Starting a Start Up

What should be the top 5 focus areas for a small start up, especially one that has no initial funding?

Having been involved with a few startups, and still learning, three surely come to mind.

  1. Cash Focus - managing your cash has to be of supreme importance, just doing things because you have the money to do it, isn’t the best idea. So one needs to establish a model quickly, create services which help you generate enough cash.

  2. People - as always finding people can be very tricky, even if you hire someone based on a promise of growth. Frustration can quickly develop within a few months of being with each other.

  3. Low Cost Prototyping - you have to figure out how to test your business or service or product, quickly and cheaply. Spending all your money to bring your idea to life only to learn the market isnt ready, is a recipe for failure.

Here is a nice article about the importance of operational efficiency for startups, not just the bootstrapped ones.

A great article by professor at Insead. Perhaps a small set of people dedicated to the future in an organization, with serious support from the top, is very important.

A great team is necessary for a startup, here is a well articulated article on the importance of founding team.

A good article on why startups should not focus excessively on the cultural fit aspect, especially for senior level employees.

once worked with a startup that wanted to hire a new VP of engineering. When I asked the CEO what he was looking for in a candidate, he said, “Someone who can play the drums.” (This CEO happened to be learning the drums at the time.) He was dead serious.

This may sound like a crazy, off-the-wall request, but it highlights a surprisingly common problem in recruiting. I work with startups all the time who say they need someone with the skills and experience to help them scale their company and take it to the next level, business-wise. But when it actually comes time to interview candidates, they’re completely – and myopically – focused on cultural issues instead.

Here is an article on keeping the focus of your product and service in a niche area initially and scaling just that.

Ratan Tata, and what he looks at when investing in a company.

Here is the journey of Wingify, one of the most successful bootstrapped startups

Some comments from Yumist, a food startup which shutdown recently.

Here is the blog posted by the company -

Found the below quote to be interesting.

“We failed to raise the kind of capital that this business required while staying true to the customer problem. In hindsight, there’s a bunch of internal and external factors that led us to this dead end,” said the company in a blog post.

“From launching in a second city prematurely, or committing to a high growth, high burn model just because prospective investors wanted to see that back in 2015, or taking a tad bit too long to find the right business model, we made our mistakes. We learnt from these mistakes and recovered fast, but maybe not too fast,” it added.

Here are some lessons from non-tech people about successful startups. The article is written very passionately, a good read.

VC’s are no longer lending money that easily

India is the third-largest start-up hub in the world, according to industry group Nasscom. It saw a peak in funding in 2015 when close to $6 billion was invested in new companies, according to research company Venture Intelligence.

A nice article about legalities of starting a startup

How best to reward and retain employees, a great perspective.

Entrepreneurship is risky, and the odds are rarely stacked in favour. It is a known fact that close to 99 percent of startups fail, and for one to remain in the limelight, it is important to plan and prepare from the word ‘go’.

In most cases, it is a ‘founder’s mindset’, and emotional quotient (EQ) that determines whether she or he can attract investments, the right people, and understand the market. Everything boils down to intrinsic and internal factors that are closely associated with the entrepreneur.

Came across this interesting offering by Codesign Labs, a full-service digital platform providing the branding, graphic design, content creation, mobile and web development services for start-ups, introduced new product –Power Deck, a one stop destination that fulfils all presentation design need of a start-up.

Read more at:

Here is another article that is insightful.

Some advice from the founder of Duolingo

2 traits he honed - from the CEO of Burger King