Tuesday 26 March 2024

My 10 rules for success in Entrepreneurship

In August 2018, my startup was on the verge of bankruptcy. Just 2.5 years later, we crossed $1M in revenue and got acquired in a multi-million dollar transaction. All of this when we were completely bootstrapped.

Here are my 10 rules of Entrepreneurship that helped me succeed:

1. Focus on the customers and everything else will follow. I see founders wasting so much time on chasing awards, hackathons, investors and whatnot, without having a clue of what their customers want. That's not the correct approach. Focus on the customers first. Nothing else matters.

2. Get a cofounder who brings in skills that you don't have. If you know how to build the Product, your cofounder should be able to sell; and vice versa. 2 Cofounders of the same skill set will not be able to take the Business anywhere.

3. Get a detail-oriented Chartered Accountant (CA) to manage books professionally. If you're working towards building a big business, you need someone to help to build the right accounting and finance practices and make sure that your books are clean.

4. Build a team that is committed to succeeding. You can achieve this by building the right culture. Hire people who are hungry and want to achieve something big in life. Help them and give them an opportunity to grow and they'll take care of your Business and customers.

5. Get a good lawyer. As your Business grows in size, you'll attract unnecessary attention and sometimes negative people. A good lawyer will help you protect from such risks.

6. Focus on the core Business metrics of growth, profitability and free cash flow. Don't get too obsessed with the top-of-the-funnel metrics. Nothing else matters if your free cash flow is growing at a decent pace. Cash is the Oxygen for Business.

7. Get the right advisors who can help you remove larger roadblocks. Want to sell to enterprises? Get an advisor who brings in the industry connects. Want an NBFC License? Get an advisor who has retired from RBI. Want to build deep tech? Get an advisor who has been at such a company.

8. Be prompt and responsive. I see so many people taking 2 days to respond to an email to show that they're busy. In fact, quite the opposite is true. We got a lot of Business just because we were prompt and responsive and always available for our customers. Customers loved it because they could depend on us.

9. Build a culture that promotes growth. All of our functional heads were promoted from within the org rather than hiring externally. This gave incentives for everyone to work hard to become the next functional head. Everyone was focused on growth - of themselves and the org.

10. Be thankful to others. Appreciate the fact that your success was never about your individual brilliance, but was a combination of efforts from everyone - your Team, your Mentors, your Advisors and support from your Customers.

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