It was not unlikely, even today like every other day in the past two years, I woke up sweating profusely with every symptom of Entrepreneur phobia. Like most entrepreneurs, uncertainties became the new norm ever since I quit my cozy job. The pain of not knowing or guessing where the next streak of fund is going to come through, “added to my belly fat”. Eventually “dabbas” of pocket-sized stress busters adorned my kitchen shelves quickly for some unknown reason, the news such as 80% startup fails made me smile secretly, I guess “Misery Loves Company”.
Like most entrepreneurs, I did not give up and lived to fight another day. I scanned through every piece of “how to grow your business” books stacked beautifully at Higginbotham’s in almost every railway station. All had the similar advice, some summarized it in 5 points others elaborated it to 15 points. Let’s discuss what’s been discussed quite often, but a few need to be rethought.
Cash Reserve: Very important, yet questionable?? I mean, I started with a reasonable cash reserve but failed to understand how much reserve is good enough as most startups have all unpredictable expenses waiting at every twist and turns. The fuel runs dry in just a couple of months. If an acceptable cash reserve is very important to business, then only rich can get richer. Come on guys, let’s get realistic. If “rags to riches” stories are to be believed, then where there is a will there is a way.
Wrong idea: Most ideas of entrepreneurs are well thought out. I accept a very few might not be appealing, but we can’t tell until it is introduced to the market. Even a Bollywood superstar like Amitabh Bachchan was initially rejected because they found his voice very hoarse. Today he is the voice behind every household brand.
The telephone booth was a good idea years back, even Tata ventured into it until mobile phones were introduced. But today, it is smartphone ruling the world. Any guesses, what can be next????
So then what is important??
Sell ! Sell ! Sell ! Right from the start.
MARKETING COMES FIRST:
Most startups look at marketing as a last resort or an expense. On the other hand you see the big players spending crores on a “coming soon” Advertisement. The huge cut outs and hoardings of politicians or an upcoming movie which we zip through everyday are live examples of what startups are missing out on. Well it’s a no brainer, we have come this far to realize profit out of a product or service. Then why do we need a board meeting or a consultant to tell us to just start selling? Unless we start selling from the word go, we will see our cash reserve drying at an alarming pace.
Here are a few things you need to do at least 3 days in a week from day one.
Prepare a good product/service presentation highlighting all unique features.
Hire a marketing team. If you think it is too expensive, do it yourself. Report to office in the morning and then at the end of the day’s work. If your employees need you round the clock, fire them. Social media is inexpensive. Create a business page and update it with interesting news about your products and services. Though it might not bring you instant business, it definitely helps you to build your brand. Hire freelancers or agents who work on incentive or commission to sell your product.
As far as great ideas go, anybody who wakes up in India would definitely zip through teleshopping channels selling gold coated lockets of goddesses promising instant fame, debunking all logics and laughing their way to the bank. I know most of us here are with serious ideas, well “ideas can be anything, just pack and sell from day one”.