7 Can’t Miss Tips for Weaving Your Success Story
[Tweet “In a start-up, absolutely nothing happens unless you make it happen. – Marc Andreessen”]
It is up to you as a founder to arise to the challenges you face. You need to do whatever it is that needs to be done, at any given moment, to push your venture forward. In short, you need to be the cog that keeps the machine, your start-up, running.
When establishing a start-up, more than your skill-set, it is your passion and interest that counts. It is your communication skills, propensity for hard-work, ability to work in a team and capacity to be self-driven, that matters more.
As the days go by, the journey is only going to get tougher, but you still need to keep going. When the coffers run low, instead of panicking or bringing things to a halt, you need to devise ingenious ways to keep going forward.
It is when faced with moments like this that you will realise the importance of the other things you require more than just the tech related skills.
What follows are activities that people starting tech companies should start doing and integrating into their regular routines to be successful.
Getting Started: The Daily Routine
Creating something of value requires persistent concentrated effort over extended periods of time.
The best way to do this is to establish a fixed routine in which you make consistent forward progress day by day.
You need to develop a solid work ethic; figure out what needs to be done on a day to day, moment to moment basis to push your ideas forward and make progress.
In the heavy weight tech companies, a well-established software development process already exists.
And it is getting this routine going that can get challenging when starting-up.
The technology space is huge and there is a lot of opportunity that exists.
But to do something of value, you really need to be focused and work on it over a prolonged period of time.
Study the Players
Refining your ideas, learning skills and establishing a routine to get all the work done are all a part and parcel of getting your start-up going.
So, until you have a clear vision of your goal and the path to take to achieve it, study other start-ups.
Be extremely methodical about this. Read TechCrunch, VentureBeat and other leading news websites. Study interesting start-ups that are coming up. Look at the problems that these start-ups are trying to solve.
Know how they make money and attract customers. Discern the effectiveness and simplicity of the solutions they offer. Recognize the tools or platforms they use to build their service.
Over time, as you do this, you start getting a sense of their culture- how they look, how they behave and also, what it takes to make a successful internet start-up.
As you acquaint yourself with the landscape, you will start getting clued-in to what you need to do to get a rational offering into that mix, an offering that will also attract investors.
Technology is forever developing, forever changing. Learning, thus becomes an ongoing process to keep up with the accelerated pace at which technology grows.
There are always new languages, new frame-works, and new standards coming out that you need to learn to be able to create the best breed of available tech applications.
It’s also important to not get attached to a certain way of doing things; instead be flexible and adaptable.
Today, there are plenty of options and resources available to anyone with the desire to learn.
Another way to prepare yourself is to check out popular Open Source projects- run through tutorials, read the code and see how they work.
These are invaluable resources which help you build the skill-set needed to effectively build your start-up.
Write a Blog
Write extensively about your experiences, especially in your early days when you are not on a deadline.
Everything you discover, insights you have, ideas they generate, people you connect with are all valuable.
They increase your legitimacy in the online world and establish credit. This will in turn help you put your start-up on the map when you are ready.
Also, when you write routinely, you start to look at the problems you experience as opportunities to make the world a better place by sharing the solutions you find.
Each problem you face becomes a learning experience; the research you do to figure out the problem generating useful knowledge.
If you are a tech entrepreneur establish a routine of professional software development. Get into the habit of actually writing software in a team.
This is something that education in school does not prepare you for but you nevertheless have to cultivate.
It is also crucial that you go slow in the beginning and concentrate instead on doing things right.
Put extra effort into making your code look good, doing testing and getting your entire process just right.
Gradually, when the pressure builds and you need to manage time between handling clients, meeting investors and keeping deadlines, shortcuts are inevitable.
Also, start with something simple. Then move on to working on complex, cool and exciting things. Finally, you can shift towards going after a market and coming up with your business model.
When getting started, another extremely useful activity is looking at using some of the web services that help you make money.
This activity is useful for a variety of reasons. One is, you get the experience of using top-tier professional websites and the tech applications behind it.
It also earns you a little bit of money and gets you familiar with a number of interesting professional opportunities that might come out of it.
Keep aside a day or two in a week where you put in consistent effort to establish yourself and grow in the process.
But avoid the sort of services trap where you sign up to make a website for somebody that needs continuous maintenance and upgrades.
The best thing about these online testing applications is that the tests are short and require no ongoing commitments.
Eventually though, keep doing less of this and focus more on building something.
But this is a good activity to do to keep yourself busy, bring in some money and get some experience while you are formulating your ideas and learning the skills that you will need.
The entrepreneurial journey is a long one. Mark Zuckerberg making a billion dollars in his first 5 years out of college is a one-off example.
Much more common is that one spends years building something good and reasonably successful and then repeating the process again.
Along with establishing a solid work ethic and routine, it is also important to establish a routine which keeps you healthy, where you have fun and hang out with the people you like, doing things you enjoy.
Since you are your own boss, create a lifestyle in which you work hard but one that also leaves you the space and time to have fun and enjoy your life.
This post is based on a talk by Freeman Murray, founder of ‘StartupSchool.in’ and ‘Jaaga.in’. You can find a recording of the session here. The talk was originally targeted at tech entrepreneurs. However we sure that even non tech folks will find these tips to be valuable.