We worked with over 85 startup founders over the last 18 months. 60% of them are Indians and rest, spread over 4 other nations. We worked with 64 of them and saw 44 turn their ideas into businesses that are making some money. Set on their progression, they will soon be on their own and will grow. Total revenue is around USD 30 million and team strength of around 160.We convinced the remaining to let go their pursuit, for now.
Looking back, and comparing with new businesses we built over years, this is incredible. Closest best is building a product engineering services business from 0-USD 100 million over 2 yrs, with a significant portion coming from an inorganic route. This business required 1250 people and other infrastructure to deliver that value.
We found some valuable nuggets during the course. One of them is the power of Business GPS. In a country where GPS has made lives of several thousand of otherwise unemployable youth into decent bread-earners; commuting enjoyable (+affordable) for every citizen in the most traffic-clogged cities and seamless migration into a digital society, imagine the power of GPS in the world of building new ventures. Here’s an account of a few nuggets we discovered:
- Most people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own. They don’t have their own compass or GPS. Helping them build one for their journey, is fulfilling.
- Business is not just about money. It’s about making dreams come true for self and others. Only dreams won’t help. Neither just doing. Dreamer-Doers win. They build their GPS early in the game and use it throughout the journey.
- Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not persistently promoting one that’s not working. Letting go is important to make something remarkable. Not too early, Not too late. Use the GPS.
- Make the offer – compelling for your customer/partner. Let it fit the core need. Not a nice-to-have. Don’t get carried away. If it’s not a hit, switch. But don’t over-commit or be too scattered. Follow the GPS.
- It’s not possible to please everyone, so gracefully exclude people who don’t fit. Find partners and customers who are willing to buy, willing to help and willing to refer. Check your GPS, frequently.
- Keep everything simple and straight forward – No one should be required to explain your product or service; price and payment terms. A quick glance and common sense should make it compelling to buy or partner.
- Great relationships grow slowly. Meet and work with mentors, investors, prospects/customers and employees with a simple intention of achieving and showing progress. It doesn’t matter how slow you go, so long as you don’t stop. Watch the effort required to achieve progress. Too little growth with a lot of effort, is a warning sign. Use your GPS.
- Remember “No plan survives first contact with customers” Customers might show you new perspectives and applications for your product/services. They may add new dimensions to the track, be sure to notice, listen, validate and take quick action. That’s traction to pull your business to a fast-track. Use your GPS.
- Bootstrapping is powerful. There’s advantage of no funding. Helps in building a venture on solid ground. Keeps focus on what’s needed and forces on multiplicity of value. By not having money to waste, you never waste money. Helps keep all distractions away from the core and innovation engine runs at its peak. Necessity is a great teacher. Use your GPS to ensure that you don’t burn out.
- Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Let that be the founding value. Make every decision – be it growth, raising money, or hire/promote someone – according to what’s best for your customers. When in doubt, ask your customers – what’s best you can help with now and prioritise accordingly. Initial, paying customers are the key to grow. Get them, make them happy, and they’ll get everyone. Use your GPS.
Be reborn in this new year, and make it remarkable for you and everyone around you.
Hoping to serve a few more fellow entrepreneurs and enterprises in their journeys right through building their business GPS and helping to navigate…
Happy Holidays and a Very great new year 2017
be a #dreamerdoer #buildingnewventures