Random tips for early stage startup founders

These are some random things that ran into my mind within 2 hours of time. Most are subjective but has meaning. I am no startup guru and I am among same group of people to whom this tips is useful but somehow I wrote what I thought of.  I guess it will be helpful at some extent.

1. Entrepreneur vs Businessman : Always remember you aren’t businessman. You are entrepreneur. Don’t contract traits of businessman (bias towards decision-making management vs execution, life with leisure/luxury, Too corporate ). Entrepreneur are quite different from usual businessmen or corporate honchos. Don’t dream about being one. 

2. Save Money :  Work out of home as far as possible. Work in cheap space. Starups don’t need to flaunt office address.  Don’t hire employee until its absolutely necessary. Multi-task. Save on payrolls. Explore options, find free tools instead of expensive software. Consider giving sweat equity to smart guy instead of hefty salary. 

3. Get your hands dirty:  Most people (  management exec, techie or businessmen) have specific role in their profession. Entrepreneurs don’t have. Wash dishes if you have to. Put it this way. Think about what you want ? and then ask what needs be done for that?  Do it then. Whether you like doing that or not is ir-relevant. Think it this way: once in my life I hated programming but I found passion in doing it because that’s what I must have done. I repaired computer hardware, Cut and fitted network cable, Did filthy system settings when I had to, did data entry work to make thing work in my startup. Never say it’s not part of my duties. When doing startup, founders have no specific duties. 

4. Family, friends and fun can wait: See if you aren’t spending too much time behind your family and friends. Its  fine. There will be time. Startups can’t wait (They are either quick or they aren’t at all. They are never slow). Its lot said “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”  It sounds good but doesn’t make sense. I have experienced personally. Ideally you should work 12 hrs a day on average. Weekends aren’t for entrepreneurs. (Anyway how much time your spend on your startup , depends on how much you love doing it , how much desperate you are for success/wealth and how far you already have succeeded )

5. Use tool to be effective: Use personal information management tool to make life easier for you in your busy messy work. Use good  documentation, communication, schedule , collaboration & customer relation management tools. It saves lot time and makes you more productive. 

6. Sell better: Sell yourself initially.  As a founder its your job to get early customer. It gives you lot more insight into customer’s business and the problem they are facing and what you are missing. When selling, your objective is to solve prospect’s problem not converting into customer. When you solve his/her problem he will convert himself. Don’t be monotonic and dry sales guy.

7.  Stay away form being delusional : Most time when you have idea you tend to be biased to judge it as Eureka. Nothing is wrong being negative at that time. Find 100 reason why it sucks. Then try to eliminate those reasons by finding solutions. Don’t be stupefied by  startups glamor industry and news of funding,  valuation and acquisitions. Never forget the reason and goal of existence of your startup is it solves some problem faced by the world. So don’t get excited and fascinated by valuation, funding and %. If your idea won’t solve problems, it all will fall like castle of card. 

8. Startups can’t be arrogant: Corporate and enterprises could be arrogant to prospect by not going extra mile to satisfy their personal need. But startup needs to over-promise. When you early customer needs something, over-promise. You can’t afford to be arrogant and run away from table. Over promise and then over-deliver. 

9. Take risk:  Your family is against you. Your friends have steady career. Your socioeconmical credibility is degrading. But hey relax. Its adventure in risking it. There are very few souls like you who can do it. Its sets you apart from others. Leave your job if you have to. Sell you car to build initial concept. After all this is where enjoyment lies. Risk. Adventure. When you will succeed, you will be so much satisfied for not being lame duck. 

Sorry for mistakes/blunders. Comments always welcome.