Step By Step Guidelines On Fundraising

May 15, 2018 in Startups

Planning is the key to success in every mission. This is very much true when it comes to fundraising. When you adopt a planned approach, you will find yourself more organized and achieve more than what is otherwise possible. It is important that you avoid the common mistakes done by many people seeking to raise venture capital. Here is a step by step guidelines on how to move forward with your fund raising campaign.

Step By Step Guidelines On Fundraising

Prepare a list

Creating a list of prospects is the first step to any fundraising campaign. Most VCs either do not do this or do it wrongly. It is most unlikely that you will approach only a limited number of people and be going about the task without a list in hand would be a mere waste of time.

Reorganize the list on a priority basis

When you rework on the list you have prepared, you will feel like moving the entries up or down depending on the priority you attach to the potential investor. Though the list can grow up indefinitely, it is good to have it as small as 15 organized based on priority and proceed with the list.

Sort out the investors

The next step is to sort out the potential firms into different segments to know who will be a good fit for you. Target the investors who might be willing to invest the amount you have in mind, not more or less. Do not target funds that are of higher value. Also focus on the industry of the investor, the geography and competitiveness before studying their past history of investments. This idea must give you a set of criteria to work with while sorting out the firms.

The underline

Always do remember that fund raising is like selling something. The investor is a kind of customer with funds at their disposal. Though they have money to spend, they can invest only in a handful of companies. It is hence essential for you to develop the approaches and strategies that will help win their trust. When the investors feel you are a smart and credible individual who can lead effectively and inspire others, they are most likely to take interest in investing in your venture.

Top Reasons Why Some Entrepreneurs Fail

May 7, 2018 in Startups

Looking at some top stories in which some entrepreneurs failed in their ventures, we understand that ideas alone do not pave a way to success. The people who implement the ideas are more important than just the good ideas. Hence we must say that execution is everything when it comes to success in entrepreneurship. In other words, failure is related to the flaws in execution. No one can start with the perfect idea. Nevertheless, success comes at the end following a long line of learning experiences, adjustments, good habits and collective efforts.

Top Reasons Why Some Entrepreneurs Fail

Top reasons for entrepreneurs to fail

Inability to understand what ‘hard work’ actually means

In entrepreneurship, we need to work with uncertainties. There is none in the world to give us a predefined set of syllabus or assignments to go about. You must be able to decide what and how you must do. Most entrepreneurs struggle with defining their measures and the shock of getting to know how much hard work these measures demand from them.

Not able to balance between patience and impatience
This is a very important quality that most entrepreneurs lack. You must know where to be patient and where not to be impatient. It is like showing the willingness to walk down the long road while being vigilantly ready to gallop when situations and luck permit.

Never identifying what they are good at
It is said, “Imitation is Human”. Most entrepreneurs go by what is popular than trying to unravel what they are good at. If you have to pursue something that does not come to you naturally, you will be naturally slowed down. Also, you fail to put your abilities and talents to good use.

Thinking of entrepreneurship as a solo sport
Some unsuccessful entrepreneurs are found unwilling to share their equity, workload or their network with others. Success in entrepreneurship does not come because of one person. You must find the right people and deliberate the tasks to them to stay more productive and successful in the long run.

Unwillingness to know what they do not know
It is natural that we do not know everything in life. However, willingness to know what we do not know but necessary to push our way forward is an essential quality that will make up successful entrepreneurs.

How Are Start Up Ideas Formed

April 21, 2018 in Startups

For a lot of people, championing a start-up is a dream career. Just graduating from an entrepreneurship program cannot put you right on track to found a start-up. Start-ups stem from an idea gradually maturing to perfection to ensure its profitability and sustainability. Here is the process of how start-ups are created.

Startup ideas

Steps to founding a start-up

Detect the shortfalls in the customer experience

This is perhaps the most important starting point of landing on a solid idea for a start-up. When people have complaints and inadequacies about a particular product, the points they lack in them becomes the reason to coin a new product that addresses their difficulties and help generate more sales and profits by assuring a superior customer experience. Frustration is an indication that the industry is getting ready for disruption and new ideas are highly welcome.

Identify the cause

When you come across a negative customer experience, look into the problem. Identify what cause is at the root of dissatisfaction and why the industry is not able to guarantee a satisfying consumer experience. Even failing to update to the new technology can be the cause of lingering disappointment in the customers. Once you identify the problem, decide if your startup can help fix it and bring about a better customer satisfaction.

Perfect the ideas

Spend the necessary time and effort to discover what is happening in the industry. In fact, a lot of other competitors could already be working on the issues and trying to discover some way out. Nevertheless, you can get to know if your idea can have enough value to bring about a start-up.

Learn from the mistakes

Often there are chances that you get discouraged spotting that a major player had not been able to implement something similar to your idea. However, this can as well be an encouraging sign. Large companies are great at what they do and hence they might lack innovation. They also often lag behind in investing in newer technology. Sparing the necessary efforts and learning from others’ mistakes can provide a clear path for you to move forward.

Find Pain to Build a Successful Business

March 30, 2018 in Startups

Why pain?

Well, if you could find pain, and then find a solution to alleviate that pain, you have a business opportunity. Whatever solution or service you will provide to lower or remove that pain will sell. It may have to do with a delivery, security, commuting, saving time, or whatever—if you could find a pain-point of people’s lives and can build a solution around it, you are up for a nice business experience.

Too many professionals want to leave their jobs and start doing something on their own; however, sustaining on a business is not easy if you don’t have an already-flourishing business in place. Establishing a new one takes time and money both—if you don’t have either or any of them, you can’t think of leaving your job.

However, if you have thought and are seriously making plans to start something on your own, think what troubles others or maybe yourself. Find a pain-point in the day-to-day life of the family members, friend-circle or the colleagues.

Figure out if there is a solution for that pain. If yes, figure out can you build something more efficient, cheaper or better? If no, figure out the solution—everything else can be done later on.

Once you have built a new or a better solution, start promoting your solution through your close-ones before you could take the initiative of leaving your job. Remember, your product or service may fail and may face problems that you might not have foreseen—it is always better to test it with actual users before betting your future on it.

If you feel there is a demand or want of your product and you can scale the market for the same, you can go to launch yourself fully as an entrepreneur and even look for funding etc. to scale your product or service. Before that, it is always better to stick to your job and continue evolving into a better strategist.

How to Invest In the Power of Networking for Your Business

March 18, 2018 in Startups

The new digital age has blessed businesses with several sophisticated avenues to grow. Networking is one of those rarest blessings that help businesses reach out those targeted customers in a highly effective way. However, one downside to networking is you must avoid looking like spam to your potential buyers since too many people have spoiled the reputation of networking through their spamming activities. Here are a few tips adopted by some successful entrepreneurs to make the best use of networking.

Evoke curiosity

Understand the needs of your target group. Innovate ways to support their ventures and show that you care for them. Those who were benefitted by you will invariably support you as well b turning your loyal customers.

Contribute your knowledge

Give the best of your stuff, which can be useful and valuable to the people. Your knowledge and generosity can move people. Some might come back with a keen interest to buy more from you. While selling a product, you can throw insights on the problems that will make the buyers go for it.

Real relationships will pay you

When you achieve creating good relationships, people will come forward to support you and will turn your supporters in the long run. Keep them updated about your brand, its progress, and welcome people to invest in your firm. Real relationships can pay you in a big way.

Unlock the human element in you

For most successful entrepreneurs, their business is the 100 percent outcome of their network. When they build successful networks, they will not have to spam their audience, boost up their posts, run ads or hire an agency to promote their business. Treat every person in your network with respect. When you make them feel you are a good human, they understand you are capable of something big and bring you more business.

Are you really a startup? Introspect!

February 6, 2018 in Startups

If you have been working in the modern world that is abuzz with words like ‘disruption,’ ‘unicorn,’ ‘marketing strategy,’ and obviously ‘startup,’ you must have some confusion about the real meaning of these terms.

Almost all the youngsters graduating from various professional courses are excited about starting a ‘startup’ and calling themselves ‘entrepreneurs’ instead of engineers, doctor, advocates, or even financial analysts. I see a lot of people who even take up their father’s place in a grocery shop and start editing their social media profiles and declaring their occupation as ‘running a startup’. There is nothing wrong in that, but it often becomes misleading, because the industry wants to focus on businesses or ideas that could bring change and actual disruption. You could become a successful small business or a company, but till you do something impactful that could bring change to the lives of the people, you are not a ‘startup.’

Being a ‘startup,’ you will need guidance, mentorship, and financial support so that VCs, Angels, and even the whole community could offer their expertise, lend their help, and also support you in your journey. If any ‘startup’ becomes successful, more often than not, it will help many people and eventually changes the way the world works or even bring a new habit that is adopted by many people. Consider the way we connect with each other, and how social media startups have changed our way of sharing our moments with each other. Consider how we are now less prone to buy cars and to think of hiring on-call taxis. Consider how home-stays are becoming popular instead of luxurious hotels.

Entrepreneurship involves a lot of hustle and taking the world head-on because eventually, you want to change the way the world works, but it has to be meaningful and impactful—simply calling yourself a ‘startup’ would not mean anything, and you won’t gain anything by declaring your occupation as ‘running a startup’.

Can Customer Feedbacks Stop the Product Death Cycle?

January 23, 2018 in Startups

The stories of almost all the successful businesses are often familiar, though the industry that they operate in may differ, and even the size may differ. There is an undercurrent of development and ultimately decline paths that they share and also the business trends that run common.

As a business manager or an owner of a business, you must have heard about the term ‘product death cycle.’ After peaking in your business, the demand for your products slows down, and you take feedback from your existing customers to make it more appealing till the market dies down completely.

The crucial question is: “Can asking customers to provide feedback about what features they would like to have in your product actually save your product?”

The answer is ‘no’.

You will end up spending your precious time and resources on creating or infusing new features in your product but there would be hardly any upward change in the demand.

What can be done?

The situation demands to go back to your start point. What did you do ab initio to make your business successful? What was the factor that set you apart from your competition? What did you offer to your customers that they could not stop buying your product?

Draw those strategies and methods on a paper and compare them to what you are missing in the current scenario.

Don’t focus too much on the current set of your customers—think what you can do to capture new customers. Maybe, think it as a new life cycle for the product.

Always be ready to adopt innovation and change. If you are not ready to adopt change, you are staring point-blank at the disaster. A few patches here and there and some cosmetic fixes might not do the trick for you. Think afresh and start with the same zeal that made you successful at the beginning of your business.

Why Family and Friends Might Not be your Ideal First Customers?

January 8, 2018 in Startups

At the beginning of the business, it is very crucial for any startup to find the real customers—the first customers, who would care to adopt their product, services, etc. However, almost every startup has an approved and accepted policy to believe that friends and family members are the ideal first clients, and they do not need to search and acquire real customers in the beginning.

Well, this is not the ideal situation. You can have family and friends use your product or services, but you should always try to reach out to the early adopters in a proactive manner.

Why? Here are some reasons:

  1. The real customers will be ideal to test your product or service in the real-world scenario. They will tell you whether you are ready for market launch or not and whether the product or service provides a real value to the user for which he/she would be willing to pay or spend the required time.
  2. Whether you are in the stealth mode or don’t want your competitors to know about you, you can isolate yourself from being in the market. Sooner or later, the word will spread—it is better to be a leader in the product or service launch.
  3. Whether they invested or not, whether they are the target market or not, it is always good to have some real customers test your product or service. The feedback from your family and friends could be biased. Have you seen businesses paying mystery shoppers for a feedback that does not have any bias and gives them insights that are so valuable to the business?
  4. Reaching out to some initial clients will also know the demographics and kind of customers that will be willing to adopt your product or service. Pick a target of maybe 500-1000 initial customers and take feedback—work on that feedback and then launch your product/service on a larger scale.

Your family and friends may be your target audience, but it always makes sense to have unknown people as your first clients because their behavior and attitude towards your product/service would encourage you and provide you valuable inputs for future strategic decisions and policy.

The Minimal Requirements of a Functional Tech Startup

January 4, 2018 in Startups

Depending upon the nature of the business, every business unit or a startup would have a different kind of requirements to run an office. But in most of the early-stage tech startups, few main activities are being focused on writing code or designing hardware, etc. So, keeping these two activities in sight, we are listing items and facilities that will be required on a minimal basis for such startups to be functional:

  1. Computers/Laptops: For a great hard-core coding experience, you need to have very sustainable computers or laptops as per the preference of the team, and also multiple monitors.
  2. High-speed Internet: It should not be a requirement even because it is like breathing. If you don’t have a high-speed wi-fi and wired internet facility, you are not running a tech startup. Start doing vegetables instead!
  3. Tables or Desks & Chairs: To make sure the team is provided with the most suitable, ergonomically suitable and comfortable desks and chairs for long-hour work, you need to set a special budget. There is no excuse for this!
  4. Whiteboards: Whiteboards are almost indispensable in a tech startup.
  5. Phones: Though initially personal smartphones of the team members will fill in the place, but as you grow, you will need to go for desk phones.
  6. Software: Depending upon the type of work your startup does, you will need related software tools to make sure every team member is technologically enabled.
  7. Food/Pantry: Never underestimate the power and attraction of a good pantry and snacks in a tech startup regarding attracting great talent and also making sure that you are a considerate employer. It is referred to as one of the highlights in the job descriptions posted on various job boards.

Apart from these fundamental requirements, there would be others too that may vary according to geography, culture, personal interest and passion, and also on the habits of the team members.