New Year Resolution for an Entrepreneur
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary – Steve Jobs”
Building a business is tough. One of the challenges of entrepreneurship is the lack of a boss. If you have nobody to report to, you are free to define your working hours, holiday seasons etc. Unless you are building a lifestyle business, this is a no-no for the high impact entrepreneur.
Discipline is the key and define 2011 to be the year when you will chose to get disciplined.
[Collaboration] Stand for We.
Collaboration is the key and even earlier, I have suggested startups to collaborate among themselves. Given the limited resource you will have (unless extravagantly funded), share your technology with others. Leverage other’s channel/technology, if you can.
[Lean] Release Early – Release Often
Define the balance between perfection and speed. Do not wait till eternity to release the perfect product, yet do not launch a half-baked product. Even if you have earlier committed the crime of launching a half-baked product earlier, start afresh and focus on the core.
[ Funding] A Milestone or End of the Journey?
For some reason, a lot of Indian entrepreneurs believe that VC funding is the first sign of success. Sometimes startups reach out to angel investors/VCs, even before they have a concrete idea.
Well, no gyaan here, but raise funds only when you have to. But first, focus on building a great business – at least do a Proof of Concept (PoC), before you start fund raising activity (will take anywhere between 2 months to 8 months and might end up spending the entire of 2011 chasing the sun).
[Hypothesis] Try, Fail, Modify, (Re)Validate
As we enter a new era (plus a lot of hype) of lean startups/products, I’d recommend startups to validate their hypothesis with simple PoCs before they actually start building a mammoth product. And once you have identified the gap, don’t be lean for the sake of it. Get to the real meat when it comes to the feature sets and keep trying unless you attend product/market fit.
Read: Groupon Story – WordPress Blog to Billion Dollar Company
[Delivery] Be Awesome
Awesomeness is in the delivery. Awesomeness is in the user experience. As more startups continue to target niche gaps, quality of service/offering will be the key. An entrepreneur I know calls himself ‘Chief Awesomeness Officer’ – before every decision, he’d ask ‘Is this going to be an awesome thing to do?’,
[Metrics] What Matters
Doesn’t matter if you are a solopreneur or have a 10 plus team, define metrics of your success. What is important to measure? How do you measure that?
Define metrics for the team as well. How do you build a culture of individual performance that leads to the collective win?
If you are a geeky entrepreneur, stop coding. Stop waiting for the perfect product.
Start selling. Meet lots of sales guys. Meet marketing fellas. If you attend any event, do not get into your comfort zone (i.e. end up meeting the same old geeky friends), instead meet new guys.
And if you are an entrepreneur from marketing/sales background, get to know the engineering behind products. Get into the depth of ‘what does it take to build great products’. Helps in selling the product.
2011 is beginning of a new decade (which ends with the famous 2020) and unless you are a believer in Mayan prophecy, this is the year to make awesomeness.
Again, we wish you a happy new year 2011 and will be your friend in the journey.
If you are an entrepreneur, what are your new year resolutions?
Recommended Read: How to Keep up Your New Year Resolution [Seven Rules]
[Image credit: Matt Hunsberger/Flickr]