Student startups – good or bad?

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Startup is one notion which has primarily occupied the minds of the young blood these days. Consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or un-intentionally it has become the ultimate dream of most of smart, raring, go-getters in and around us. Overwhelming success stories of all such endeavors by great individuals have flooded the media, be it print or electronic. Inspired by them, everyday hundreds, or maybe thousands of individuals are starting their own ventures.

An intriguing observation is sudden increase in the inclination of the students towards startups. Plethora of reasons is quoted for treading this path. Some dream of being their own boss, some cherish working from home, some desire to prove their talent etc. But at their stage they are hardly aware that against one successful startup, at least ten, if not hundred fail in their quest. But these stories of hardships never come up in the media. Some dreams shatter in the beginning itself while some get washed away in the middle after a wonderful debut.
Let us take a look at some of the essential elements which play a key role in deciding the future of a startup.

1. Vision of startup- First and the foremost element is the vision statement. Any person or any company cannot survive in this competitive scenario, if it lacks a vision. It is essential to have a clear vision statement and equally indispensible is to stick to it. It requires a lot of experience & foresightedness to form the vision of your company. Students (not all), in their initial years may lack the skills required to set the right vision. It is always easier to set the ball rolling, but it is tough to keep the momentum going.

2. Scalability of the startup- One thing which most of the unsuccessful people ignore before going live with their startups is scalability. In customer driven market scenario it is very important that the business is scalable. One needs to plan well in advance, how he will grow vertically as well as horizontally & how, in order to remain in the market. Experience gained while working in an organization for some time can really help in gauging the right parameters for the growth of own business.

3. Right resources for right job– A very important aspect is resource selection and management. A software engineer may be excellent in coding and can produce exemplary results while working for own startup. But managing the finances, taxes etc. may not be his cup of tea. Selling a business is also a job which not everyone can perform within fixed timeframes. Sooner or later, one needs to hire people. Students may lack the skills in identifying the right resource, as they lack the experience in evaluating whether the aspirations of the resource would match the aspirations of the startup in the long run.

4. People Management- The power of a company lies in its people. It is very essential to manage the people of your company effectively. Students, in their young age are more enthusiastic & sometimes tend to lose patience. They would expect the same energy level from everyone who is a part of their company. But for a middle aged person, it might not be possible to match their ground. Sometimes ego clashes are also observed when a young person is leading a team consisting of members with grey hairs. These things need to be handled carefully, as every person of a company, is a prized resource. Older people might be slow in their approach, but with their wide experience, they always produce firm & sustainable solutions. One needs to understand the priorities and constraints of every employee & respect them.

5. List of Alternatives- Every good startup attracts at least ten persons to setup a similar venture. Gradually, they come close and start competing with yours. Though, the first mover advantage would still work for you, but eventually, the market share would come down. It is very much possible, that a smart person takes up your idea, processes it in a much better way, than you thought off and even leave your mark behind. To sustain the profitability, in such scenarios, it is essential that you always have your list of alternatives ready. For example- A startup which started with T-Shirt printing, can get into logo-design, poster design etc.

6. Law of the land- This is a very critical aspect to look before starting anything. As someone has said, “Ignorance of law is not an excuse.” One needs to check with the regulatory bodies, concerned authorities well in advance, in order to avoid any disputes at a later stage. Because anything against the law, or not in full compliance with law, would need to be rolled back. Ignorance with respect to this factor may also lead to cancellation of licenses, sentences etc.

7. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) – Before even thinking of starting a project, a company etc., you must ensure that he is not infringing the IPR of anyone. Everyday newspapers carry articles about Company A accusing Company B for stealing their IP. Settlement of such issues varies from paying heavy penalties to closing down the facilities. Equally important is to obtain IPR for one’s own idea or concept, by registering it with the concerned national and international agencies.

Listed above are some key points to remember, before starting your own venture. They are all indicative in nature and do not imply, that students cannot taste success while running their own startups. The world has witnessed some of the great startups run by students, started during their college years. A successful startup by a student would reflect a good decision, but an un-successful one cannot be always termed as a bad decision. Just like, there are various shades of grey present between black and white, startups also have successful, un-successful and not-so successful stories. Any company which is started with good intention, right means for right end, would be considered as good. The important thing is to sustain it in the long run.

In the end, it is the strong will & desire to succeed which makes a company successful, be it started by a student or an experienced person.

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2 Comments

  1. riya says:

    you are right rohit..very nice article for starters..for me too..

  2. Rohit says:

    Nice article..portrays a realistic picture to all those who dream of running a startup…

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