Like Reid Hoffman rightly said, “Running a startup is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down”
The journey is invariably one hell of a ride but ask those who have undertaken it and they will say that it was worth every bit of the efforts, pain, excitement and what not.
In this blog, I will try and put forward seven commandments for Entrepreneurship, compiled based on my knowledge, experience and insights so far.
- Never start with the cushion of an ongoing PlanB. This will come in the way of giving it your best. Have faith in your abilities, take the plunge. Make a plan which will give you a one year runway at the least. You can always get back to jobs in case what you set out for does not work.
- Choose the charter of the Venture aligned to your strengths. Your best chances of making it successful will be when you are venturing into a combination of stuff that you are good at, stuff that you love to do and stuff that someone will be willing to pay for.
- Focus is extremely critical to the success of any venture. I have seen so many startups struggle with running a product and services offering strategy in parallel or running two products in early stages. It rarely works. The best approach is to Spot a market arbitrage and then focus and pivot the offerings around that. Steve Jobs was famous for staying laser-focused on things that he wanted to accomplish and saying no to distractions.
- For product ventures, finding anchor customers is so critical during your early stages. There will be some give and take in terms of fine-tuning the features towards suiting this customer but it is well worth it given the leverage it will have in the product journey.
- It takes 10000 hrs of deliberate practice to become world-class in any field. While this originates from the theory of mastering any skill, this is 100% true for startups as well. There are no shortcuts in entrepreneurship. Sanjay Mehta of 100X.vc has written an excellent article on 1000-day-survival-guide-startups.
- Run a tight ship. Stay Lean, Mean, Frugal. This is so critical as it provides you with the leeway to invest in growth.
- A company is only as good as the people it keeps. In a brain-based economy, people are your best assets. Only by attracting the best people will you achieve great deeds. Trading equity for adding exceptional talent to your team is always a good option. Look at lesson #8 from Gen Colin Powell’s leadership primer which I so admire.
I hope all the budding entrepreneurs find this useful….eager to learn more about your thoughts and comments….
In future posts, I will be elaborating on some of these areas with examples….
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.