Startups are a company that root up with an idea having various infrastructural shape and size, some starts in a bedroom and some in a co-working space. But, we need to analyse the word “startup” before we call each and every company a startup. At Nescode, primarily we interact with startup founders, most of them used to be in between an age group of 20 years to 50 years. Some startup founders start at a very early age as they are focussed since their education days and are passionate enough to work towards achieving it while, some of them gain experience from their work and most importantly their experience. This shows that, there is no particular age limit set for people to come with an innovative idea and bring it under execution setting benchmarks and shaping up into great entrepreneurs.
To make it evolve as a startup, it’s important to understand the dynamics of it and driving forces. From conceptualization to making it succeed, it’s so critical that one can’t be pointed off to the side and hope to reach the goal. The first and foremost process should be to identify a problem statement and approach with which you will be solving it. Without a problem statement, calling a newly formed company as a startup doesn’t stand justified. In India, Karnataka(one of the state of India) alone marks the registration of almost sixty companies each day. Most of them include service businesses like restaurants, barbershops, plumbers and so on. These doesn’t satisfy the criteria to avail the startup status, except in a few exceptional case since they do try to solve the same problem statement with new approach. A restaurant stands different from a software company because of the various ethical and geographical factors. From competitive point of view as well, a barbershop will have a competition with another barbershop in the same area i.e., restricted to a particular area whereas, a software development company probably will be competing globally.
Most of the people are tempted to start a startup than any ordinary business. People always think let’s start a company type with the fullest potential. The catch is, market is spread across the globe that,even if you sell a safety pin, underlying market equation is so deep and complex that it is nearly impossible to figure out what will work and what not. But to be on realistic side, let’s say if you start a software development company to write a software to translate Hindi to English speaking person, you will face tremendous competition than teaching tamil to hindi speaking person. We believe a startup company will make significant impact only if they can address the larger problem statement.
We haven’t even reached 10% of our goal in the last seven years of journey therefore, we are not qualified enough to make any statement but, sharing an opinion may make sense. Essentially, successful founders come with certain itch and start just like a kid by collecting building blocks, makes several unsuccessful attempt to build something, fails miserably but never gives up. It needs an extra-ordinary skill and patience to build team like George Clooney’s Ocean’s series movie. Needless to mention, in a materialistic world, “show me the money” factor comes into picture in every meeting you attend and that's the bottomline.
No matter how skilled you are and your pocket size is, you are going to struggle. This is how the entrepreneurship architecture is designed, latitude and longitude of struggle may differ for people, but you are bound to. As per Ministry of Corporate Affairs(India) data, approximately 60% companies are getting shutdown after one year. Another 30% between 2nd to 3rd years of their journey, remaining 10% companies used to be on the ground. And if you meet their founders, struggles of their journey make them philosopher and then they start enjoying the journey rather than the results.
Now the question comes, what makes them successful? It’s a myth that they solve unique problems. In reality, their approach used to be unique, they see things as they really are. It needs a different magnitude of practice and thought to know the “self” to connect appropriately with the external world. They connect so beautifully with external world that it creates an aura thereby, like they are made for each other, and essentially external world is an extension of self. To be a successful founder, the very first quality needed is to translate the people and object as they really are and make a fine balance between them.
Most of the startups run a hiring campaign, shortlist people and then they start training them to achieve a desired result without knowing the limit of people’s flexibility and agility. It means that without knowing the agility of people to get transformed, startups roll up their sleeve to transform people to execute certain job. That is the starting point of disagreement between people and company and that is the reason attrition rate in startups are much higher than the enterprises.
One of the biggest outcome of setting up startups is contributing towards entrepreneurship. Providing job opportunities to people stands unique in itself. What is required is to make a successful collaboration in terms of organizing the resources and placing them at appropriate places and getting the best out of their capabilities. This approach provides the resources with an opportunity to grow in their career field and also the organization yield better efficiency. Needless to be mentioned, the hiring campaign should be a prime focus for the startups as it would essentially depend on the people how they take it forward.
21st century startup is all about making a connection between ideas, technology and market where you are going to make a proposition. Rapid change in an area uncovers big, soluble problems in other and sometimes changes are so advanced that it changes the solubility. Considering all these uncertainties, startups make a projection of their results on the basis of their unique approach to solve existing problem therefore, starting a startup is at first no more than a declaration of one’s ambitions. And when you are along with a team on a journey of fulfilling ambitions, then you should rather focus on journey than the desired results. If a journey is refined and well balanced, certainly your startup will reach its goal. If you are neither enjoying the journey nor reaching a goal, it means you haven’t figured out what you are doing exactly and what you actually want to do. What is going to build a startup is its journey, not goals or growth rates.
Startups should focus on building a sustainable value within an ecosystem where they operate and market they sell than anything else. Rest will fall in place automatically. It is the values that play a role in the long run. A team bound by values would stand firm all throughout the journey unshattered.
Irrespective of situation, startups should chart out a comprehensive strategy & planning to pickup a growth rate they think. One liner strategies should be - Always plan for long term and execute for a shorter goal. In many ways, growth is very important thing to keep the motivation, if startups are missing the growth then its better to sit and analyse and take required measures. What we mean by measuring the growth rate is, through revenue. The fascinating thing about optimizing for growth is let’s say you are able to maintain an optimum growth rate over a period of time, you may end up with altogether a different company than you meant to start. And most importantly, money shouldn’t be an inherent goal for an entrepreneur, it should come as a side effect of passion.
World’s biggest tech leaders like Google, Apple and Infosys carry an inspiring story for all the aspiring entrepreneurs. They started from small spaces with almost negligible resources and today, they have made a mark in this world. This is due to the strategic planning and implementation they did with a thorough understanding of the market, needs and people. They also emphasize on people’s growth as they have a fair idea that only these human resources if kept inline would fetch in reaching the goals.
It is always advisable to follow the constraint wherever it leads rather than being influenced by some vision that looks like a fantasy for a shorter period. Richard Feynman said once - Imagination of nature was greater than the imagination of man, he meant that if you just keep following the truth you will discover much better things than you could ever have made up. We consider value to be the most important thing whether you are building yourself or an organization.
A startup will lead to a direction only when it is driven by a value. The purpose and value should be well thought from people, culture, investor, research and social responsibilities side. Value and purpose should be the most important component of a startup, reason being that, even the person who is going to join or an investor who will be taking a decision of investment won’t do until and unless they find any value.
Startup and entrepreneurship is all about change, and it depends upon unreasonable people who aims for revolutionary success and have the courage to fail and stand tall even when they fail. A startup idea can nurture only on the risk, therefore, to march and measure a success sometime you may have to disagree with conventional wisdom, feel free to disagree with respect. In a journey what should be most important is the people you connect than anything else. Whether you succeed or fail in a journey, what will set you apart is the courage to travel through all the odds and even. Be the one that even if you fail, people remember you with their head high.