21 Weird But True Advices For Startup Founders

It’s been 6 months since I started StayUncle. Joined a great team, got infected with a great idea and made handful of mistakes. Some of them disgust me. Some of them brought me bits of glory. Some of them I still repeat. Here’s my 50 cents for every startup founder in India.

  1. Stop putting any kind word you hear on the Home Page as Testimonial. That makes you so predictable.
  2. Stop saying Yes to request for discount just because some bad-ass knows you are startup and expects that you are desperate for new clients even if no discount is being advertised on the Home page
  3. Stop using corporate titles like CEO, CTO, CMO etc for your little startup. Chances are, you are not going to be taken too seriously.
  4. Stop running to every hackathon and networking event organized by VCs or accelerators. They’d rather snoop for interesting ideas they can steal for their own businesses. You become their Research and Development department, but the difference is that instead of paying mad scientists 6 figures to come out with project that won’t work they organize hackathons where they pay $500 to the winner and few beers and pizza.
  5. Stop hiding your idea. Most folks who say they are in “stealth mode” either don’t have a product or are too embarrassed to show it off. Very few are actually concerned about IP.
  6. Stop looking for a best kept secret for a success in a startup. There are no hacks. Not really. The hard thing is the human nature itself. The secret is having people who won’t resist doing what is unspectacular but necessary work.
  7. Stop answering every singe email without a solid reason. Everyone knows that a founders’ email is likely to follow the format [email protected] and that you are likely to reply to almost every correspondence.
  8. Stop re-tweeting every single tweet you get. People may actually use you to improve their own Klout score.
  9. Stop convincing potential employees to work for you just because you got funded.
  10. Stop hiring employees. Build a team instead.
  11. Stop hiring interns because they are cheap and replace them in a while.  Unless you really plan to empower and integrate them you are just going to waste precious time in a repetitive laundry process and waste precious time, not to mention bad karma.
  12. Stop dreaming to allocate your startup in the Silicon Valley.  They come from all over the world. Mailchimp, 37 Signals, Hubspot and Moz did not come from the valley. Instead they flourished in their own respective setup and injected indigenous culture from the cities they sprouted from.
  13. Stop building and get profitable. If you can’t get to incur profitability with a team of 2 – 4 within six months to a year, something’s wrong.
  14. Stop shooting in the air. Morale is very real and self-perpetuating. If you work too long without victories, your investors, employees, family, and you yourself will lose faith. Work like butt out not to get yourself into this position.
  15. Stop thinking that a successful startup is the result of couple of all night pizza and coding parties.
  16. Stop looking for failures outside your own roof. The biggest threat to a startup is the startup itself. Most companies implode or explode due to internal issues, not the competition or the market.
  17. Stop obsessing about what you will make out of it. Rather obsess about what you want to do, how can you do it better and how can it work better for the person buying into it.
  18. Stop obsessing over preparing a Business Plan. If an investor is particular about it, there’s something wrong with him. Business plans for startups are domed to fail and every good investor knows that. Use tools like the Lean Canvas instead.
  19. Stop talking generics. It doesn’t make sense to be Arwind Kejriwal shouting that his establishment will not be corrupted. Zero corruption of a political party should comes as a default feature not as your Elevator Pitch.
  20. Stop educating a market that doesn’t want your product. Stick to your ideals and vision, but respect trends.
  21. Stop guessing. Measure!
Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

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