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7 Bitter Truths for Startups

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Must know facts, truths, and case studies of the Business world, before Starting Up! - 4th Point will Shock you!!

 

Have you looked carefully at a tree? The ultimate goal of a tree is to bear fruit. The journey of bearing a fruit starts from being a seed to a fully grown tree. This Seed needs nourishment, a favourable environment, and care; only then will it grow!


For startups, there have to be some changes in this analogy.


The seed did not have a choice of location, environment, soil, relief, water availability, and other crucial factors. For it, Luck was the deciding factor of Growth or Death.

A Startup built on Luck is deemed to Fail!


Here are 7 Truths of Startups, that your Seed needs to know, before raising Seed Capital :


1. Be a Swiss Army Knife or get Stabbed!


A Startup Founder wears many hats in the initial phase of their firm. You can think of a startup founder as the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. He is a Grandson, a Student, a Boyfriend, a Journalistic Photographer, a Pizza Delivery boy, and at last and most importantly - he is Spider-Man.


Similarly, a Startup Founder also performs tasks that make him think divergently. Sometimes he's in the costume of a marketer for creating a marketing strategy, and sometimes, he's setting up his table like an office boy. Meeting a high-value client in the morning, Designing & Printing Xeroxes for his new Letterhead in the evening, then suiting up for a networking event at night are normal work days for startup founders worldwide.

A versatile personality helps a startup founder spearhead through the inertia of Starting up, leading with guiding principles, and marking a path for their team.


Have you ever heard the story of Swiggy? The founders of Swiggy, Sriharsha M., and Nandan Reddy, went to hotels and restaurants to convince them to join Swiggy. They Installed the app by taking their phones, and then onboarding them on the spot. They did this for around 3-4 months alongside raising capital, according to an interview with ToI. Can you be this versatile?




2. Teamwork or No-Work.


Sole experience cannot drive positive changes in a business. A business owner should have a lively personality so that each employee can get that enthusiasm from the Founder’s aura.

A study published on Entrepreneur says that “23% of startups mentioned team issues lead to failure”. Thus, building a team where each member owns their work is a significant responsibility of a business owner.


You must have heard of the expansion of Starbucks. In the 1990s, there were a hundred stores of Starbucks in us, but the business could have been more successful. And the year 1995 was the year of their advancement. When Mr. Howard Behar became the president, he brought many changes to the company's work culture and set a culture that matched employees’ requirements. You can see the result; with a market size of $126.38 Billion, Starbucks is the world’s largest coffee company. It’s a great example of how your team decides the future of your business.


3. Embrace Mistakes as a Profound Teacher


Mistakes are part of our journey; they teach us our faults and make us strong for our future. Understand this with an example of Jack in the Box. In 1993, an E-coli breakout in dozen of restaurants at Jack in the box that leads to massive liver damage for 175 people, in which four children died. This incident led to extensive layoffs and stunted growth of the company.


But by implementing robust food safety laws, regulations, and marketing strategies, Jack in the Box again revived. Now, with a current market cap of $1.89 Billion, Jack in the Box is the most loved fast food chain company in the US. This example is the most outstanding example of learning a lesson from your mistakes.





4. Burning is Not Necessary


The current startup scenario has been plagued with a Burn-to-Earn mindset. This is further fueled by VC firms and Angel Investors looking to 'get rich quick', firing on young startup founders' shoulders.


The concept of 'Burn Rate' is not new. This has been a path to success for a long time, while other paths were also being explored. Yet, in the past 20 years, after the .com bubble, this has been the Default model for any new startup. Extensive expenditure in Marketing to fuel downloads and dumping money to get eyeballs is the new normal. This does not have to be!!



Instead, focus on Value! Focus on R&D! Focus on the Product!


Gold sells due to its inherent value, not because it is marketed well!

5. Businesses need not be Tech Related; instead should be Tech Supported!


It is not always necessary that your business should be tech related. Several startups are performing well in the non-tech fields as well. Additionally, one should analyze themselves before choosing a work area. Insufficient research and lack of knowledge will put you in misery in the long run.

Instead have a business with a great website, good content engagement, and automated reminder e-mails. Use technology to enhance customer retention and experience.


A Realtor with great automation and a CRM can earn more than most founders of Fin-Tech startups!

6. Raising Capital is your Choice!


Raising capital is in your hands; you can work independently or have investors that will support you to grow faster. Raised capital or private equity will help you in your product development, network expansion, and hiring talent. Sometimes raising money becomes a headache for the startups as the investors expect a return on their investment, which makes them feel pressured and controlled.


According to a study by Kabbage, a third of small businesses start with less than $5,000. Raising capital provides essential resources and opportunities for startups, but it also comes with its share of challenges and trade-offs.

Consider Raised money as a loan, for which you have kept some part of your company as collateral. Research the Investor’s investing history, their knowledge of the subject matter, and the worthiness of their connections and then decide whether to raise or not to raise.


7. It’s all about quality!


In the world of startups, the bitter truth often revolves around the misconception that the number of resources, users, or product categories determines success. Yet, the real meaning lies in focusing on quality rather than quantity.


Startups that chase numbers and focus on quantity over quality often face many challenges in scaling, funding, and customer retention. Instead, embracing the importance of quality can lead to more sustainable growth, customer satisfaction, and long-term success. Quality products or services build a solid reputation, attract loyal customers, and generate a positive impact everywhere.


Being a Founder of a Startup today is not an easy task! Making good and informed decisions is crucial in the first steps of a Startup. Remember these truths and tread carefully into your journey to success.

 
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