Though every venture and every entrepreneur is unique in its own true way, but certain learnings have stood out to the tests of time. A few of them which I repeatedly emphasize and keep on sharing with my startups are here :
Never ever run out of Cash
Startups should operate with atleast a 3-6 month buffer in hand. This ever hanging guillotine, though puts an inherent pressure over the founders, but also help conserve the culture of the organization. With this at the back of your mind , you might be able to focus better on the immediate tasks, retain talent (which is the most difficult task for a startup) and give a reasonable headsup and buffer time to negotiate better with the investors.
Don’t raise funds when you can bootstrap
Off late, we have seen quite a few ventures coming up with total reliance on external funding. Though the confidence is admirable, but still there are more examples of bootstrapped organisations succeeding as against the one’s speculating a heavy investment from outside. A good product or a service will definitely find its way to smart capital but that should not be the objective of starting up.
Your organization’s culture would define the success for you
Take good care of it. Office time discipline, e-mail discipline, privacy respect and timely salaries are essentials for any startup. Unless these have been discussed in detail as an exception, one should take good care of it. A 15-20 member startup may still be able to manage it, but with a strength in 100’s , it might go out of hand. Check it while still young.
Don’t try to do everything on your own
A habit of delegating early puts scalability into the DNA of the org. Delegation puts way for a more scalable and an organization of trust. If clearly delegated , there are high chances of the instruction to fail execution. Expectation benchmarking may take a little time but in the long run, delegation would promote a culture of scale, trust and innovation.
Focus on the quality of Employees, Investors and your audience
A conscious effort to keep an eye on every hiring , investor and even the audience for your startup would eventually present you with a lot of insights. Every new hiring and your employee views would tell you about the current culture of your organization. Your investor would present you with a critic’s eye view of what the outside community of your future investors thinks of you. An eye on your audience would keep you abreast of their ever changing taste and expectations from your product.