My startup reached over a million dollars in revenue before it got acquired in a multi-million dollar transaction last year. I was just 21 years old when I started it.
Here are my learnings in bootstrapping to acquisition:
1. Start early. Being young has a lot of benefits. You don't carry the baggage of biases. Your responsibilities are negligible and so, your risk appetite is high. Because you're young, people will also support you more.
2. Focus more on execution than the idea. Don't obsess over the idea. Ideas change because markets change. Focus on execution. Decide your larger 1-year goal and break it down into smaller milestones and keep executing. Think big, act small.
3. Learn to sell. The earlier the better. You'd be selling to customers, advisors, team members and investors. You have to sell your vision to everyone. In return, some will give you money (customers, investors). Others will give you time (team members, advisors). So its a skill that will be applicable everywhere and not just in selling your product.
4. Learn to hire talent. Ask yourself - why would a smart person work with you? Build a brand on Social media. Tap your alumni network. Ask your advisors for help. Do whatever it takes to hire smart people in your team.
5. Focus on efforts more than on outcomes. The only lever that you can control in your life is how hard you work. So, quantify the hard work and make it repeatable, so that your team members can also replicate it. If you do the right things, results in the form of revenues and profits will follow.
6. Chase customers rather than investors. Media has hyped funding with all those fancy articles of millions of dollars in funding being raised by startups. Real money is customer money. Remember, you have the responsibility of returning back the investor money with additional returns. Customer won't ask for their money. They want your product. Focus on that.
7. Build an experimentation culture. Let people be appreciated for trying out new things even if they fail. It's the easiest way to build a culture of innovation. Innovation leads to iteration in Product. Iteration in Product leads to a Product/Market fit (PMF). PMF leads to success. So experiments lead to success.
8. Learn to track metrics. The best metric to track is the cash in the Bank (apart from the Investor money). Don't waste time tracking vanity top-of-the-funnel metrics because the primary purpose of any business is to generate profits/cash.
I have shared a lot of my learnings about Business and Entrepreneurship on my YouTube Channel. Please check it here: https://email@example.com
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