branson ( of Virgin ), Larry Ellison ( of Oracle ) , Amancio Ortega ( of Zara ) [ Zara being my favourite ] are truly an inspiration and I follow them quite religiously .
Hispast and existing associations include IEEE (USA) , ACM (USA), Opera , Firefox , Art of Living , ISKCON .

If you need any help, he can be contacted at:

  • e-mail : gaurang@gaurang.me
  • Blog : gaurang.me
  • linkedin : http://in.linkedin.com/in/gaurangagrawal3
  • twitter : @igaurangagrawal

 

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3 Comments

  1. pralayasimha yedida says:

    wow helpful for every new startup. i want start home made service startup. can you guide regarding this

  2. M N Singh, Pitampura, New Delhi says:

    I appreciate your 7 advices for entrepreneurship convinced me to start a e-business. I will seek your help to have a start ? Will you guide me?

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